Review of The Invention of Wings Novel by Sue Monk Kidd

A Marvelous Historical Novel

I mostly read and write mysteries, and while this book isn’t a mystery in the truest sense of the word, it did keep me wondering how the two marvelous main characters in the book would prevail through times harrowing beyond belief.

The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd’s third novel, is the story of Sarah Grimke and her slave, Hetty Handful Grimke, set in the South in the early nineteenth century. Sarah Grimke was an actual person, who not only made great strides in abolishing slavery, but also in the advancement of women’s rights. Of course, since she lived so many years ago, Ms. Kidd had to fill in the character of her novel the best she could, but she did include as many true facts as she could. The character of the slave girl, Hetty, is strictly fictional and absolutely fascinating.

The story begins with Hetty being gifted to Sarah on Sarah’s 11th birthday and details how mortified she is. She begs her cold-hearted mother not to do it, but is instantly rebuffed. And so, that very night, Hetty begins sleeping on the floor outside of Sarah’s bedroom. One of the many degrading things forced on slaves during that time in history. The narrative follows their lives over the next 35 years where their relationship becomes hopelessly intertwined. The powerful emotions of guilt, defiance, estrangement and yes, love, sweep the two women along, and cause the reader to hope for the very best outcome for them both. A fantastic read!! Visit for more information about this gifted writer.