The Invention of Wings
“History is not just facts and events. History is also a pain in the heart and we repeat history until we are able to make another’s pain in the heart our own.”
This book is loosely based on the real lives of two abolitionist sisters, Sarah & Nina Grimke. Sarah & Nina grew up in Charleston, South Carolina during the decline of the plantation era. The novel spans over 35 years & tells the story of not just Sarah & Nina, but also the slaves that their family owned. We watch as Sarah, Nina, and Hetty “Handful” Grimke (their slave) move past the social barriers placed upon them (the Invention of Wings), being ostracized along the way.
The author, Sue Monk Kidd, adds fictional dimensions to the history of the Grimkes. Through these fictional accounts, we learn a lot about actual history. We become acquainted with the relationships between children slaves & plantation owners’ children, religious dynamics of the era, family relationships, the lives of slaves and the abolitionist movement as the story progresses. The plot, while slow to start, really picks up momentum about halfway through.