Saturday, 20 July 2019

Book Review & Book Bingo - Round 15: The Invention of Wings (Historical Fiction)

Book Bingo is a reading challenge hosted by Theresa Smith Writes , Mrs B’s Book Reviews and The Book Muse. Every second Saturday, book bingo participants reveal which bingo category they have read and what book they chose. 

This week I have chosen the category 'A book written by an author over 65'.

Book written by an author over age 65.

The Invention of Wings 
by Sue Monk Kidd 
(born August 12th 1948)

Publisher: Tinder Press 
Publication date:7th January 2014
Pages: 373
Format read: paperback
Source: own read

Sarah Grimke is the middle daughter. The one her mother calls 'difficult' and her father calls 'remarkable'. On Sarah's eleventh birthday, Hetty 'Handful' Grimke is taken from the slave quarters she shares with her mother, wrapped in lavender ribbons, and presented to Sarah as a gift.

Sarah knows that what she does next will unleash a world of trouble. She also knows that she cannot accept control over another human's life as a birthday gift. And so, indeed, the trouble begins ...

A powerful, sweeping novel, inspired by real events, and set in the American Deep South of the early nineteenth century, THE INVENTION OF WINGS evokes a world of shocking contrasts, of beauty and ugliness, and of righteous people living daily with cruelty they fail to recognise. Above all, it celebrates the power of friendship and sisterhood against all the odds.

The Invention of Wings is a fictionalised tale of Sarah & Angelina Gimke. Sue Monk Kidd drew inspiration from the sisters real-life exploits, grafting fiction into truth to tell their story.

These two women were the first female abolition agents. Sarah was the first woman in the United States to write a comprehensive feminist manifesto, and Angelina was the first woman to speak before a legislative body. They not only paved the way for the abolition of slavery but also made inroads into women’s rights.

There was quite a lot of hype when The Invention of Wings was published and I’d read a lot of glowing reviews with words like heart-breaking, powerful and disturbing so I was expecting an emotional read. However I was quite underwhelmed. The emotion was missing and the significant attention to the development of the main characters pulled away from the main topic of the story; the harsh treatment of slaves and their right to freedom. I felt a lot of the atrocities, the fear, hunger, diseases, cold, brutal treatment and rape, were dulled down.

The story is told from the point of view of Sarah Gimke and Handful, a young slave girl, given to Sarah for her 11th birthday.
I tried to put myself in Sarah’s shoes; a female from a white aristocratic family. What would I do?
I can never in anyway imagine myself in Handful’s shoes – being owned and having no rights what-so-ever.

The Invention of Wings was a solemn tale, a major part of American history. It is a story of standing up for what you believe and speaking out, but ultimately a story of hope.

 My rating   3/5




  1. Thanks for this review, gives me something to think on regarding this book. Great that you could match it to what is one of the more tricky bingo categories!

    1. I did find the age one quite tricky. I spent a long time googling authors. I think I may have loved this more if I didn’t read so many reviews before hand. My expectations were high.

  2. I've read Sue Monk Kidd before and enjoyed her work. That's too bad this was a letdown, the premise sounds good.

    1. I think my expectations were too high. That happens sometimes.