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Narrator Rating (65)

The Invention of Wings: A Novel

Unabridged Audio Book

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Jenna Lamia, Sue Monk Kidd, Adepero Oduye

13 Hours 43 Minutes

Penguin Audio

January 2014

Audio Book Summary

From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees, a magnificent novel about two unforgettable American women
Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world—and it is now the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection.

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

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  • Joanne R.

    Wonderful book based on a true life well lived. The narration was fantastic. The epilogue added so much.

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  • Elvira L.

    I recommend the book. Some of the parts are difficult to listen to because of the severity of human behavior. Stay with the book as this is how we witness the stories of suffering people. My hearts is wiser and softer because of the stories of these enduring women.

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  • Pam R.

    Painful because of the nature of the story but very well written and the narrators were very good. Probably one of my favorites so far!

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  • Erika K

    Beautiful stories. I love the narration. It enabled the story to unfold in my imagination. The description of the events each of the women's lives were extremely heartfelt.

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  • Anonymous

    Loved it

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  • Anonymous

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book - start to finish, and the storyline gained momentum for the final chapters. Absolutely wonderful!

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  • Tiana G.

    A beautiful, heart wrenching story with amazing narration. Sad that I did not know anything about the Gremke sisters before this book.

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  • Shar V.

    excellent. simply excellent.

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  • Knfisher

    Heart wrenching and eye opening!

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  • LCaldwell

    Absolutely Fantastic. The narrators could not have done a better job! Some hard content but beautifully written.

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