We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
The Invention of Wings: A Novel | [Sue Monk Kidd]

The Invention of Wings: A Novel

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.
Regular Price:$31.50
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, January 2014 - The Invention of Wings is a powerful, sweeping novel set in the American Deep South during the nineteenth century inspired by real events. Sarah Grimke is the middle daughter - the one her mother calls difficult and her father calls remarkable. On her 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 what she does next will unleash a world of trouble… putting into motion the kind of change that never comes easy. The Invention of Wings evokes a world of shocking contrasts, of beauty and ugliness, of righteous people living daily with cruelty they fail to recognize; and celebrates the power of friendship and sisterhood against all the odds. I was hesitant to keep this book as my personal pick for January after I heard it became the next selection for Oprah’s Bookclub 2.0. After all, what more could a book ask for? But as I dug deeper and read more and more of this novel I could not let it go. It is truly one of those rare books that, in my opinion, hit all the marks of great writing: Lush language full of imagery set within as story profoundly grounded in the real world where the characters become a part of you. I can’t wait to re-live the book in audio with narrator Jenna Lamia (The Secret Lives of Bees, The Help) and actress Adepero Oduye (12 Years a Slave) taking on the roles of Sarah and Hetty - I can’t think of better voices for these characters. What an amazing way to kick-off 2014! —Tricia, Audible Editor

Publisher's 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.

©2014 Sue Monk Kidd (P)2014 Penguin Audio

What the Critics Say

"Narrators Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduye are well matched in talent; their performances of Kidd's dual-viewpoint fictionalized story of Sarah Grimké and her handmaid, Handful, complement each other perfectly. Both Lamia and Oduye adopt an accent and rhythm that befit the social status of their characters, modifying their voices subtly as the two protagonists grow from innocent girls to world-weary middle-aged women. Lamia keys in on Grimké's frustrations and victories in her fight for both abolition and women's rights, making it easy for listeners to sympathize with Grimké's difficult choices. Oduye's interpretation of Handful's personality, including her pride as a skilled seamstress and her yearning for freedom and self-identity, helps listeners connect emotionally to the slave. Together the narrators have created a stellar audiobook." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (9462 )
5 star
 (6105)
4 star
 (2535)
3 star
 (632)
2 star
 (120)
1 star
 (70)
Overall
4.5 (8504 )
5 star
 (5610)
4 star
 (2159)
3 star
 (569)
2 star
 (107)
1 star
 (59)
Story
4.7 (8499 )
5 star
 (6315)
4 star
 (1736)
3 star
 (345)
2 star
 (58)
1 star
 (45)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Mystic 08-07-14
    Mystic 08-07-14 Member Since 2014

    OT Student, loves to read, write, play games, and hang out with friends and family.

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wow...Just like watching a movie!"
    What did you love best about The Invention of Wings?

    I love the two readers. Both the women who played Handful and Sarah. Their voice acting was amazing like they were actually from around their time, and they had consistant voices when they were mimicking/ voicing out other characters such as the way Sarah's voice actor imitated her mother's voice.


    What other book might you compare The Invention of Wings to and why?

    The Color Purple. I know the plots are very different, but it just reminded me of women who just had to find themselves, overcome obstacles, and finding themselves and becoming strong women who impact the lives of others.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrators really made a vivid picture in my head like I was watching a movie! Their voice acting was amazing and so was the emotion.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are hesitating whether or whether not to get this novel, I'd say get it! You will not regret your purchase! The novel for me was entertaining from the start to the very end. There were not any slow parts for me, nor did I get bored. The characters are dynamic and they develop over the course of the book and you will feel bad for them, you will feel good for them, and you want them to succeed. I actually was sad when this book ended. The story did not abruptly end...it was a perfect ending...I was just sad that I wouldn't hear more from Handful and Sarah.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Buyer Lakeside, CA, United States 08-06-14
    Amazon Buyer Lakeside, CA, United States 08-06-14 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Historical Fiction"
    Where does The Invention of Wings rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I did not realize this was a historical fiction when I purchased the novel. The story itself is very good. Finding out after that many of the characters and events actually happened, made the story that much more rich and captivating.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    V. DANVERS 08-05-14
    V. DANVERS 08-05-14

    RonsGirl

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I cannot get these characters out of my head!"
    Where does The Invention of Wings rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I've listened to several audiobooks and all except one have been well done. This one, however, is outstanding. The narrators were matched perfectly to the roles. I was caught up from the first words and found it difficult to stop listening. The story is beautiful and compelling. Both stories had equal importance and were expertly written. Sue Monk Kidd is a master.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Invention of Wings?

    There are so many memorable moments in the book. I remember holding my breath when Handful was caught with the quilt.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    My imagination is usually better than anything anyone can present to me in a reading, but I appreciated the accents and pronunciations that the narrators brought to the story. I could lie back, close my eyes, and let the movie play in my mind.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book made me feel so many emotions. I laughed, cried, cried, yelled, cursed, and contemplated man's inhumanity toward his fellow man.


    Any additional comments?

    I have recommended this book to several people, notably young people who are unschooled in American history. This is a great perspective. Slaves defied their "masters" and some masters defied the status quo. A beautiful story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Happy Yogi 08-05-14
    Happy Yogi 08-05-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    51
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Oh My I Couldn't Stop"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes I would recommend this book. It was enthralling. I couldn't stop listening. The voice changes between the two girls and later women was compelling. Even though I often wanted to cry for, rage for, and scream at the world for these two. I just had to know what was going to happen next.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Invention of Wings?

    When handful struck back.


    Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This narrator was new to me.


    If you could take any character from The Invention of Wings out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Handful. She was the most resilient person.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aleisa 08-04-14
    Aleisa 08-04-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mesmerizing semi-historical look into slavery"
    What did you love best about The Invention of Wings?

    I loved best to find out that most of the characters and events in this book really took placed. Well written-I didn't want to book the Kindle down!


    What other book might you compare The Invention of Wings to and why?

    The Secret Life of Bees, also by Sue Monk Kidd. The author sucks you in with her writings and stories. And both of these stories give an inside look into the lives of African Americans from different time periods than our own.


    Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. But both ladies did a great job-they had the accents down pat!


    Any additional comments?

    I loved that this book went back and forth between the view of not only Sarah, the white southern girl who wants to rebel against all of society's current notions, but also Heddie, the slave she is given for her 11th birthday. The author did a great job in switching from viewpoints but still moving the timeline forward-not repeating with each girl. Yet, you still got a good understanding of each girl's feelings from each stiutation/event. I really felt like I was in that time period and understood their deepest thoughts and desires.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kjjjjjjjj 08-01-14
    kjjjjjjjj 08-01-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Outstanding book and perfect for audio"
    What did you love best about The Invention of Wings?

    The characters were rich and complex, and the story moving and compelling. The performance was outstanding. I had never before been able to listen to an audio book, and I was addicted. The voices of Handful and Sarah made me feel as if I was in the same room listening to them tell the story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alison Littleton, NH, USA 07-28-14
    Alison Littleton, NH, USA 07-28-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    53
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    196
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Historical Fiction at its best."
    What did you love best about The Invention of Wings?

    Everything.


    What other book might you compare The Invention of Wings to and why?

    In audio format, it would be The Help -- both books really benefit from having different voices in the narration.
    In written format, I'm not sure -- it is a fairly singular book.


    Any additional comments?

    I was happily surprised by the complexity of the characters developed in this book. It is a difficult story to tell without somehow shortchanging the complexities of white-black relationships during the era in which the book is set and acknowledging the legacies of racism in our 21st century view of history. Kidd does it well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DerkachtFamily 07-26-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wanted to keep listening"
    Where does The Invention of Wings rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best for listening and keeping my attention. Also an ending you can accept without feeling cut off.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story was told so well and each chapter made you want to listen to the next. I listen in my car and always had a hard time turning it off when I arrived at my destination and had to have it playing again as soon as I got back in the car.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Great character voices that allowed you to know who was talking even without the "said Handful" at the end.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I can't wait to read more of this author. I enjoyed The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd as well and I'm going to fine more of her books to listen to next.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jolene Olympia, WA, United States 07-26-14
    Jolene Olympia, WA, United States 07-26-14 Member Since 2015

    Reading is in my DNA. Dad, Granddad and Grandma were all journalists and crazy readers. When I can't read, I listen!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    51
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    9
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A wonderful read that leaves a mark."

    I am no fancy writer/reviewer. I can only say that I love books of many genres and this book will be one of my favorites. I thought the writing impeccable and so descriptive, I felt as I was sitting in the cellar room with Momma and Handful, my fingers pricked and tired from hours of sewing. I was Sarah's quiet cheerleader, lifting her up in my heart as she struggled through every step of her journey. These women will live on in my heart. I had hesitated to listen to this particular book - I tend to shy away when a prior book has disappointed me (The Mermaid's Chair) but I am glad I took the advice of other reviewers. It was worth every minute, plus all the extra miles of thought that went into the thinking through-out and after finishing it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erin HAMDEN, CT, United States 07-25-14
    Erin HAMDEN, CT, United States 07-25-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Love!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes - Great story, great narration, loved the voices of these women, made the book come alive.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I was drawn to handful


    Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but I want to now


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.