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Editorial Reviews

From the international best-selling author of The Secret Life of Bees, comes the incredible audiobook and finalist in the Audie Awards 2015, The Invention of Wings, written by Sue Monk Kidd and co-narrated by Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduye. Set in the deep south of America at the peak of slavery, this is the sweeping panorama of the lives of two little girls, Sarah and Handful, who form a lasting friendship despite the very different worlds they come from. Written into this story is the history of the Abolition Movement and the fight for Women’s Rights. Available now from Audible.

Publisher's Summary

From the celebrated author of the international best seller The Secret Life of Bees comes an extraordinary novel about two exceptional women.

Sarah Grimké 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 what she does next will unleash a world of trouble. She also knows that she cannot accept. And so, indeed, the trouble begins ...

A powerful, sweeping novel, inspired by real events, and set in the American Deep South in the nineteenth century, The Invention Of Wings evokes a world of shocking contrasts, of beauty and ugliness, of righteous people living daily with cruelty they fail to recognise; and celebrates the power of friendship and sisterhood against all the odds.

©2014 Sue Monk Kidd (P)2014 Headline Digital

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Those Ahead Of Their Time

What did you love best about The Invention of Wings?

Both the theme of people able to see right from wrong against all odds in the society they have been brought up in and in spite of it ostracizing them within their family, friends and community at large, along with the strength and endurance of the spirit during unspeakable circumstances.

What did you like best about this story?

The truth.

What does Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduye bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

They both narrated beautifully but I particularly love to listen to Jenna Lamia; I've heard her narrate before and she is mesmerising. If I had read the book instead it would have been fabulous but I would have missed out on the pleasure of hearing both of their lovely voices.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The whole book moved me.

Any additional comments?

I loved The Secret Lives Of Bees but this was even better.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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fabulous story and narration

The writing was lovely and the story interesting, made more so that it is based on a true story of two Southern sisters who spent their lives campaigning against slavery and for the rights of women.

the performance of both barrators was superb as they truly brought the story to life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant, balanced and thought provoking! <br />

Lessons from the passed which have real life application in the present- love, forgiveness, perseverance and standing on your principles. It was wonderful to discover new characters in history who made such a profound contribution to society as original thinkers and who risked all to stay true to themselves.

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Wonderful

I adored this book. A beautifully written story loosely based on real events. Beautifully read. A story about real people and their treatment of slaves in the early 18th century. While their was cruelty, this is a beautiful story of the lives of two sisters and the slaves their family owned. Going against the status quo they fight for the freedom of slaves and for women's rights in a world dominated by men.

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Lovely story

Although parts were brutal and stirred a lot of discomfort in me due to cruelty that was inflicted in the slaves , I did enjoy this book immensely.
I loved the author speaking at the end of the book. This gave insight into which facts were fictional and non fictional. A must read !

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Wonderful audio book!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes highly recommended. The narrator adds so much to this book…..I don't think it would be so captivating if I read it myself. I was taken back into the time and place by listening to the accounts of Sarah and Handful. There were some powerful themes in the story and yet it was not dense - it was easy listening.

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

I loved the City of Bees by same author and narrators, for the same reasons.

What does Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduye bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Made it real and captivating….and often very disturbing.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Many moments moved in this book and left me disturbed and inspired.

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Sue Monk Kidd, when is your next book?

Absolutely loved it. I was enthralled from beginning to end. A can't put it down book and a must read.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Very enjoyable listen

Based on truth, this story about slavery and the two sisters who campaigned against it, is a most enjoyable read. Hard to listen to, in parts due to the cruelty the slaves had to endure. It is, however an uplifting book about friendship and loyalty.

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Spellbound!

Loved the story and the dual narrators...exactly the right choice for an audiobook. THIS is the book that should have been made into the movie and won the oscars, NOT the overhyped "Twelve Years..." The author's appendix was an unexpected bonus and made me want to research further into the work of the Grimky (sp?) sisters.

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  • ej
  • 01-30-15

Excellent in all aspects.

Absorbing,thoughtful,shameful
The narration is superb, it made the book even more powerful. The story is at time heart rendering, making one wonder how humans can possibly be so cruel. The strength of the main characters is amazing. I re read the book straight away.

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  • s w
  • 05-06-15

Wonderful listen

I enjoyed every moment listening to this book it was made even better knowing that the characters although partly fictional were based on real people.
If you enjoyed The Help or the colour purple you will enjoy this. The performance of the narrators was excellent and gave life to the story and all the different characters.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Eleanor
  • 02-27-15

The invention of wings

It was good but not great . I did not enjoy the narration. I will try more of the authors work.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Florida
  • 02-22-15

I could have listened to this all day

I haven't read a lot of slavery, so perhaps am not the most informed reader - I do more movies - but this really gripped me. And it's very interesting that it's also based on true life. The feminism aspect of it - of women wanted to break away from social convention - was plus too.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • AmyAlice
  • 09-19-14

The Invention of Wings

Would you listen to The Invention of Wings again? Why?

Yes - the story is based on true events during the lead up to the US Civil War. It is told from 2 points of view, a slave girl and the child she is 'given' to who is age 11. This young girl Sarah is bright, thoughtful and sensitive. Her abilities are stifled by the over-riding desire of her parents for her to fit into society.

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

This is difficult to answer without giving away the story. The story swings from the pampered world of the plantation owners who lack all humanity towards their slaves and the slave quarters themselves. The exception is the young daughter, Sarah, who understands, intrinsically, that slavery is wrong. She has to live within the South's society all the while hating what it stands for. Eventually she leaves for the North leaving young Handful behind. Meanwhile we watch Handful grow up, see her hopeless situation and witness her mother's brutal punishment for running away. Of course with Sarah in the North Handful begins to think there may be a chance for her to reach freedom too.

What about Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduye ’s performance did you like?

The performances are well done and sound distinct from each other. The characters of Sarah and Handful are very different so having varying voices helped. The character of Sarah has a speech problem and this was handled well, Meanwhile Handful's strength and endurance comes through her 'voice' too.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes if I had enough time all at once!

Any additional comments?

Sue Monk Kydd is a consistent author and with this book she is definitely hitting high standards. I had no idea that Sarah and her sister , Nina, were real people.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • sunflower
  • 07-07-14

Mindblowing

If you could sum up The Invention of Wings in three words, what would they be?

couldn't be bettered

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

when Handful was "given" as a birthday present.....

What about Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduye ’s performance did you like?

Their emotions, their interpretations, their warmth in the words, that me as the listener actually felt, breathed, imbibed the South, thru their words and accents

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

my emotional reaction was one of wonder - the story a rollercoaster, stayed in my head even when not listening

Any additional comments?

I have to say that this is without doubt my "read" of the year

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • miss n j spean
  • 01-25-15

A wonderful listen

If you could sum up The Invention of Wings in three words, what would they be?

gripping moving story

Who was your favorite character and why?

Handful, I cried with her.

What about Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduye ’s performance did you like?

The voices are perfect, the way they speak matches the characters so well.

Any additional comments?

A truly wonderful book, the second I have listened to by this author. I had to find excuses to get time on my own to enjoy as much as possible. I found myself not getting out of the car once arriving at my destination so I could listen to just a little more!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jane Monk
  • 06-25-14

Brilliant

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Full of wonderful history form a much different perspective. So well done, and read perfectly, I really enjoyed this book.

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

The treadmill

Which character – as performed by Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduye – was your favourite?

Both fantastic readers, authentic accents and so well read

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The one-legged punishment

Any additional comments?

Unique, an unusual account of both white and black POV of slavery. Not just another slave story

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amelia
  • 02-22-14

Slavery up close and personal

I got this as in Top Ten New York bestsellers. I felt the narration was good and added to the story. I had never heard of Sarah or Nina and their role in the push for abolition of slavery.It was interesting the way that the story is told in turn by Handful and Sarah. I did feel that it dragged a bit and Sarah especially with her supposed high intellect was very annoying at times with the things and situations she accepted. I did enjoy the book and would recommend it but would not be in my top 10 reads.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Soschu
  • 09-18-16

Wonderful

I loved this book. It was exciting and enticingly written and brought an era closer to me that I didn't have much in-depth knowledge about. I particularly like the fact that it is very close to historical events so you're learning as you read (or listen to, in my case) the story. I would thoroughly recommend it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sigrin
  • 11-03-15

Black and white

This is up there in my top 10 books of all time, what made it better is that it is based in a true story.
The two main characters are Sarah the plantation owners daughter who is a strong minded young lady battling against the odds and Handful who is born into Slavery on the plantation. Their stories intertwine warts and all, on Sarah's crusade to abolition and women's rights.
Both readers were exemplary and made me feel like I was amidst this injust society.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sam
  • 05-04-15

Fantastic story and great narration

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed the book The Help.
I liked learning at the end it was based on facts.
The narration is great and engaging.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Alison
  • 05-24-15

The era of slavery

I enjoyed listening to this reading. It was narrated by two great readers, who brought the diary entries to life.
It was interesting to listen and learn about some of the first women who were brave enough to speak out about slavery and women's rights.
A great listen...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • 01-31-15

A brilliant story

Even better than her first book. This book opened my eyes to the reality of life as a slave and a slave owner and the beginning of the abolition movement. It is brilliantly narrated and beautifully put together.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Hawthorn🦋Cottage
  • 06-14-18

Haunting

The opening cruelity is haunting. Beautifully narrated and written. About woman's rights and freedom of slaves. Historical accounts.
The story quilt is powerful. ☄
Couldn't put this book down. I found myself doing a little homework on the Grimke sisters and their life after completing the book, interesting indeed. My thoughts kept returning to this wonderfully haunting story even after completion, especially the spirit tree 🌿
now on my 2nd Sue Monk Kidd book as a result.🕊

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-05-18

Loved it.

I loved this story and to find out some of the details came from real life was wonderful.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-19-18

amazing mixture of fact and fiction

Loved this book. Excellent reading and it inspired me to research more historical women figures!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-12-17

Enjoyed it

Easy to listen to. All the more interesting when you know the two sisters were based on real people.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-11-17

invention of wings review

Great story and characters. Something missing but still really enjoyed it. Narration was perfectly done for the characters

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-25-17

A beautifully written novel, beautifully told.

This story takes the reader on a journey through the lives of two young girls from different cultural backgrounds. The telling of the story is filled with rich descriptive language that draws you into their lives, their hardships & joys. A favourite beautifully told story.

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  • Fern
  • 06-17-16

The Invention of Wings

Sue Monk Kidd has become my favourite author. Her writing captures the lives of her characters beautifully. i look forward to her next novel.