I’m afraid there has been a bit of a gap since my last blog post. I have been reading books for review but most of the reviews can’t be posted until the books are ready to be published in January and February.
I’ve also been catching up with other books I’ve bought or downloaded but I have been a bit distracted by the need to do Christmas shopping (which usually ends up with me panic buying the last few gifts a day or two before Christmas despite several trips into town).
In the meantime, although it’s been available for over a year, here’s one I would recommend.
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
It’s a good book. Great story telling, strong characters.
The story is set in the Deep South during the last days of slavery and it’s the story of Hetty ‘Handful’ Grimke, a slave and Sarah Grimke, the middle daughter of the privileged white family.
Hetty is given to Sarah on her 11th birthday. Sarah is horrified at the thought of owning another human being and although she tries to ‘free’ Hetty her family prevent this happening. She is frustrated by the social conventions of the time. She questions why she can’t study law like her brother and that the family’s expectation is that she will marry and raise a family. Her independent way of thinking causes all sorts of problems.
Hetty has an independent streak too. In fact she’s known as ‘Handful’. She has an answer for everything. Handful’s mother was the seamstress for the family but when she disappeared Hettie was expected to take over.
I liked how the story is told from the point of view of both characters in alternating chapters.
I liked the way the book deals with the relationships – between Sarah and Hetty; Hetty and her mother; Sarah and her mother and younger sister.
I didn’t realise until the end of the book that the Grimke sisters actually existed and were important figures in American history. They were the first female abolition agents and among the early American feminist thinkers. They also campaigned for racial equality and women’s rights.
I enjoyed the book. Although it is a fiction, it was inspired by the life of Sarah Grimke, and it does make you think about how it must have been not just for the slaves, but also to a certain extent for the females of the privileged classes who were in a way trapped in the social conventions of their time and place.
I believe the paperback was published in September 2014 and it’s also available on Kindle.
If you haven’t read The Secret Life of Bees (published 2004) it is also an excellent read. I discovered it accidentally when it came as a magazine free gift a few years ago. I wish I still had it – I would read it again – but it was passed on to a friend, then another friend etc. It is a wonderful story.