(4 ½ stars)
From the author of The Secret Life of the Bees (Sue Monk Kidd) comes an eloquent novel about the lives of women before the Civil War. Told from the perspectives of two women, The Invention of Wings brings a fresh view point to the Antebellum South. Sarah Grimke is the daughter of a plantation owner with defiant ideas and an insatiable intellect. Hetty, Handful Grimke is a slave who longs to break free from the repressive walls of the Grimke plantation. The novel starts when eleven year old Sarah is gifted Handful as her handmaid. Sarah promises to free Handful, but she herself is enslaved because of her gender. Over many years, these women form a complex relationship which inevitably shapes their future.