It was Sarah Grimké’s eleventh birthday and she was given a slave by the name of Hetty (“Handful”) as a gift. In Charleston, South Carolina in 1803, owning slaves was a way of life. Even at the gentle age of eleven years, Sarah was vehemently against owning a slave much to the displeasure of her parents, the esteemed Judge John Grimké and his socialite wife, Mary Smith Grimké. Judge and Mrs. Grimké were not about to let their opinionated daughter Sarah express her dissent. Southern women just didn’t do that.
Handful “Grimké” (slaves were given the last name of their owner) didn’t want to leave her Mauma, Charlotte, to be handmaid to Sarah any more than Sarah wanted a slave but circumstances beyond their control threw them together. In spite of their positions in society, the two became more than slave and owner, they became friends.
Both Sarah and Handful would dream of something more for their lives. A dangerous thing to do in the South in the 1800’s.
Just two years later in 1805, Angelina Grimké would be born. Looking for some meaning for her life, Sarah would ask to be Angelina’s Godmother and as such the two would forge an unbreakable bond. The two sisters would leave their indelible mark in history.
And all three women, Sarah, Angelina and Handful would know suffering, heartache and courage.
Sue Monk Kidd (http://suemonkkidd.com/) writes an incredible book blending true history with compelling fiction. Much to the delight of this reader, she includes an explanation of where history ended and fiction began. This is one of those books where you find yourself turning pages as quickly as you can and then stopping to just feel the words. And when I finished the book, I found myself wanting to know more about these women, Sarah and Angelina Grimké. What I fail to know about history is shameful. Thank you to the author for the enlightenment.
Thank you to the folks at Shelf Awareness for sending this book to me. The opinions above are completely my own. THE INVENTION OF WINGS becomes available for purchase on January 7, 2014.
Maryellen is a 46-year-old avid reader, runner, and reviewer who lives near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband Mike and their two rowdy cats. The fact that she has a car named RoxyBlue and has a phone named Janet (Miss Jackson if you’re nasty) are only two of a million reasons why I love her. Couple that with her insight, intelligence, and her always half-full glass of optimism and it makes for an exceptional book reviewer. I am lucky to have the honor of Maryellen allowing me to post her reviews here every Monday.