The Invention of Wings – Praise

“Here’s what makes The Invention of Wings extraordinary: Sue Monk Kidd has written a conversation changer. It is impossible to read this book and not come away thinking differently about our status as women and about all the unsung heroines who played a role in getting us to where we are… A tour de force.”
— Oprah Winfrey, O The Oprah Magazine 

“The novel is a textured masterpiece, quietly yet powerfully poking our consciences and our consciousness. What does it mean to be a sister, a friend, a woman, an outcast, a slave? How do we use our talents to better ourselves and our world? How do we give voice to our power, or learn to empower our voice?… Kidd, an exquisite and masterful writer, explores these difficult topics and complex ideas and does so unflinchingly — yet somehow leaves us feeling uplifted and hopeful.”
NPR Books

“Masterly… The Invention of Wings is a story about empowering women to change the world… With historical bedrock as her foundation for a compelling narrative, Kidd serves up a remarkable novel about finding your voice.”
—Chicago Tribune

“Alternating between Sarah’s and Handful’s contrasting perspectives…allows Kidd to generate unstoppable narrative momentum as she explores the troubled terrain that lies between white and black women in a slaveholding society… The novel’s language can be as exhilarating as its powerful story… By humanizing these formidable women, The Invention of Wings furthers our essential understanding of what has happened among us as Americans – and why it still matters.”
The Washington Post

“This book is as close to perfect as any I’ve ever read… If this isn’t an American classic-to-be, I don’t know what is.”
—The Dallas Morning News

“A searing and soaring story of two women bound together as mistress and slave… A beautifully written book about the awe-inspiring resilience of America’s enslaved people.”
—USA Today (Four Stars)

“The novel stands out thanks to its artful mix of fact and fiction, a powerful reminder of how much official history has neglected the people who changed it.”
—Los Angeles Times

“(An) epic, affecting tale.”
—People Magazine(Four Stars)

“Writing in the voice of someone from a different race and wildly different experience is a challenge strewn with pitfalls. And yet Sue Monk Kidd… has managed to avoid both condescension and cliché, creating an unforgettable character in the slave Handful, the emotional core of her utterly engaging third novel.”
—Boston Globe

“It is sad when a book like this ends. Kidd leaves us with hope—not to mention gratitude – for the intrepid pioneers of their time.”
—Christian Science Monitor

“Kidd has done a marvelous job of capturing two special and vibrant voices. . . Kidd’s fluid and often beautiful language glides and soars and pulls Sarah and Hetty with it.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A powerful story of rebellion and heroism. . .The remarkable courage and hope found in TheInvention of Wings is a reminder that we all have those wings – and tells us a lot more about how we got them.”
—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Unforgettable. . .it isn’t easy, but Handful will invent her own wings, and so will Sarah.  And to their engrossing stories, by turns shocking and thrilling and moving, Kidd brings her own kind of magic.”
Tampa Bay Times

“Fascinating. . .To write the lives of historical figures into an imagined narrative and to do it well demands a particular kind of literary confidence and skill.  In Sue Monk Kidd’s latest novel, she accomplishes both.”
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Kidd weave(s) a pair of can’t-put-downable first-person journeys…. If you’ve wondered how we ever got from there to here, you have to read this book.”
—Charleston Magazine

“Utterly absorbing… A story of empowerment and self-expression.”
—Seattle Times

“The Invention of Wings is a total revelation… The book is balanced by two extraordinary women: real-life abolitionist and feminist Sarah Grimke and the imagined handmaiden Handful, who nearly leaps off every page.”
—Essence Magazine

“This beautiful and ultimately uplifting book is about women and their fight to be heard.”
—The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Gripping plot…evocative language…compelling protagonists who stay with the reader long after the story is finished…This is an extraordinary story of urban slavery and the uneasy friendship between Sarah Grimke and Hetty (Handful), her unwanted ‘present’.”
—Toronto Star

“A satisfying read. . .well-researched and full of historical accuracies, plopping readers into the early 19th century to experience history in the making.”
—The Pittsburgh Post Gazette

“This is a resonant, illuminating novel.”
—The Guardian, UK

—New York Daily News

“Wonderful…A story that can teach us something. . . a novel that educates you without preaching:  about history, about relationships, about life.”

“An absorbing, illuminating, enjoyable read. . .Kidd writes beautifully and the book shines brightest in illuminating the daily humiliations and abuse of slavery.”
The Huffington Post

“Powerful…The Invention of Wings unflinchingly depicts the brutality of slavery in vivid and meticulous detail, placing it in the tradition of novels such as Beloved (1987) by Toni Morrison.”
The Observer, UK

“This is an important book for its history of the abolition of slavery and the early days of the movement for women’s rights. But it’s definitely more than just that — it’s also a book people will want to read for its compelling storytelling and enigmatic characters… A page turner.”
—Vancouver Sun, Canada

“The book is fabulously readable, the kind that makes the reader stay up far too late just wanting to know what happens on the next page. It creates its own world…  Monk Kidd’s creative achievement does more than entertain: it ignites curiosity and involves us in a genuine journey of discovery.”
Sidney Morning Herald, Australia

“A story of strength, sorrow, and shame. . .Kidd’s deft writing takes us into the hearts and minds of both of these girls. . .Beautiful.”
—The San Jose Mercury News

“A well-made and entertaining work of art. . .It’s a tribute to Kidd’s imaginative powers that I didn’t even realize I was reading a fact-based story until the appearance of Lucretia Mott, John Greenleaf Whittier and William Garrison in the second half of the narrative.”

“Kidd is telling the fascinating story of real-life abolitionist sisters Sarah and Angelina Grimke, and fleshing out the life on an enslaved child who would otherwise be nothing more than a footnote in history. A splendid tribute to a pair of heroines.”
The Times, UK

“It’s wonderful—really well-written, moving and enraging by turns, and always compelling.”
— The Daily Mail, UK

“The Invention of Wings isn’t just the story of a friendship that defies an oppressive society; it’s a much more satisfying story of two people discovering together that their lives are worth the fight.”
—Entertainment Weekly

“(The characters’) bold individual quests for independence are explored by Kidd in exquisitely nuanced language that makes this book a page turner in the most resonant and satisfying of ways.”
MORE Magazine

“Kidd’s thoughts, her reflections on days of suppressed chaos that make up Hetty’s life, are fiercely lyrical… It is her story that lends the tale its heat and motion, its aching beauty, its most dramatic and heart-wrenching moments…There is a kind of beauty all throughout The Invention of Wings— passages that force an intake of breath and a languid, disbelieving re-read…Savoring that final, deftly wrought passage; shutting the book; and walking away is no simple task because it’s hard to let these characters go.”
Washington Independent Review of Books

compelling work of historical fiction stands out from the rest because of its layers of imaginative detail of the lives of actual abolitionists… This richly imagined narrative brings both black history and women’s history to life.”
—Library Journal, starred review

“Kidd hits her stride…with this historical novel about the relationship between a slave and the daughter of slave owners in antebellum Charleston. (Her) portrait of white slave-owning Southerners is all the more harrowing for showing them as morally complicated while she gives Handful the dignity of being not simply a victim, but a strong, imperfect woman.”
Kirkus Review, starred review

“A moving portrait of two women inextricably linked by the horrors of slavery… Kidd is a master storyteller, and, with smooth and graceful prose, she immerses the reader in the lives of these fascinating women as they navigate religion, family drama, slave revolts, and the abolitionist movement.”
Booklist, starred review

“Engrossing. Strong female characters, solid roots in history, and the compelling lives of two women the reader deeply cares about make The Invention of Wings a thoughtful, moving tale that ends on a hopeful note.”
Shelf Awareness