Did I want to read another book about slavery? Of course, I loved the fact that the story is set in Charleston. After reading The Secret Life of Bees, The Mermaid’s Chair, and The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, I am a Sue Monk Kidd believer. When the book club selected the title, the decision was made for me. I should never have hesitated.
If you know Kidd’s work, she writes about women from a deep place that accords them dignity and worth. This time she is inspired by a woman named Sarah Grimke, who lived in Charleston. Sarah and her sister became abolitionists. The research alone deserves recognition that brings to light the history of this period and these sisters. After all that has been written about this chapter in the American story, what more can be said, especially in a new and meaningful way? I won’t give any of the story away, but I leave you with several examples of why you will be enriched by this book.
We all look for a successful opening line; this one should make a list as an example of a good one. “There was a time in Africa the people could fly.” Reading on a few more lines I came to a phrase I will never forget. “Everything she knew came from living on the scarce side of mercy.” I won’t say more about the great writing you will find throughout the novel. Well, one more example…..”Mr Williams was from the secondary tier, having slipped into society through an opportune crevice….”
In combination, these wonderful characters, everyone of them, fine writing, and research that is fascinating, all make for a story that sets a high bar. I thank Sue Monk Kidd for The Invention of Wings, which proves she is a writer’s writer.