Book Club Recap: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd


Welcome to a new feature here at EFC. Belinda and I are in a book group/club together; it’s how we met. It’s called Ladies Book Group–creative, I know. She agreed to write a recap of what our group discussed at our monthly get-together.

Anyway . . . I’m hoping this will become a regular feature. (Hint, hint, Belinda! 🙂 )

If you belong to a book group, please tell us about what you’re reading in the comments. If you would like to join this feature, please feel free to do so by posting your own Book Club Recap and linking it in the comments. 


Our book group is a sisterhood of unlike minds who rarely agree on anything. We are incessantly loud, frequently brash, and always insightful. This month we discussed The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. Normally, I’d offer a review of our book of choice. But in this case, the story comes with the stamp of approval from Oprah Winfrey. I doubt my review would hold much water next to the big O – not that big O – concentrate!

Early in our discussion, our focus turned to modern slavery. Recent news coverage about at least 200 girls being abducted from their school in Nigeria by a group called Boko Harem triggered outrage among some women in our group. 

From there, the discussion meandered through such topics as aliens in New Mexico to Guinea pig poop in a recliner. However, for the purposes of this blog, I’ll stick to slavery.

It’s a topic we want to distance ourselves from. It’s safer to keep it in the past. But then there’s that one tenacious group member who keeps insisting, “It’s still happening now.” We had no choice but to discuss her concerns.

After our discussion, her assertions continued to resonate for me. The story about the Nigerian girls still dominated the headlines. So I did a little digging.

According to the Walk Free Foundation, 29.8 million people are currently enslaved around the globe. Mostly children forced to work in the sex trade. Groups like the Polaris Project work with the American Bar Association to offer pro bono services to survivors of slavery.

Novels like Anybody’s Daughter by Pamela Samuels Young describe a disturbingly accurate account of how sex slavery proliferates in the U.S. I suggested it for our book group discussion last month. They shot it down saying it’s too depressing. We went with a slavery book set in the 1800s instead. Confirming my suspicion that this is a topic more comfortably discussed from a distance.

For more information on modern slavery and how to combat it, visit:

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at

Visit us next month for a discussion on Brock Booher’s new book, Healing Stone



invention of wingsThe Invention of Wings
written by Sue Monk Kidd
published by Viking Adult/Penguin

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid.We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty-five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

Penguin has a great Book Club Guide that includes a Q&A with Ms. Kidd, a few recipes for your book club get-together, and other information. Check it out here!