Gransnet forums

Books/book club

The Invention of Wings - September book club

(95 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 08-Sep-14 14:48:09

Hopefully our winners will now have received their copies of The Invention of Wings (more info HERE for anyone who didn't get one but fancies finding out more/buying one and joining the discussion)

Do please leave all your comments and questions for Sue Monk Kidd on this thread - we will send them off to her towards the end of the month and look forward to hearing what she has to say.

Auntieflo Mon 08-Sep-14 17:05:20

Thank you so much for this wonderful book, received last Friday. I couldn't wait to begin and then started reading slower towards the end, as I didn't want it to finish, but also wanted to discover what happened to Sarah, Handful, and Nina.
I didn't realise that the characters were based on real people, and how strong and ground breaking they were to become. The stories of the treatment of slaves were heartbreaking in some cases. Very emotional read.
I loved Sue Monk Kidd's book " The Secret Life of Bees" and must now look out for her other called " The Mermaid Chair".
I haven't really got a question foe Sue, at the moment, no doubt I will think of something as soon as I send this email. My heart and mind are still so full of the book, thank you again, and I look forward to hearing what she has to say in her forthcoming interview.

Grannybug Mon 08-Sep-14 17:49:39

Thanks you for my copy of 'The invention of wings'. Looking forward to reading it when I'm away for a week!

Frannygranny Mon 08-Sep-14 19:13:07

Thank you for my copy. Will read it as soon as I've finished my current book.

seclusion Tue 09-Sep-14 12:09:39

Thank you for choosing this lovely book as the September choice. I have
already written on the wrong thread that I have received the book.
It is a wonderful emotional read and the characters are so real and human.
This is a book that stays in your mind a long time. The Mermaid Chair is
on my Christmas list.

constance Wed 10-Sep-14 01:01:56

Mine just arrived, am hoping to start it tomorrow.

Brendawymms Wed 10-Sep-14 08:28:00

I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if I had not known that Sarah Quimke and her sister Angelina were real people. Totally impressive people who were abolitionist, feminist and crusaders for equal rights at a time when women had no power.
Hetty, Handful, was also a real person but one who died as a teenager rather than as in the book.

So this is a factional book and for me this causes the same dissonance as is WWII film with an American film producer. Where does fact end and fiction start. The author appears to have tried to make Hetty and Sarah real but we do not know how much distortion of fact has happened to make the fiction more real.

There is much in this book about the horrors of slaves lives in the early 19th century but little about the problems of being a 'free' woman at that time. Hetty was the property of John Quimke but so was Sarah.

The writing style of Sue Monk Kidd draws the reader in to the story and makes you want to get onto the next scene in the lives of the slaves and family in Charleston. She made me want to believe the fictional lives of two real people. I read half the book in one day it was so very enjoyable.

I am left wondering were the facts end and fiction starts. I am pleased that the author bought to my attention the wonderful work undertaken by the sisters including adopting two of their brothers illegitimate children.

GrandmaH Fri 12-Sep-14 09:58:02

I was delighted to receive this book as I had enjoyed Secret Life of Bees so much. I read this book very quickly as I found it fascinating. We have read a lot about the treatment of slaves in US over the past years but I had never thought much about the role of white women at the time. I think I imagined them all as Scarlett O'Haras drinking mint julips & fluttering their eyelashes at a handsome beau so this book intrigued me to that as well as learning more about the brutality of slave owners. Of course the vast majority of white girls were probably very happy with their lot.
I had no idea until I turned the last page & saw the notes about the book that Sarah & Nina WERE real characters so it was a big surprise to me & made me re-evaluate the book. I will read it again at some point knowing which characters were factual.
My question is why would an author choose to write about people with real, recorded lives when it must surely be much easier to write your own fictional character so you can create your own story completely without the restraints of history? It must be tempting to alter history so it makes a better tale or so you can influence the outcome of less favourable storylines (Sarah finding a love life for example). It must be much harder work. Even a fictional character set in historical times would be simpler (eg. Shardlake). I'd love to know this please.

carol49cat Fri 12-Sep-14 12:19:27

Thank you for my copy. I am enjoying it so much that I am having to ration my reading, otherwise I will finish it too quickly. And I will order Secret Life of Bees to take on holiday at the end of the month. It is good to find a new author that I enjoy.
I didn't know until I read these comments that Sarah and Hetty were real people - thanks for the spoilers!

ajanela Fri 12-Sep-14 12:33:31

Thank you for my book and I also had not realised it is based on real people until I read these comments. I am enjoying it very much and as they are real people it gives more credence to the novel. I have read a number of books based on real people and one wonders where fact and fiction begin and end.
The book is very well written and easy to read and I would recommend it and have brought it to the attention of my book group,

ajanela Sun 14-Sep-14 09:09:33

I have now finished the book, a wonderful read finished it in 3 days. Made one think about the lives of Women in the 19th century as well as slaves.

Mythbirtthedragon Sun 14-Sep-14 09:13:08

I really got into this book- it's style is one I enjoy with the alternating characters and episodic nature. It's a piece of history I don't know much about so was impressed when I got to the end and read the author's notes that there was a real story behind it. Got slightly frustrated with the Sarah character - why didn't she 'have her cake and eat it' like her sister did but it did bring home that the restrictions placed on women were not resolved until well past the time of the book. This book will no doubt be passed around my family now.

goose1964 Sun 14-Sep-14 10:05:14

I haven't finished it yet but I'm totally engrossed in it - I loved the secret life of bees too

geri Mon 15-Sep-14 10:09:20

Many thanks for the copy of Invention of Wings. I really liked Secret Life of Bees, and so had high expectations for this one and so far havent been disappointed. It covers a period just before the American Civil War and certainly opens your eyes to the life of house slaves at that time how they were ill treated as a matter of course by their masters.
I really enjoyed another book with a similar theme - The Help, and this one as well gives a very insightful idea of what they were actually thinking inwardly while outwardly behaving as expected.
Its good that its written in alternate chapters headed either Sarah or Hetty so there's no confusion about whose voice is speaking.
Looking forward to the Q&A with Sue.
Thanks again

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 15-Sep-14 10:27:25

Just to say that Sue will be FILMING the answers to your questions in our first ever small screen version of book club. We will be sending questions over to her early next week so do add yours while you can

bobobear Tue 16-Sep-14 11:14:28

Thank you very much for sending me a copy of this great novel.I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and will recommend it to my friends.

catowen Tue 16-Sep-14 11:15:04

I have received my copy, i've not started reading it yet but looking forward to doing so soon, so no questions yet but will come back if i do :-)

Frannygranny Tue 16-Sep-14 11:17:46

Really loving this. I love the style of the chapters finding it innovative but not confusing. Not finished it yet but will get a copy of The Secret Lives of Bees.

snowyowl Tue 16-Sep-14 11:18:56

Thank you for sending a copy of this book, what a book too! Totally engrossed & didn't want it to end .. my husband always knows when i have enjoyed a book, burnt dinner!
I shall be putting 'The Secret Life of Bees' on my list to Father Christmas as i would love to read more from this author!

Boonbetty Tue 16-Sep-14 11:26:45

Thank you for this book. Not finished it yet but loving it so far.

grannyactivist Tue 16-Sep-14 12:02:09

Thanks for this book, which I've started reading alongside another book that I was part way through - unfortunately I made the mistake of 'glancing' through the first couple of pages and then couldn't put it down!! Will post again when I've finished it.

sgam Tue 16-Sep-14 12:08:39

Thank you for a wonderful book, really absorbing and I didn't know this was based on a true story, Sue Monk Kidd certainly brought these people back to life. {smile}

carol810 Tue 16-Sep-14 12:20:20

Thank you for the book and I came to it quite late due to illness but am already half way through it. I love the way its written and become really absorbed into the life of the characters and feel for them.I will comment more when I have finished it, but I just wanted to let you know I am loving it.

GrannyCaz1 Tue 16-Sep-14 12:24:59

A wonderful mesmorising book, couldn't put it down

cathisherwood Tue 16-Sep-14 13:16:45

This was such a good read. Everyone should read this book. I liked the way the story was told through the two girls eyes. Both felt powerless - but one was rich, white and indulged and the other black and abused. I felt frustrated by how long it took Sarah to really do anything to change the situation but I expect she did too and I was frequently angry on Hettys behalf at the way she was treated. I am glad I didnt know until I read the authors notes at the end that this was based in fact. Like a previous commenter I am uncomfortable about works of fiction being drawn around real characters as the author cannot relate what was really going on in their lives. However I think Sarah was obviously an inspirational character and I am glad the book highlighted the fantastic work she did to promote emancipation of women and abolition of slavery