From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of
Bees, a magnificent novel about two unforgettable American
Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative
gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the
quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the worldand
it is now the newest Oprah's Book Club 2.0 selection.
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
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.