BOOK OF THE MONTH:
The Invention of Wings
By Sue Monk Kidd
Sue Monk Kidd’s latest novel features both real and fictional characters, weaving together the stories of a slave girl and a slave owner’s daughter. Hetty “Handful”, an urban slave in early 19th century Charleston, dreams about life outside the walls of the stifling Grimke household. Sarah, a Grimke daughter, has always known she was destined for big things.
Set in South Carolina, where Kidd lived for many years, the novel gathers pace on Sarah’s 11th birthday when she is given ownership of 10-year-old Handful, her new handmaid. We follow their journeys over the next 35 years, as they dramatically shape each other’s destinies and form a complex relationship often tried by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
As the stories build to a climax, Handful will experience loss, find courage and develop a sense of self. Sarah will suffer betrayal and unrequited love before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition of slavery and women’s rights movements.
This captivating work of historical fiction was inspired by the real Grimke sisters, and offers a look at some of the devastating wounds in American history through the lives of women struggling for liberation.
Under the Wide and Starry Sky
By Nancy Horan
Having fled from her philandering husband, Fanny van de Grift Osbourne ends up at an artists’ colony in France where she meets the young Robert Louis Stevenson. This work takes its inspiration from the true turbulent love affair between the opinionated American Fanny and famed Scottish writer.
Under the Microscope
By Earl Owen
Born into a family of doctors, Earl Owen had a birth defect that nobody knew how to treat and as a newborn he was given a dose of radiation before anybody knew of the effects. Coming out of his teens, Owen pursued a career as a surgeon and became one of the pioneers of microsurgery.
The Heart Radical
By Boyd Anderson
Human rights lawyer Su-Lin Tan barely recognises Professor Paris Thumboo during a history lecture in London – the last time she saw him was in a crowded Malayan courtroom more than 50 years ago, during the trial that would change her life. If you loved To Kill a Mockingbird, chances are you’ll love this, too.
In The Blood
By Lisa Unger
Simon & Schuster
Psychological student Lana Granger has lied for most of her life. When she takes a babysitting job in upstate New York, she doesn’t expect to encounter a deeply troubled boy whose past is more unsettling than her own. An engrossing thriller from the bestselling author of Beautiful Lies.
The Harem Midwife
By Roberta Rich
Set against the opulence of 16th century Constantinople, Rich’s lavishly detailed, rollicking historical novel will hook readers in with its fascinating look into midwifery, rituals and superstitions of the 1500s.
The Last Word
By Hanif Kureishi
Allen & Unwin
The first novel from Hanif Kureishi in nearly six years is an outrageously funny and clever story about eminent Indian-born writer Mamoon, who hires young writer Harry to help resurrect his career. But Harry is after a salacious tale of sex and scandal that will generate headlines.