The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (author of The Secret Life of Bees) is my favorite book so far this year.
Books about slavery are usually not ones I pick up, but Sue Monk Kidd's beautiful writing draws the reader in to the story of two women. One, Handful, is a young slave girl and the other, Sarah, is the daughter of a landowner. She abhors slavery and refuses to accept Handful as a gift from her mother. Each woman has her own struggles, but Handful tells Sarah that "owners" cannot enslave her mind whereas that's exactly what has happened to Sarah who is prevented from studying law like her brothers, and even forbidden to use the library. The Invention of Wings is about overcoming hurdles. Sue Monk Kidd has the gift of putting words on the page and conjuring up pictures of life in Charleston in the early 1800s. This would make a great book club read.
Be sure to read the author's note at the end of the book where Sue Monk Kidd explains how the book was inspired by Sarah Grimke's life. Ms. Kidd has researched the time period and the Grimke family and visited where they lived (which is now owned by a law firm). She used the lives of Sarah and Angelina Grimke who were the first female abolitionist agents. Angelina was the first woman to speak before a legislative body. Not only were they for emancipation, but also for equality for both slaves and women. Although Handful was a fictional character, she was added to give a slave's perspective during that time. Sarah did have a slave/maid whom she taught to read and write for which they were both punished.
This is the first e-book that I've borrowed from the library. If you have an e-reader take a look at the collection of e-books that your local library "stocks". It's a relatively easy way to get some great reads.