The Invention of Wings is my RL book club's read this month and I could not put off starting the book any longer. Our meeting is on Wednesday.
It's not a book I would have picked up myself, which is what the book club is all about of course, but my apprehension also stems from a different reason: historical fiction is a tricky genre for me. When it comes to historical fiction, I have a huge admiration for authors who attempt to write it, but in all reality very few authors make it work for me.
I love history, and because of that, historical fiction needs to be as good as non-fiction for me, and this is where historical fiction tends to fall down: HF tends to have that need to add a romance angle, or a precocious child angle, or some other gimmick that distracts from the actual story.
So, having started The Invention of Wings, we have no less than two precocious girls:
We have an eleven-year-old, who comes out with statements like this:
"If you must err, do so on the side of audacity."
"Why should God's perfection be based on having an unchanging nature?" I asked. "Isn't flexibility more perfect than stasis?"
And then we have a ten-year-old slave girl who uses the word "piazza". This is set around Charleston in 1803, btw.
Oh, and in their "spare time", the slave girl and her mother seem to do a lot of quilting, which may or may not something they may have done - I don't know - but comes across to me as something that just might fit in nicely in a film adaptation.
Knowing that the book is based on the factual story of Sarah Grimke, I'm really tempted to ditch the book and read up on her using some non-fiction sources.
See, this is why historical fiction is problematic for me.