I was hoping to read a usual friendship story when I bought this book. But it is not a ‘read the blurb and get the story’ kind of books. The novel is more about history and less about the emotion of characters. I find this novel different from the usual slave-owner story. It didn’t made me cry at the end but did inspire me. And I love that feel.
Handful was gifted to Sarah on her 11th birthday as her helping maid. Sarah Grimke who is an intelligent and righteous girl refused the gift and started doing everything she could to stop the discrimination towards black people. But being a girl in a society that treats black as slave and owned by white, Sarah not only find her attempts in vain but also faces severe backlash from family and society. Sarah didn’t just hate slavery but also the discrimination that women face during that time. Sarah had to move to Philadelphia first due to her father’s illness but later to find her own wings. Sarah’s second phase of life proceeds in Philadelphia where she falls in love with a man named Israel, converts as a Quaker, learns to be a Quaker minister and eventually joins the abolition movement and starts women rights activism with her younger sister Angelina Grimke. Meanwhile, Handful had to deal with her mother’s disappearance, hardship’s at Grimke household and planing and failed execution of black’s riot. The lives of both Sarah and Handful grows in two different directions but towards a common goal – freedom.
The book also portrays Sarah’s struggle towards her lack of confidence, speaking disorder, loneliness, betrayal and her journey to find an identity and meaning of life.