Title: The Flight Of Gemma Hardy
Publish Date: Jan 24, 2012
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours and the publisher
Book Blurb: When her widower father drowns at sea, Gemma Hardy is taken from her native Iceland to Scotland to live with her kind uncle and his family. But the death of her doting guardian leaves Gemma under the care of her resentful aunt, and it soon becomes clear that she is nothing more than an unwelcome guest at Yew House. When she receives a scholarship to a private school, ten-year-old Gemma believes she's found the perfect solution and eagerly sets out again to a new home. However, at Claypoole she finds herself treated as an unpaid servant.To Gemma's delight, the school goes bankrupt, and she takes a job as an au pair on the Orkney Islands. The remote Blackbird Hall belongs to Mr. Sinclair, a London businessman; his eight-year-old niece is Gemma's charge. Even before their first meeting, Gemma is, like everyone on the island, intrigued by Mr. Sinclair. Rich (by Gemma's standards), single, flying in from London when he pleases, Hugh Sinclair fills the house with life. An unlikely couple, the two are drawn to each other, but Gemma's biggest trial is about to begin: a journey of passion and betrayal, redemption and discovery, that will lead her to a life of which she's never dreamed.
Set in Scotland and Iceland in the 1950s and '60s, The Flight of Gemma Hardy—a captivating homage to Charlotte BrontË's Jane Eyre—is a sweeping saga that resurrects the timeless themes of the original but is destined to become a classic all its own.
Review: This story is a re-imagining of Jane Eyre. I haven't read the classic in years. When I was asked to review the book, I received a copy of the classic as well and I'm looking forward to drawing my comparisons on the two, but I want this review to be about Gemma Hardy and not Jane Eyre.
I will say that Gemma's early days did remind me of the book I read long ago, but that's all I'll say. The story is set in the 50s and 60s at a time when the world was really changing. You feel instant sympathy for the young Gemma who is not liked by her remaining family. The way her aunt and cousins treated was appalling.
Claypoole, the school she was sent to was even worse. You will definitely feel pity for this child. The things she went through before the age of 12 were just so sad.
Nothing went right for Gemma.
Her flight is perhaps what puzzled me the most about this story. She parallels Jane Eyre quite a bit in Gemma's early years, that is obvious to anyone familiar with the story, but the separation of Gemma and Mr. Sinclair is totally different from that of Jane and Mr. Rochester.
I absolutely loved Gemma's time with the Sinclairs, especially Nell. I really loved when Nell named the calves Herman and Petula, after Herman's Hermits and Petula Clark.
I loved Margot's writing style. I didn't want to put this book down. It followed me whereever I went. At times I felt like the story was trapped in that long ago time period. It is hard to believe that children were treated as little more than slaves in the 1950s.
There is so much more I could say about this book, but the only thing that matters, is that if you are looking for an emotional read that will touch your heart and soul, this is the book to pick up. I'll be reading Jane Eyre again soon, so I can make a good comparison.
Rating: 5 flowers
About Margot Livesey
Margot Livesey is the acclaimed author of the novelsThe House on Fortune Street, Banishing Verona, Eva Moves the Furniture, The Missing World, Criminals, andHomework. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Vogue, and The Atlantic, and she is the recipient of grants from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. The House on Fortune Street won the 2009 L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award. Livesey was born in Scotland and grew up on the edge of the Highlands. She lives in the Boston area and is a distinguished Writer-in-Residence at Emerson College.
Margo’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, January 30th: Just Joanna *
Wednesday, February 1st: Book Reviews by Molly *
Thursday, February 2nd: A Library of My Own
Tuesday, February 14th: Much Madness is Divine Sense
Wednesday, February 15th: Into the Hall of Books
Thursday, February 16th: Chaotic Compendiums *
Tuesday, February 21st: Coffee and A Book Chick
Tuesday, February 21st: The Whimsical Cottage
Wednesday, February 22nd: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, February 23rd: Book Nook Club
Friday, February 24th: Luxury Reading
Tuesday, February 28th: It’s a Crazy, Beautiful Life
Wednesday, February 29th: ooldes of books
Thursday, March 1st: Book Clutter
Monday, March 5th: Book Journey
Tuesday, March 6th: Drey’s Library
Wednesday, March 7th: Book-a-rama
Thursday, March 8th: Unabridged Chick *
* also reading Jane Eyre