I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Review: "The Flight of Gemma Hardy"

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , , ,
The Flight of Gemma Hardy
By Margot Livesey

Plot Summary:
Acclaimed, award-winning author Margot Livesey delivers her breakout novel: a captivating tale, set in Scotland in the early 1960s, that is both an homage and a modern variation on the enduring classic, Jane Eyre

Fate has not been kind to Gemma Hardy. Orphaned by the age of ten, neglected by a bitter and cruel aunt, sent to a boarding school where she is both servant and student, young Gemma seems destined for a life of hardship and loneliness. Yet her bright spirit burns strong. Fiercely intelligent, singularly determined, Gemma overcomes each challenge and setback, growing stronger and more certain of her path. Now an independent young woman with dreams of the future, she accepts a position as an au pair on the remote and beautiful Orkney Islands.

But Gemma's biggest trial is about to begin . . . a journey of passion and betrayal, secrets and lies, redemption and discovery that will lead her to a life she's never dreamed.

As the story of Gemma Hardy, this book was very interesting on it's own because the character of Gemma is compelling and very well constructed. As an homage to Jane Eyre, the childhood portion was very well fleshed out and updated for 1960s Scotland. The problems of childhood illness and what amounts to child abuse did not feel contrived when trying to make the problems feasible in the Sixties. What most disappointed me about the novel was the Mr. Sinclair section which was shorter than the other parts and felt rushed when it came to the romance. Gemma and Mr. Sinclair fell in love pretty fast in my opinion and I did not see how they could know they were soul mates. It would have helped if we were privy to more of their conversations. Mr. Sinclair's secret also felt a little anti-climactic because I didn't think it was so devastating. But the last part of the novel was again well developed with the new ties Gemma formed, and the resolution of her family history. The focus of the novel was definitely on Gemma Hardy and her development and not so much on a certain character that Jane Eyre fans might be interested in.

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