New York Times Bestseller
“An exceptionally well-plotted, well-crafted, innovatively interpreted modern twist on a timeless classic, one that’s sure to delight the multitudes of Brontë fans, and the multitudes of fans that Livesey deserves.” —The Boston Globe
“A suspenseful, curl-up-by-the-fire romance with a willfully determined protagonist who’s worthy of her literary role model.” — People
The resonant story of a young woman’s struggle to take charge of her own future, The Flight of Gemma Hardy is a modern take on a classic story—Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre—that will fascinate readers of the Gothic original and fans of modern literary fiction alike, with its lyrical prose, robust characters, and abundant compassion.
Set in early 1960s Scotland, this breakout novel from award-winning author Margot Livesey is a tale of determination and spirit that, like The Three Weissmanns of Westport and A Thousand Acres, spins an unforgettable new story from threads of our shared, still-living literary past.
Inspired by Jane Eyre, Livesey (The House on Fortune Street) offers vibrant prose and a feisty heroine in her fascinating sixth novel, set in Scotland in the early 1960s. After 10-year-old Gemma Hardy's parents die, she is taken in by a kind uncle, much to his wife's dismay. When her uncle dies, the novel takes on shades of Cinderella as Gemma (who had been accepted by her cousins) is made into a scullery maid. Though her aunt attempts to break her down, Gemma works hard in school, earning a scholarship place at the Claypool boarding school. Again little more than a slave, Gemma learns how to survive among the working girls. When the school closes, Gemma takes a position in the Orkneys, where she will live at the estate of the mysterious Sinclair and look after his wild niece, Nell. She and Sinclair fall in love, but Sinclair has a secret that drives Gemma to change, as well as inspiring her to trace her Icelandic roots. Although guardian angels and kind strangers turn up like an army of deus ex machinas, these plot missteps don't detract from Gemma's self-possessed determination. Captivating and moving, this book is a wonderful addition to Livesey's body of work.
The Flight of Gemma Hardy
Ensconced from the start all through to the end. Loved it!
Had I known...
I began this book with no idea that it was a reimagining of Jane Eyre. As I continued reading I couldn’t believe how identical the stories were. I did a Google search and realized it was intentional and not an author trying to claim a completely original story. Anyway, the low rating comes from the “twist” in the story when Jane or Gemma in this story, is about to marry their love, the reason that Gemma runs from the marriage is so weak! She doesn’t leave her intended because he’s hiding a crazy wife. His secret is so minor, it’s really hard to believe she would have left over it. I was also disappointed that the author didn’t tie up Gemma’s ends with the family that rescues her. Good writing, but disappointed with some major plot points.
I really liked this book. It is the type of book that pulls you into its story and when not reading it you are thinking about what you’ve read. Very enjoyable read. I will look for more by this author.