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.- book description
“Not long ago this room had been the centre of the house, a place brightened by my uncle’s energy, made tranquil by his concentration as he worked on his sermons, but last February, skating alone on the river at dusk, he had fallen through the ice, and now I was the only one who spent any time here, or who seemed to miss him.”
|—||The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey|
This book is a sure bet for book clubs and Bronte fans.
Scotland's Margot Livesey is quite accomplished with many novels. The House on Fortune Street, Banishing Verona, Eva Moves the Furniture, The Missing World, Criminals, and Homework.
This modern take on the Jane Eyre is character Gemma Hardy who is born in 1948 in Iceland. She is an orphan. Her mother dies in a freak accident and her father drowns. She is raised by her uncle for a few years, but after he passes away she is taken in with indifferent cousins and the like and ends up being shipped off to boarding school.
Gemma is plain but rather smart even if she earns her way there, through cooking and cleaning. The story goes from Scotland back Iceland where Gemma hopes to find her roots.
While Jane Eyre is from Victorian times, Gemma's story takes place in the 60's.
"If she came of age when the pill was available and women's right were the topic of discussion it would really change the novel and what I was trying to do," Livesey explains of her decision of the modern day Jane Erye.
Livesey herself remembers those boarding school days when she was growing up. And in the story Gemma's best friend at school is Jane. Of course, its after her school days she meets Mr. Rochester.
"I never read Jane Eyre once I started my book," Livesey admits. "I thought, if I do, I'll just throw down my pen."
Of course, this novel might not be the heart pounding gothic romance one might expect. Even so, its a story of one woman's journey that might even inspire you.
|If you haven't guessed already, Rebecca Hall would be Gemma Hardy in my dreamcast.|