Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey [Review]

3 out of 5 Robots!

The Flight of Gemma Hardy
By Margot Livesey
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Release: January 24, 2012
Hardcover: 447 Pages
Publisher: HarperCollins
My Copy: Purchased
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
Acclaimed, award-winning author Margot Livesey delivers her breakout novel: a captivating tale, set in Scotland in the early 1960s, that is both a 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.

Shannon's Thoughts:
I haven't read Jane Eyre in a long time, so I can't speak to how good of an homage/re-imagining The Flight of Gemma Hardy. I do know that some major plot points were changed, probably to soften the story for a YA audience.  Perhaps if I knew my Jane Eyre better, I would have caught all the references and been entertained by that.

As it was, this book just falls a little flat for me.  I wasn't very engaged.  I really only perked up when Gemma was living in the Orkney Islands, but lost interest again when she left.  I attribute this mostly to not being able to connect to the characters.  Even though this story is told in first person, I didn't feel like I ever got to know Gemma.  I couldn't understand her decisions or her thought process.  I found her a little hypocritical and immature.  I also feel the story is overly long.  It seems to go on and on in some places.  I kept waiting for some kind of climax or progression and it never really got there.

I don't think The Flight of Gemma Hardy is badly written, per se.  I just think it isn't my type of book.  Maybe if I knew Jane Eyre better I could have a deeper understanding of what the author is trying to accomplish.  So, if this book sounds interesting, you should give it a try.  I just wasn't captivated by it.

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