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The Flight of Gemma Hardy: A Novel (P.S.) by…
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The Flight of Gemma Hardy: A Novel (P.S.) (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Margot Livesey

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Member:bookwoman84
Title:The Flight of Gemma Hardy: A Novel (P.S.)
Authors:Margot Livesey
Info:Harper Perennial (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library, Read 2013
Rating:****
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The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey (2012)

Recently added byLaura_Jones, karenmarie, CharlaOppenlander, private library, lilymorgan, Swade0710, VanessaCW
1950s (8) 1960s (6) 2012 (12) 2013 (4) ARC (5) au pair (4) boarding school (6) British (5) coming of age (14) fiction (65) historical fiction (28) Iceland (34) Jane Eyre (32) Kindle (5) nannies (10) novel (8) Orkney Islands (16) orphan (16) orphans (14) own (4) read (9) read in 2012 (6) read in 2013 (7) retelling (9) romance (7) Scotland (49) signed (4) to-read (42) unread (4) wishlist (4)

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» See also 77 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
I am so glad this was a library book. I was intrigued, since I am a sucker for anything relating to the Brontes, but I was vastly disappointed. It started out okay, and then I realized it was scene by scene Jane Eyre, and not just inspired by. Gemma was not as good a character as Jane; there was barely any difference between Gemma at 10 and Gemma at 18. Mr. Sinclair was certainly no Rochester -- his "secret" was just sort of eh. Not much of a secret. The pacing was off -- pages and pages would be spent on a couple of days, and then weeks would go by in a paragraph. It made for disjointed reading. The writing itself was decent, but nothing to write home about.
All in all, if you're looking for a Jane Eyre adaptation, try [b:Jane|7826117|Jane|April Lindner|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1315028070s/7826117.jpg|10876370]. I was not super impressed by that one either, but at least it added the twist of Rochester being a rock star. Flight simply retold, scene for scene, Jane Eyre in 1960s Scotland. No thanks. ( )
  abookishcorner | Mar 4, 2014 |
Given my deep and abiding love for Jane Eyre, it will surprise approximately no one that I have a lot of feelings and opinions about it. And one of these opinions is that it's not possible to satisfyingly modernize it ala Bridget Jones's Diary. I'm perfectly willing to be proven wrong, but there are so many key characteristics and plot points that just can't be taken out of their 19th-century habitat without becoming implausible or unreasonable. Regarding, for instance, this book's answer to the big mid-book revelation in Jane Eyre, I could not understand why the Jane character was making such a fuss about it. It was a real stretch.

But my main thought about this enterprise was "why bother?" What is the point of going through the motions, methodically revisiting every event from Jane Eyre in the context of 1960s Scotland? What am I getting out of this that I wouldn't just get from rereading Jane Eyre?

After finishing the book I couldn't answer those questions to my satisfaction...so 2.5 stars. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 6, 2014 |
This was a good read. It was not a great read because one of the main plot points that was changed from the classic [Jane Eyre] that inspired it was completely unbelievable. ( )
  vwinsloe | Jul 19, 2013 |
I enjoyed reading this book, which was a homage to Jane Eyre, set in 1950s Scotland and Iceland. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon, and the Icelandic parts were interesting because I know so little about that country. ( )
  mhanderson | Jun 16, 2013 |
I was so excited to read this book because it is a somewhat modern (set in the 1960s) retelling of Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre is my favorite romance and one of my favorite books. The Flight of Gemma Hardy is well-written and enjoyable. I read it straight through. However, the dark Gothic elements that I so love about Jane Eyre, the intense, barely restrained love affair between Jane and Mr. Rochester, and the frightening events surrounding the mad-woman in the tower are either not present in this novel or are diminished in favor of its modern retelling in 1960s Scotland. I also did not love Gemma the way that I loved Jane. Gemma, although very strong-willed like Jane, is less forgiving and humble. Her will sometimes comes across as selfish rather than self-preserving. On the other hand, the childhood of Gemma was well-created, the settings of Scotland and Iceland were fitting and carefully, lovingly drawn, and the story was, if taken on its own merit, well-told. The problem I had was that I absolutely love Jane Eyre and expected to enjoy this retelling nearly as much. I liked it, but I did not love it. If anything, it made me long to go back and read Jane Eyre again.

Favorite words:

sporran
martinet
punnets
chivvy

Favorite quote: “Defiance was appealing, but it did not warm my cold room, it did not clothe me, it did not fill the long hours after school and chores” (p. 27).

Favorite character description: (Mr. Milne)”…with his large head of grey hair and his round belly, he resembled nothing so much as a garden gnome” (p. 50).

Latin phrase:
modus vivendi: way of life or way of living ( )
  TheLoopyLibrarian | Jun 5, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
But like a production of “Twelfth Night” where all the characters are played as cowboys or Prohibition-era gangsters, “Gemma Hardy” left me wondering why “Jane Eyre” needs to be resettled in the late 1950s. Livesey makes little of the contrast between the two tales or even the contrast between the two eras. Indeed, Gemma’s life in these small, remote towns seems so much closer to the early 19th century than the mid-20th that I was always startled when an automobile intruded on the scene.

....When an author dons the mantle of a classic, it’s not unreasonable to expect her to reanimate it in some significant way. There’s nothing jarring or silly about this homage (for that, see Sherri Browning Erwin’s “Jane Slayre” with a werewolf bride in the attic), but for all of Live­sey’s intelligent and graceful storytelling, she keeps Gemma Hardy’s flight too close to the ground.
 
"This original slant on a classic story line captures the reader's interest and sustains it to the end. Fans of modern interpretations of the classics will particularly enjoy."
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Catherine Tingelstad (Nov 1, 2011)
 
. “The Flight of Gemma Hardy,” Livesey’s appealing new novel, is, as she has explained, a kind of continued conversation, a “recasting” of both “Jane Eyre” and Livesey’s own childhood. Set mostly in Scotland in the late 1950s and ’60s, the narrative follows the fortunes of a young girl, Gemma Hardy, who is beset by bad luck. ...Livesey is a lovely, fluid writer. There’s much pleasure to be had in her descriptions of neolithic sites in Orkney and, most of all, her abiding affinity for the natural world: “the limpet’s frill of muscle” found while the young Gemma pulls shells off the rocks in a windswept cove, the “gleaming scar” on a beech tree that has lost the branch where a rope swing once hung, the experience of “retrieving two warm eggs from a drowsy red hen.”

It isn’t, however, until the final third of the novel, when Gemma, risking her own life, is forced to leave what she loves and act independently, that “The Flight of Gemma Hardy” becomes its most satisfying self.
 
How do you recast a classic? Follow Margot Livesey's lead in The Flight of Gemma Hardy, a riveting retelling of Jane Eyre that puts the familiar feminist heroine in the pre-feminist world of early 1960s Scotland. The result is distinct and even daring — and far from derivative.

It's a tricky prospect, paying (nearly) modern homage to a piece of literature that was done so right the first time, but from the first few pages, Flight soars on its own writerly wings.
 

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Epigraph
Home is the sailor, home from the sea
And the hunter home from the hill.
—"Requiem," Robert Louis Stevenson
Dedication
For Roger Sylvester, 1922-2008
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We did not go for a walk on the first day of the year.
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Book description
Book Description
Publication Date: January 24, 2012

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.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062064223, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:19 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Overcoming a life of hardship and loneliness, Gemma Hardy, a brilliant and determined young woman, accepts a position as an au pair on the remote Orkney Islands where she faces her biggest challenge yet.

(summary from another edition)

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