The Flight of Gemma Hardy
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The Flight of Gemma Hardy

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  10,099 ratings  ·  2,042 reviews
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-y...more
Hardcover, 447 pages
Published January 24th 2012 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published January 1st 2012)
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Jane by April LindnerRebecca by Daphne du MaurierThe Eyre Affair by Jasper FfordeThe Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot LiveseyWide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Derivatives of Jane Eyre
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369th out of 2,999 books — 9,236 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kerry
In her acknowledgements, Margot Livesey writes that her literary inspiration for this tale should be clear. I would argue that "inspiration" is too weak a word for the novel whose events are, with very few exceptions, scrupulously followed from start (the orphaned niece hiding behind the curtains reading a book about birds) to finish (reconciliation with the metaphorical lord of the manor). Because Gemma Hardy is retracing Jane Eyre's footsteps, reading this book became more an exercise in remem...more
Kelly
Elizabeth wrote in her review that the major point in this book’s favor is that it doesn’t skip over Jane Eyre’s childhood, unlike most other retellings generally do: mostly in order to get to the fun Gothic Rochester stuff. I think that that is the right way to approach this novel, it’s certainly what Livesey has the most to say about, and it is her strongest section. The atmosphere that she created for the book’s opening was entirely appropriate. Everything is hard, a little bit sharp, with a...more
Amy Lignor
As all readers know, the beauty, tragedy, inspiration, and loveliness that came from the original Jane Eyre is something that many over the years have tried to imitate or duplicate. Seeing as that you would have to be a remarkable writer to even touch the magic that Charlotte Bronte created, all that can be said is that THIS is a remarkable writer. This contemporary retelling based loosely on the original is filled with characters that the reader will remember far into the future, perhaps with r...more
Avry15
originally appeared on:Bookshelf Confessions

I haven’t read Jane Eyre, yeah, I know, you can’t believe me. But I live in the Philippines, and we’re not required to study English Classic Literatures, except when you majored in it in college. So, I have nothing to compare “The Flight of Gemma Hardy” to.

Even though this book is a tribute to Bronte’s Jane Eyre, I find myself falling for this book’s charm alone. I don’t need to compare it with the original classic, because this one is not an old class...more
Ellen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
O_susannah
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Asheley
(a similar version of this review can be found here at Into the Hall of Books: http://www.intothehallofbooks.com/201...)

THE FLIGHT OF GEMMA HARDY by Margot Livesey is a beautiful story that is reminiscent of Charlotte Bronte's classic JANE EYRE. Gemma is orphaned at a young age; both of her parents die in Iceland tragically while she is still very young. Gemma's Uncle, having made a promise to his sister, travels to Iceland to bring Gemma back to live in Scotland with him.

Under the care of her...more
Lacie Ernst
I'm giving this book 3.5 stars. This is a modern-day adaptation of Jane Eyre, one of my favorite books. This book follows the basic framework of the original. Having recently read Jane Eyre, it was easy for me to follow the storyline and "plug-in" the characters. Unfortunately for me, it was probably one of the reasons I didn't "love" this book. I wanted to like this book more, but my love of Jane's character got in the way and I couldn't separate her from Gemma. Gemma is interesting, but not en...more
Janet
Touted as a Jane Eyre cover this had about as much bite as Wayne Newton doing a cover of “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” by the Stones. Here’s the deal: the strength of Jane Eyre resided solely in the steeliness of Jane’s character which was surprisingly unsentimental. Despite her meager starting point she developed a strong sense of self putting one foot in front of the other and always moving forward; at no point did Bronte’s Jane ever present herself as a victim. Livesey’s Gemma is a handwringi...more
Thomas
In one of my college essay drafts I made a metaphor comparing myself to Jane Eyre; I liked it, but I don't think my AP English Language teacher appreciated my line that went "one day, I will find my Mr. Rochester too." I just loved Jane Eyre. Out of all of the classics I've read, it probably possesses the protagonist I relate to the most. I suppose it's fitting then that the first retelling I read is one of, you guessed it, Jane Eyre.

Gemma is an orphan. First her parents passed away, then her ca...more
Jen Meegan
This is the second modern reworking of Jane Eyre I've read and I have the same comment here as I did in my review of that previous novel: Jane Eyre is a product of its time and therefore, near impossible to rewrite in a modern setting without losing something in translation. All of the things that made JE such a heady romance for 1840s Britain are the very same things that simply don't work in a modern setting. In "The Flight of Gemma Hardy", the author at least attempts to retain some of the or...more
Diane S.
I wanted to like this more than I did, and for more than the first half I did. Her writing is wonderful, her descriptions of the birds and scenery was wonderful. Parallels to Jane Eyre, especially in the beginning were certainly there, though the atmosphere was not quite as dark. She loses me when on the island Gemma, leaves Mr. Sinclair before marrying him, for a rather what I thought was really nothing, anyway I couldn't get over that, it made me not take the rest of the book as seriously as I...more
Jenny Q
According to the author, this novel was strongly influenced by her passion for Jane Eyre and her desire "to recast Jane's journey to fit her own courageous heroine and the possibilities of her time and place." It's been a long time since I read Jane Eyre, but I don't remember it playing out like The Flight of Gemma Hardy does.

When Gemma's parents die, she's taken into her uncle's home as a young child. Her uncle dotes on her, educates her, and treats her as an equal member of the family. This ca...more
Karen (Book Light Graveyard)
Being obsessed with all things Jane Eyre, as soon as I found out that this book was a modernization/retelling, I knew I had to read it. Aaaand . . . it turned out to be a bit of a mixed experience for me.

Generally, the book follows the basic storyline of Jane Eyre fairly closely, and generally I approved of the ways that Livesey made the story her own. In fact, if it wasn’t for a bit in the middle, I think I could’ve fallen in love with this book and the way Livesey stayed true to the spirit of...more
Tobinsfavorite
If you have ever wanted to read "Jane Eyre" without suffering through the prose of Charlotte Bronte, this might be the book for you. (Or it might not. Stripped of the prose of Charlotte Bronte, "Jane Eyre" can be a pretty ridiculous story. Stripped of Jane herself, it is worse.)

This book was suggested to me as a modern retelling of "Jane Eyre". I did not expect it to be a step-by-step translation, but before I was 20 pages in, I had reread the argument between Jane and her cousin in her dead unc...more
Nancy Kennedy
Love Jane Eyre in the original, not in this remake. The similarities between the two stories are so numerous and so deliberate, it makes me wonder: Where is the line between an homage and outright plagiarism?
Because the plot lines were so similar, I just kept noting that fact, rather than immersing myself in this supposedly new story.

I stuck with the story for about half the book, and now I've just lost interest. The so-called love scenes between Mr. Sinclair and Gemma are so clumsy as to be la...more
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
The first line of this novel -- We did not go for a walk on the first day of the year. -- echoes that of Charlotte Brontë's classic Jane Eyre -- There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. However, while Livesey's take echoes and mirrors the classic, she has also created an original and appealing heroine that I fell in love with and wanted to have as a friend.

Gemma, like Jane, finds herself an unloved and unwanted outsider in her aunt's home after her beloved uncle dies. Desperate only...more
Felice
The jacket on The Flight of Gemma Hardy tells you right out in the open that this novel is “a captivating homage to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre”. That was enough of a come on for me. I made the purchase. How did that work out? Good and not so good.


For all but the final third of The Flight of Gemma Hardy author Margot Livesey sticks closely to the plot of Jane Eyre. In fact this first chunk of the novel is not so much“homage” in my opinion as a flat out retelling. Gemma’s story takes place in t...more
Lormac
This was a completely satisfactory book. Just not a stand-out.

I must admit I went into this book with low expectations, but it had been recommended in so many recent book lists, magazines and blogs that when I saw the book CDs at the library, I pounced. (Especially since, in my library, getting a book CD that is less than 10 years old is a minor miracle.) Anyway, all of these referrals compared it to "Jane Eyre" which is a book I have never read, and don't really want to, but which comparison, I...more
Susan Johnson
This is an homage to Jane Eyre set in Scotland in the 1960's. The difference in the times makes Gemma's journey less sad than Jane's but she still had a difficult time. Jane was orphaned at a young age and her uncle took her in. Life was good until he died and her aunt and cousins turned on her. She was farmed out to a boarding school as a "scholarship" student which meant she worked for education and boarding. She was 10.
After the school closes, she finds the dream job for her- governess for a...more
Becky
Apr 20, 2012 Becky rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
I didn't exactly love The Flight of Gemma Hardy. But. I am glad I read it simply because if I hadn't, I would have always wondered if I was missing out on a great book.

It is a "modern" retelling of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. If you love, love, love, absolutely love and adore Jane Eyre, then you'll probably end up disappointed with The Flight of Gemma Hardy. Probably. If the heart and soul of Jane Eyre is Jane's relationship with Mr. Rochester--which is seen mainly through dialogue--then you'...more
K
Meh.

Is it because I read Jane Eyre 25(!) years ago that I failed to appreciate this book? I suspect not. My feeling is that I should be able to enjoy this book even if I've never read Jane Eyre, just like I should be able to enjoy someone's memoir even if I'm personally unfamiliar with them.

This book started off good enough. I found myself engaged by the audiobook reader (lilting Scottish accent), which made me inclined to be more forgiving and suspend my usual picky tendencies even as the cruel...more
Kami Reeve
I'm trying to figure out why I didn't give this 5 stars. Maybe it's a 4.5? I loved it. It was wonderful. I think maybe I was expecting it to more closely follow Jane Eyre, which I love. Although, I'm glad the author spouted her wings and let the novel fly. I truly enjoyed reading this and could recommend it to anyone.
Charlie
To put it simply, this is a book readers will love or despise. Which way the reader rolls will ultimately depend on their everlasting devotion to Jane Eyre. My natural reaction is to recommend, The Flight of Gemma Hardy, to fans of Bronte, but purists may (and have been) put-off by the re-creation and are abashed by the blatant audacity of retelling a beloved classic. However, if someone has to do it, I'm pleased that Margot Livesey took on the challenge. Her prose are elegant, setting imaginati...more
Elaine
Jun 10, 2012 Elaine rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tonya
Margot Livesey is brillant! Gemma Hardy will worm her way in your heart and she will become forever a part of you. How can you not love a young girl who's only blood relative passes away and is mistreated and sent to live at a school as a "working girl". But as much as I would have given attitude and felt sorry for myself, Gemma rises above and ends up getting a job as an au pair. Gemma has such a way with her you can't put the book down for two seconds, you want her to find someone to love and...more
Catherine
I've read Jane Eyre quite a few times. I even taught it the one semester that I actually got to teach Brit Lit. Obviously, I like Jane Eyre and I enjoy retellings, so Jane Eyre set in 1950s/60s Scotland sounded pretty darn awesome.

For the most part, I was not disappointed. I think Livesey did a great job of capturing the essence of Jane, through the character of Gemma who is lucky enough to live in a time when girls are beginning to have more options in life. The overall plot of the book is ver...more
Lisa Christen
This is a GOOD book and you MUST READ it!! I'm serious. It is a really good book, an easy read, and captivating. Why? You know how sometimes you just want a good book that doesn't make you think too much, that you can identify with the main character and feel her pain/happiness/heartache? This is it.

At times it feels like a Cinderella story, mean stepmom (in this case her aunt) and mean stepsisters (her cousins). But in truth it feels just like Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre." Take that book and...more
Bonnie Fazio
I loved this book for two-thirds of it, and ended up loving it less but liking it a lot by the end.

There's something about the story of a blameless child in hideous circumstances -- as long as they're not TOO hideous. I think that something is the satisfaction any of us might derive from being wrongly accused of a minor wrong -- especially if it looks as though the truth will out.

There's the expectation or at least hope of vindication -- if not actual reward -- for righteousness. There's the ch...more
Canadian Reader
A not-entirely successful retelling of Jane Eyre for modern times, with a few unique touches. This time round, Gemma (the Jane character)is an orphan from Iceland, who, like Jane, ends up at the mercy of her cruel widowed aunt and unkind cousins (this time they're Scottish). Sent off to a boarding school, Gemma ends up an overworked, unpaid drudge instead of the charity student she was expecting to be. After leaving the school, she travels to the Orkney Islands to become a governess of sorts to...more
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Goodreads Librari...: ISBN:9780062064226 2 148 Apr 16, 2012 10:52AM  
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Margot Livesey grew up in a boys' private school in the Scottish Highlands where her father taught, and her mother, Eva, was the school nurse. After taking a B.A. in English and philosophy at the University of York in England she spent most of her twenties working in shops and restaurants and learning to write. Her first book, a collection of stories called Learning By Heart, was published by Peng...more
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