Knitme23's Reviews > The Flight of Gemma Hardy

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey
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's review
Mar 10, 2012

really liked it
Read in March, 2012

Borrowed this from Heather Dillon, having seen it reviewed recently (Cornflower Books blog, maybe?) and being curious about the Jane Eyre link. I really enjoyed it, reading it in about three days! It's strongest, I think, when it moves from its lockstep with Jane Eyre and lets Gemma develop in her own way. The first chapter or two, in fact, were so closely aligned that I was afraid the whole book would just be a modern retelling, a mildly entertaining feat that often goes flat quickly. Once Livesey started to delve into the details of Gemma's life at her school, however, my fears were allayed, and the book continued to build strength and interest until its end.

The tie to Iceland, the question of what it's like to be completely on one's own, and the gentle conviction that there are good people in the world all add richness and pleasure to the plot. There are a few loose ends, like the fact that Gemma has three names over the course of the book and the apparitions that show up occasionally--these details are carefully developed, but they felt unresolved by the end of the book--well, unresolved may be the wrong word: as a reader, I felt that Livesey had perhaps intended a deeper meaning to those details than I was able to take away.

Overall, however, the book is a pleasure and well worth the reading!
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