Erika's Reviews > The Flight of Gemma Hardy

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey
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Sep 21, 12

bookshelves: 2012, classics-rewrite, contemporary-literature, fiction, review-books-suddenly
Read in September, 2012

At the back of this book, Margot Livesey explains some of her inspiration for her story. Coupled with a love of Jane Eyre at an early age and a life that she couldn't help but compare to Jane herself, she set out to pay homage to not only the master herself - Charlotte Bronte - but her own life as well. If I had known this before I started reading I may have read the story with a much different perspective. As it was I couldn't help but to see the resemblace of Gemma's life to Jane's during every step of her journey.

I'm a huge fan of Jane Eyre and have tried to read retellings in the past without success but I found 1960s Scotland to be the perfect setting and Gemma to be the perfect character for this one. Scotland made the story fresh and exciting. There are enough cultural differences to make the story interesting and yet the setting (rolling hills, old buildings, small towns) kept the difference from feeling jarring as these things too are in Jane's story.

Now, the story wasn't too much like Jane's. Things are changed here and there and if you think you know the ending, think again. My favourite part of this story was actually the ending, which I don't say too often. Gemma herself has a fascinating backgroung, one with a bit of mystery to it that kept me reading to find out more about her.

The writing was beautiful and every sentence was filled with so much meaning that I had no trouble dragging this read out for weeks and dwelling on the story. I haven't been able to really immerse myself in a story like that in a long time, which felt very satisfying to me. I'm glad I had the chance to read it and would recommend to not only Jane Eyre fans but to anyone who likes a book with a lot of substance to it.

** As reviewed on Suddenly Books.
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