- This one has been on my wishlist for a while – I’m a huge fan of Jane Eyre and with a setting in Scotland I couldn’t resist.
Summary from GoodReads:
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.
The Flight of Gemma Hardy was a tricky book for me. I picked it up on a cool evening and settled in to escape into a 1960′s Scotland, ready to revisit some of the same elements from Jane Eyre that make the classic a favorite – and within the first few pages I was hooked.
I devoured the story of Gemma as she struggled with her Aunt and cousins and was shipped off to a boarding school. I was hypnotized by the descriptions of school life, working life, and her struggles to find a place for herself. And about 1/4th of the way through the book I put it down to look at my sister and tell her, “This is a great book!”
Then something happened – and I don’t know if it is because it’s tied to my least favorite part in Jane Eyre, or whether it was because the writing itself got confusing – but things started going downhill. I struggled to make the more modern connection of just why a marriage between Gemma and Hugh was bad, why there was such an issue with it all. Then came the more fanciful scenes with the running away of the main character and introduction of so many characters it made my head dizzy.
So as much as I enjoyed the first quarter of the book, the final half made my head hurt and every bit of enjoyment I had fled, unfortunately. As much as I was looking forward to a modern re-telling of the classic, there are just so many elements that wouldn’t work in a modern-day setting that the result ends up jumbled and messy.
However, the reading was not a total bust- because I did truly love the first part of the book. It was fantastic, and the book is worth the read just for that part.
About the Author
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