The flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey

Agnes’s fiction pick


 Image     Harper Collins 2012

Gemma Hardy is born in Iceland, orphaned at a young age and sent to live with her uncle and aunt in Scotland.  After her uncle’s death,her presence in the household is not a welcome one.  Anxious to be rid of Gemma, her aunt sends her to a boarding school where, as they cannot or will not pay for her board and tuition, she is “allowed’ to work for her keep.  It is a hard life and Gemma only escapes when the school finally closes due to financial difficulties.

She then takes an au-pair job in Orkney which leads her to the love interest in the book.  After more adventures, she finally ends up back in Iceland searching for the truth about her family.

This book has been reviewed as homage to Jane Eyre. I leave you to make up your own mind on that. Frankly, I found Mr. Sinclair’s big secret quite underwhelming  . It would almost have been a relief for him to have someone stashed in the attic to relieve the monumental boredom of their affair.

I really wanted to enjoy this book, as I know most of the places referred to. However, I didn’t find Gemma to be a very pleasant character and quite irritating, and the book seemed to go on forever. 

So, alas, I cannot recommend a flight with Gemma Hardy.

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