The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey
(Click on cover for Goodreads)
Paperback: 443 Pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Published: June 26, 2012
Source: Giveaway on Goodreads
The Flight of Gemma Hardy is about a 10 year old girl who lost her parents and went off to live with her uncle and aunt. However, when her uncle dies, everyone begins to treat her horribly, and also as if their uncle never even existed. She is treated like a maid rather than a family member. She is locked into a small room as punishment for things she was accused of doing. Altogether, her life at Yew House after her uncle's death was horrible.
Gemma had always dreamt of leaving Yew House, where she lives, but when the time comes, she finds she isn't ready. She isn't ready to leave everything behind, and grow even further away from her uncle. However, her aunt wants her out as soon as possible.
However, she eventually leaves for Claypoole school because her aunt wants her out of the house, and that is only the beginning of a very difficult journey.
Gemma has a personality that I admire. She can be kind and caring at times, but sometimes she can also be that girl who will do something to make you feel even worse. She believes that justice was really important, and always tried to defend herself, or just express her thoughts only to be punished.
There were so many times where I felt the same frustration as Gemma when she was accused of doing something she didn't. Sometimes when she was trying to bring justice, she would only be punished. However, it seems more like bullying than punishment to me, and at times, she does get bullied at school.
The story is also told in an interesting way. It's in present tense, but also talks about things in the future as well. I'm not sure how to explain it, but it's something along the lines of "... that I would find out about in later years."
I wasn't expecting the romance though, probably because I haven't read Jane Eyre. But for some reason, I hadn't expected there to be love. Another thing I wasn't expecting was the sort of supernatural touch to it, that really surprised me.
The Flight of Gemma Hardy pulled me right in from the beginning because I wanted to see how she dealt with a family that treated her like crap, and also because she was such an interesting character to read about. Margot Livesey wrote a beautiful story about overcoming obstacles in life, mistakes, and forgiveness, I absolutely loved it. I know it's an adaptation of Jane Eyre, but since I haven't read it, I can't exactly compare the two.
" We each begin as an island, but we soon build bridges. Even the most solitary person has, perhaps, without knowing it, a causeway, a cable, a line of stepping-stones, connecting him or her to others, allowing for the possibility of communication and affection."