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Friday, October 18, 2013

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey

This book is supposed pay homage to Jane Eyre. I haven't read Charlotte Bronte's masterpiece, but even not knowing that plot I thought this novel predictable and boring in spots. The beginning held my interest the most. The high-spirited eight-year-old Gemma Hardy is living with her aunt and uncle, the latter having just died. She is no longer considered a member of the family and when she fights with her step-siblings she is sent to a boarding school where she is a working girl student. Work takes precedence over being a student and she gets very little done in way of her studies until she is befriended by Myriam, a regular student shunned by classmates because of her limp. The two form a close bond and help each other survive school. Gemma is bullied and protected by one of the older working girls and the dynamics of Gemma struggling to see the pros and cons to this arrangement make for some tense and dramatic moments. When the school closes Gemma gets a job as an au pair to an orphaned girl who lives with her uncle, Mr. Sinclair, on the Orkney Islands in northern Scotland.

Mr. Sinclair is twice her age and a romance ensues that struck me as unbelievable; hence, I lost interest in the middle of the story. I also struggled with Gemma overreacting to Mr. Sinclair's story. It is the catalyst for her running away, but seemed silly because his grievance took place so long in his past and had nothing to do with her. If she had doubts or cold feet about marriage, it would have made more sense. I didn't really see what she saw in Mr. Sinclair. When Gemma has another romance with a different man, the reason for them splitting actually made more sense to me. Their romance was a series of misunderstandings and the man not really being honest with his feelings toward woman in general. An entertaining read but forgettable in the mountain of books I read each month.

Adult 
3 Smileys

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