Thursday, August 16, 2012

ReView of 'The Flight of Gemma Hardy' by Margot Livesey

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey
Historical Fiction ; (447pgs)
HarperCollins Publishers

One of the most transformative great classics of all time, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, never ceases to inspire.  A modern twist, or a modern retelling of Jane Eyre even, is what Livesey's The Flight of Gemma Hardy seems to be described as.

Livesey must have written The Flight of Gemma Hardy from an intimate and personal relationship to Jane Eyre.  There are too many close parallels to Jane Eyre.  Maybe there is even some inspiration to be found in Wuthering Heights, since the landscape of Iceland is reminiscent of the significance of the surroundings in Wuthering Heights. 

Gemma undergoes a coming-of-age change from the age of 10 to the age of 18.  It seems as though the landscape of Iceland is just fitting for that change to take place.  One more parallel is that at the age of eighteen, Gemma, just like Jane Eyre finds herself in the position of an 'au pair' to teach at a palace owned by the person she falls into companionship with.  Gemma with High Sinclair just like Jane Eyre with Mr. Edward Rochester.

But this isn't just contrast and comparison between Jane Eyre and The Flight of Gemma Hardy.  Gemma's quest in the novel is the most important aspect of the book.  And let me tell you, I can definitely relate to Gemma just as many will also, just as we all related or can relate to Jane Eyre, both of these characters will truly touch the reader.

Gemma understands that no one, if one person, can truly understand and know who she is.  So she sets out to discover at least one person who might.  And she succeeds, just like Jane Eyre - here I go again :).  At which point, Gemma finds she has to leave that life behind, abandon it and everything warm and meaningful that is in it, to act independently.  Another similarity to Jane Eyre.

 Ok, so maybe this turning out to be a big compare and contrast to Jane Eyre.  Regardless, if you haven't read Jane Eyre, you'll understand better what the book Jane Eyre is about by proxy of Gemma Hardy. Jane Eyre will allow you to understand what an 'indomitable spirit' means and the landascape of Iceland will give you a little bit of insight on how the surrounding around us can be just what we need for our chance to change.

If you have read both of those novels, then this the time to pick  up The Flight of Gemma Hardy and she how Livesey has created a modern version hybrid of the two.

This book has been part of TLC Book Tours.

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