TLC Tours Presents: The Flight of Gemma Hardy Review and Giveaway

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey

Release date: 2012 / 480 pages

Synopsis(from Amazon): Taken from her native Iceland to Scotland in the early 1950s when her widower father drowns at sea, young Gemma Hardy comes to live with her kindly uncle and his family. But his death leaves Gemma under the care of her resentful aunt, and she suddenly finds herself an unwelcome guest. Surviving oppressive years at a strict private school, Gemma ultimately finds a job as an au pair to the eight-year-old niece of Mr. Sinclair on the Orkney Islands—and here, at the mysterious and remote Blackbird Hall, Gemma’s greatest trial begins…

Review:   When I heard a “revisioning” of Jane Eyre was out, I was trepidacious.  I first read Bronte’s classic for pleasure as an adolescent, then on assignment (multiple times) as an undergraduate and for my Master’s program, and eventually taught it to Advanced Placement Literature students.  I can safely state that I am more familiar with Jane Eyre than with any other novel — and I somehow loved it a little bit more each time I read or taught it.  So, I was afraid any reinterpretation would be woefully deficient and I would be forced to charge any contemporary author who attempted this with hubris.

However, I loved Gemma Hardy!  This novel is not only a testament to Bronte’s original genius — exemplifying that her original narrative transcends time, culture, country and taste — but Livesey has also created a wonderfully original heroine in Gemma who is able to stand on her own two plucky feet.  Livesey was wise to choose the time period of the 1950’s and add Iceland to the heroine’s search for identity — these two changes are different enough to allow the reader to enjoy the story for its own merits and not merely compare the two tales.

But there are enough parallels to allow happy reminiscing of Jane Eyre, too — and Livesey keeps the qualities we love about Jane alive in Gemma — her intelligence and spirit.  So I happily, surprisingly, wholeheartedly recommend this novel.  It would be a joy for a book club to discuss in tandem with Jane Eyre, but would stand alone as a great read on its own merits, too.

Interested in winning a free copy?  Leave me a comment below and I’ll choose a winner soon!

Here are the other stops on the tour, too:

Tuesday, June 26th: The Lost Entwife

Wednesday, June 27th: Peeking Between the Pages

Thursday, June 28th: The Feminist Texican [Reads]

Friday, June 29th: Book Reviews, Fiction Reflections, ‘ More!

Monday, July 2nd: Twisting the Lens

Tuesday, July 3rd: Walking With Nora

Wednesday, July 4th: Bibliosue

Thursday, July 5th: Bibliophiliac

Monday, July 9th: Life in the Thumb

Tuesday, July 10th: Book Club Classics!

Wednesday, July 11th: Laura’s Reviews

Thursday, July 12th: Broken Teepee

Tuesday, July 17th: The 3 R’s: Reading, ‘Riting, and Randomness

Wednesday, July 18th: My Bookshelf

Thursday, July 19th: Lit and Life

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20 Responses to TLC Tours Presents: The Flight of Gemma Hardy Review and Giveaway

  1. Laura Kay says:

    The last few reviews I’ve read for this one have been great, so I’m adding it to my TBR pile so winning one would be great!

    Thanks for the review!

  2. Diane says:

    Love the review. A book to read for sure. Thank you. Really would love to read this one.

  3. Ellen wenz says:

    Loved Jane Eyre! This book is also on my TBR list, which grows daily! I love how you decorated the website, thank you for this opportunity to win


  4. Debbie says:

    Would love to win a copy of this book! I loved “Jane Eyre” and would really like to read the “revision”.

  5. Wendy says:

    This is on my TBR pile as well! Great review-thank you!

  6. Anita Yancey says:

    I loved your review. Sounds like a book I’d be very interested in. I love that it is set in the 1950″s. Please enter me. Thanks!

  7. Claire says:

    Would really like to dive into this one! Jane Eyre one of my all time favorites. Would love to read a fresh new twist. Claire

  8. Carl says:

    It would be interesting to examine the similarities and differences between the two books. I also agree that the inclusion of Iceland as one of the locales and setting the book in the 1950s make it even more intriguing. Please enter my name for the chance to win this copy. Thanks.

  9. ellie says:

    A wonderful novel and great review. thanks for this giveaway.

  10. anne says:

    the setting and the era appeal to me greatly. Review was interesting.

  11. siane says:

    I enjoy this type of story and the locale sounds captivating.

  12. Lisa Garrett says:

    I have this one on my wishlist!!

  13. mamabunny13 says:

    This sounds like a wonderful book. Jane Eyre is one of my very favorites so I’m looking forward to reading The Flight of Gemma Hardy. Thanks for the giveaway!
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  14. Meg says:

    Have heard great things about this book and would love to win it!

  15. Steve vetter says:

    That looks like a good book.

  16. Wendy says:

    Would love to read this book, Please enter me in the Giveaway! Thank you!

  17. Peg Sperli says:

    Oh dear, Kristen, I am hoping to win this one (raised in the wonderful 50s) after I was enticed to enter after reading your review. (I do feel guilty tho because I won last time) Thank you, Peg

  18. nfmgirl says:

    I’m almost ashamed to admit that I don’t think I’ve ever read Jane Eyre. And yet I have had this book on my Wish List since I first learned of it.

  19. I am so excited to read this book after all the great things I’ve been seeing about it!

    Thanks for being on the tour. I’m featuring your review on TLC’s Facebook page today.

  20. Pingback: Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy, on tour June/July 2012 | TLC Book Tours

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