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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

When her widower father drowns at sea, Gemma Hardy is taken from her native Iceland to Scotland to live with her kind uncle and his family. But the death of her doting guardian leaves Gemma under the care of her resentful aunt, and it soon becomes clear that she is nothing more than an unwelcome guest at Yew House. When she receives a scholarship to a private school, ten-year-old Gemma believes she's found the perfect solution and eagerly sets out again to a new home. However, at Claypoole she finds herself treated as an unpaid servant. To Gemma's delight, the school goes bankrupt, and she takes a job as an au pair on the Orkney Islands. The remote Blackbird Hall belongs to Mr. Sinclair, a London businessman; his eight-year-old niece is Gemma's charge. Even before their first meeting, Gemma is, like everyone on the island, intrigued by Mr. Sinclair. Rich (by Gemma's standards), single, flying in from London when he pleases, Hugh Sinclair fills the house with life. An unlikely c…

The Flight of Gemma Hardy

by Margot Livesey

Overall Book Review:

The Flight of Gemma Hardy is a retelling of Charlotte Bronte’s beloved Jane Eyre. Livesey stays close to the classic, yet conjures up a majestic Scottish and Icelandic backdrop. Rich history, mixed with beautiful writing, make this novel hard to put down! Main character Gemma suffers many a hardship, but is strong and wise beyond her years. Her optimism in such dismal circumstances really touched me. Readers will enjoy Gemma’s search for a home and family.  

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language: 4 religious exclamations; 7 mild obscenities

Violence/Gore: 2 incidents of verbal threatenings. Violent scenes include a character being punched, hit and kicked by a family member, violently shaken by an adult and attacked by other schoolgirls. 

Sex/Nudity: Numerous incidences of kissing and hand-holding; 2 non-sexual depictions of nudity; several sexual references, including allusions to adultery and prostitution, a man trying to entice a girl into his car, a couple laying on the grass. A man touches a woman’s thigh against her will. There are 4 implied and/or reported accounts of sexual activity, as well as references and discussions about homosexuality. There is 1 incident of a man touching a woman underneath her shirt.  

Mature Subject Matter:

Seperation, homelessness, homosexuality, death of a family member, death of a friend.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Characters smoke and drink throughout the novel. 

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

My mother was the one who sparked my love of books. Long before school instruction, she sat me down and taught me to read. My childhood was filled with trips to the library and bookmobile to find great books. My first loves were The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Pippi Longstocking series by Astrid Lingren. Now as a mom and speech pathologist, I am constantly looking for good, clean books to use at home and in therapy. I enjoy reading many different genres, but my favorites are usually historical fiction. I married my best friend, the “boy next door”, and we have a beautiful little girl who we often find sprawled out on the floor, flipping through picture books. Together our family likes to swim, run and play tennis. Besides reading, I also love to bake, garden and travel.