This is late review, sorry!
book info: ages 15 and up
grades: 9 and up
on sale: NOW
copy: HarperCollins (thank you)
title: The Flight of Gemma Hardy
author: Margot Livesey
"Acclaimed, award-winning author Margot Livesey delivers her breakout novel: a captivating tale, set in Scotland in the early 1960s, that is both an homage and a modern variation on the enduring classic, Jane Eyre
Fate has not been kind to Gemma Hardy. Orphaned by the age of ten, neglected by a bitter and cruel aunt, sent to a boarding school where she is both servant and student, young Gemma seems destined for a life of hardship and loneliness. Yet her bright spirit burns strong. Fiercely intelligent, singularly determined, Gemma overcomes each challenge and setback, growing stronger and more certain of her path. Now an independent young woman with dreams of the future, she accepts a position as an au pair on the remote and beautiful Orkney Islands.
But Gemma's biggest trial is about to begin . . . a journey of passion and betrayal, secrets and lies, redemption and discovery that will lead her to a life she's never dreamed."
This is the type of book that's written in that beautifully musical, almost forgotten style of writing that's emotionally detached yet unforgettable and...impacted me with a harsh, calm lapping of cold water all over. The cover reflects the book so well on so many different levels. This is what I call a great cover, not other covers (ugh)
Gemma is the type of main character that a reader can admire, not by the obvious, but with the subtle things she does. The narrator states what Gemma does, and it's harsh and one would expect some complaining or anger, but Gemma takes it without mentioning a bit how unfair it may be. Yet she's not a hollow character.
She's strong and honest and doesn't talk too much, but says a lot with her actions. She's the type of girl that most girls today are not. Granted, this does take place in the 1960's.
Many people believe that side characters need to be appreciated more, with a lot more detail and dialouge to make them whole. But Livesey doesn't elaborate on them much, rather allows the reader to infer from the details that the narrator provides.
Usually a romantic interest is a big deal, but her older male love interest shows up a select few times, sparsely, and though not very important to the reader, is quite important to Gemma. I did like the subtleness of this guy, but I do wish that he would've been more prevalent in the story, and I do wish to have learned of him more.
plot: There's not much action or thrill to this novel. It's very life-like and calm, once again I make a reference to water. There are some little adventures that life is made of, maybe more drastic in Gemma's case.
style: As mentioned before, the style is beautiful and reminds me of how some old books used to be, the ones that I enjoyed very much, like The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (if you read often, you'll know I greatly enjoy The Alchemist, one of my favourite books of all time)
overall: If you're looking for something different, I'd try this. I do recommend it, this mellow book.