Immediately impressed with the strong writing, I enjoyed following Gemma in “The Flight of Gemma Hardy.” Simply put, the writing and plot were amazing. The book is touted as a “homage” to Charlotte Bronte’s, Jane Eyre, which I’ve always wanted to read but never have. Any reader who is drawn to the plight of Jane Eyre would equally enjoy Gemma Hardy’s story, which was written in a much more manageable style. Set in Scotland in the 1950’s, Gemma was the unfortunate victim of an antiquated social system intent on keeping her at the bottom of society. But her spirit simply will not settle for complacency.
Orphaned at a young age, Gemma was left to the care of her aunt and uncle. But when her uncle died, her life took on a Cinderella type quality due to her aunt’s jealousy. Ultimately banished to an all girls academy, Gemma was forced to work every day with the school’s staff to cook and clean for the other students, which barely left her enough time to attend class. When the school shut down, she settled into life as an au pair, caring for the niece of a wealthy man she ultimately fell in love with. Gemma’s kindness and inner resolve made her an attractive character to follow. I particularly enjoyed the first two parts of the book which focused on Gemma’s life as a child. Her candor and intellect was amusing and inspirational. Despite the despair that surrounds her, Gemma’s perceptions are humorous and light. Dark at times, the author whisked the reader on a fascinating journey to tell the story of this determined orphan.
The ending was a little sudden, but overall the story was really enjoyable. This was a solid book, that I think many would enjoy.