The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey

I’ve never read Jane Eyre. There, I said it. I’ve never read it and I was worried that might have an effect on how much I enjoyed this book. Would I be able to love it, even if I’ve never read the novel it’s a retelling of? Would I even be able to understand the impact of the original on this book? If the story has already been told before, would it even be a good book?

The answers to those questions are yes, yes, and yes.

I loved this book and it actually has me wanting to read Jane Eyre. I fell in love with Gemma and her determination to not be a victim of her past. There were so many parts of the story when it would have been completely acceptable for Gemma to take a look at her circumstances and life and decide to just give up hoping for better things. But she fought forward instead and took ownership of her life and made things happen for herself instead of sitting idly by and hoping something came along.

I loved how Gemma was developed as a person before introducing the romantic element of the story. Yes, she’s still young, but she knows more of herself than a lot of girls her age. She’s had time to grow before falling in love and she doesn’t let that love change the major parts of who she is. When something doesn’t feel right to her, she makes the decision to maintain who she is and what she believes, even though it ends up hurting more than anything else in her life.

I was a little worried I’d be too bothered by the age difference in the love story, but I surprisingly wasn’t. It somehow felt right and made sense. In the life of Mr. Sinclair, he has had to face just as many difficulties as Gemma, and even though it took longer for him to find a companion that understood and saw him for him, it fit and was wonderful to read.

I adored this book and definitely think people should read it. I can’t make any comparisons between Jane Eyre and The Flight of Gemma Hardy, but as its own novel, The Flight of Gemma Hardy was superb and certainly one of the best books I’ve read.