The Flight of Gemma Hardy: A Novel Audiobook | Margot Livesey | Audible.com
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The Flight of Gemma Hardy: A Novel | [Margot Livesey]

The Flight of Gemma Hardy: A Novel

Fate has not been kind to Gemma Hardy. Orphaned then neglected, young Gemma seemed 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, she accepts a position as an au pair on the remote and beautiful Orkney Islands. But Gemma’s biggest trial is about to begin....
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Publisher's Summary

Fate has not been kind to Gemma Hardy. Orphaned, then neglected, young Gemma seemed 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, she accepts a position as an au pair on the remote and beautiful Orkney Islands. Blackbird Hall belongs to Mr. Hugh 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. An unlikely couple, the two are drawn to each other, but Gemma’s biggest trial is about to begin… a journey of passion and betrayal, secrets and lies, redemption and discovery will lead her to a life she’s never dreamed of.

©2012 Margot Livesey (P)2012 AudioGO

What the Critics Say

“[An] original slant on a classic story…. Within the classic framework, Livesey molds a thoroughly modern character who learns to expect the best of herself and to forgive the missteps of others. The author has a gift for creating atmosphere.” (Library Journal)

“The talented Livesey updates Jane Eyre…taking care to home in on the elements of this classic story that so resonate with readers…. Despite readers’ familiarity with the story line, they will be held rapt…. A sure bet for both book clubs and Bronte fans.” (Booklist)

“[A] brilliantly paced contemporary adventure…” (Elle)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (103 )
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4.1 (93 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Cecilia Maryland 02-09-12
    Cecilia Maryland 02-09-12 Member Since 2007

    Twinmom

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "f you loved Jane Eyre, you will like this novel."

    This story's plot and story line are not very original. Listeners will fairly quickly recognize that the author is recreating the story of Jane Eyre in 1950's and 1960's Scotland. That being said, I loved Jane Eyre and enjoyed this modern re-telling of the story with all the twists and turns that Gemma has to navigate. However, I was disappointed in the end as it was somewhat abrupt. Another chapter to fill out how life turned out for Gemma would have been more satisfying. Davina Porter's reading was, as usual, well done and pleasant to listen to with all of the different accents done quite nicely.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Becky Modesto, CA, United States 06-29-12
    Becky Modesto, CA, United States 06-29-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Dwindles down into a pile of boredom"

    This book started off well, but it had a pretty solid idea to build off of. Jane Eyre is a masterpiece for a reason, but Gemma Hardy is just... guh.

    The first problem is the timeline. We're told that it takes place after WWII but I kept forgetting this, and really, I feel like the author did too. When something like a car or record player was mentioned, it was startling--"Oh yeah, this is in the 50s... or was it 60s?"

    For a book supposedly about that time period, there were some strange elements. For example, the main character is ready to sleep with someone... but doesn't seem to have any conscious thought of consequences (I found myself wondering, Does she know what sex actually is?). We're told she was raised by a pastor; I would assume that pre-marital sex would have been a problem. Oh, of course, she doesn't really believe in God... convenient.

    Then there are the characters, and their development. Gemma starts off strong, but becomes a sniveling baby that can't really do anything without help. Her romantic interest is pretty boring, and there's nothing memorable about him. It's rare to run into this kind of non-developed character, but it happens in this book. He has no personality or anything else; his main function is just to help move the plot along.

    The girl that Gemma goes to teach, Nell, displays random acts of disturbing violence, but no one seems to really think about the implications of this, and (of course) at the end she somehow turns into a caring, lovely girl with good behavior. I just don't get it.

    The St. John character is a complete disgrace and makes no sense.

    Now, the crux of the book would be the relationship between Jane and Edward--but these two just don't work. Gemma runs away for a reason I can't fathom at all; after that, the book just fell flat, and I realized I didn't care. Everyone could die in the end, and I wouldn't care. To be blunt, these characters all suck. If you want a Jane Eyre story, read the original, and skip this pile of bunk.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Regan Seattle, WA, United States 04-10-12
    Regan Seattle, WA, United States 04-10-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Well done update of Jane Eyre"

    Jane Eyre is one of my favorite novels of all time, so when this re-telling was recommended to me I jumped at it with both anticipation and trepidation. Could anything else be as good? Nearly.

    The writing is quite good, but the plot seems forced at times. No question that it's hard to get a more contemporary character to follow the same path as a character from the 19th century, especially when the options open to a woman were so dramatically different with a century's advance. Within those limitations author Margo Livesey does a very good job.

    However, I was unhappy with the cause of Gemma's parting from Sinclair (her Rochester). I won't spoil it, because I know I read to this point with lots of excited anticipation wondering what Livesey would come up with to replace Rochester's bigamy. Let's just say it falls flat: It wasn't really an impediment to their marriage or their love, and it certainly wasn't something so horrible as so send her fleeing from a man who attempted to tarnish her character beyond redemption. So it makes Gemma seem silly and childish.

    Then later, Livesey has Gemma do something else which is immature and petty -- quite out of character to what we've seen to this point. A little re-write could have moved the plot in the same direction without this out-of-synch moment.

    Still, given the constraints it's not impossible to look past these minor failings for what's overall quite well done. I'll be looking for other work by Livesey.

    Davina Porter narrates quite well, with well done voices for all the main characters. There's an odd, breath-y, falsetto child's voice at one point that doesn't work, but the rest is quite outstanding. Porter has a well-deserved reputation as one of the industry's best!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jen Nokesville, VA, United States 05-27-12
    Jen Nokesville, VA, United States 05-27-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Enjoyable Enough"

    I read a review of this book that was glowing with praise. I found that the audio book was narrated by my favorite, Davina Porter. Those two reasons were why I ultimately bought and listened to it.

    Generally, I enjoyed The Flight of Gemma Hardy. I found Gemma to be a strong character, interesting in her solitude and hardship. I like that we are given the full picture of her childhood years - her time with her aunt and uncle, her time at the Claypool school. And then what follows. While it is supposed to be a redo of Jane Eyre (and I confess that I have not read that novel, although I have seen the movie), I think the later chapters do not follow it as closely. But that's OK.

    I do take issue with a couple of specific things that I won't mention because they are spoilerish. And I found the ending to be rather anti-climactic and somewhat abrupt. But I do like the book enough to recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom Sun Prairie, WI, United States 02-24-14
    Tom Sun Prairie, WI, United States 02-24-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Too Similar to Jane Eyre"
    Any additional comments?

    I knew that this book was supposed to be good for reader's who enjoyed Jane Eyre. I knew that the main idea behind the plot would be the same. But I guess that I didn't realize how similar it would be. I felt like I was just listening to Jane Eyre...except it was not nearly as good. May as well just stick to Jane Eyre.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt United States 09-20-13
    Matt United States 09-20-13 Member Since 2013

    Say something about yourself!

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    "It wants to be Jane Eyre but fails."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Hmm i'm really on the fence. I love Jane Eyre, the story this is loosely based on, and it really missed the mark. I've read several other Jane Eyre spinoffs and this isn't my favorite.


    What could Margot Livesey have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    No spoilers but one of the big plot points in the original Jane Eyre is an 'insuperable barrier" that separates the couple. I was waiting all book to see what it would be. The big secret. And when i finally got there, it was a huge disappointed. I thought "really, she is leaving him over this?!!" It felt forced. Like the author was trying to be inventive but then just made up an issue that she hoped would be believable. And it wasn't. It was a poor man's Jane Eyre and I'd rather just read the original again.


    Which character – as performed by Davina Porter – was your favorite?

    Young Gemma


    Do you think The Flight of Gemma Hardy needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No, it was enough.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicole United States 02-04-13
    Nicole United States 02-04-13
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    "Loved the first half, second half was Meh."
    What did you like best about The Flight of Gemma Hardy? What did you like least?

    The first half of the novel which detailed Gemma's troubled childhood was very interesting. The second half which had to do with her "adult" life was filled with irrational and unexplainable character decisions and lackluster plot points.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Margot Livesey? Why or why not?

    Yes.


    Was The Flight of Gemma Hardy worth the listening time?

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    The only thing I found a bit jarring at first was that the narrator's voice sounded too old to be a 10 year old girl, and there was no attempt to make the voice sound younger. I kept picturing Angela Lansbury speaking instead of an adolescent girl. However as Gemma got older, the difference in age between the voice and character became less bothersome. But overall it was a good performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah CONCORD, NH, United States 01-01-13
    Deborah CONCORD, NH, United States 01-01-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Jane Eyre fan fiction lacks creativity"

    I was hoping for a fun re-working of the Jane Eyre story but found a dull tale that hews too closely to the original story yet lacks the sensational gothic plot twist that justifies Jane's (Gemma's) decision to leave the love of her life. Read Jane Eyre and skip this wanna-be.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Saint Paul Park, MN, United States 08-20-12
    Elizabeth Saint Paul Park, MN, United States 08-20-12 Member Since 2006
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    "Good Summer (now Fall) Read"
    Where does The Flight of Gemma Hardy rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

    It is a different genre from what I normally read, but I certainly enjoyed it.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Of course, Gemma, with her doggedness to just go on.


    Have you listened to any of Davina Porter???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, Davina Porter is a favorite narrator. I read the book first and enjoyed the story enough that I wanted to hear Davina Porter read it. She is excellent.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    ?


    Any additional comments?

    No.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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