The Flight of Gemma Hardy

The Flight of Gemma Hardy

by Margot Livesey

Arlene Almas (04/16/12): Born in Iceland and raised in Scotland, Gemma Hardy is indeed as bright as a gem and incredibly hardy, as she must be to survive her early life in the household of her emotionally abusive aunt and cousins (after her parents and her beloved uncle have died) and at the harsh boarding school where she is sent on a "scholarship." There, as one of the "working girls," she must spend all her time when not in the classroom cleaning and helping the cook. Nevertheless, she perseveres and excels in her schoolwork. Eventually the school closes due to bankruptcy, but Gemma is now at an age where she can seek employment, and becomes an au pair in the home of a wealthy playboy; her infatuation with him does not end well, and results in her starting a new life and establishing new relationships in a village not far from where her spiteful aunt still lives. Her amazing ability to overcome all the obstacles in her life make Gemma a heroine you want to root for throughout the book. The magnitude of her hardships and the strength of her determination may be just a little over the top, but they still make for an engaging story.
Rating: ***

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