Monday, November 26, 2012

For the Jane Eyre Fans

(4 stars) - well, maybe 3 1/2...

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey

I read a book this weekend that a friend recommended to me and I thought I'd share it because I just couldn't put it down.  This novel is a modernization of Jane Eyre (by modernization, I mean set in the 1950's-60's.)  I thought it was very well written (for the most part- more on that in a minute), it was very compelling and fun to wonder how she is going to fit the parts of the Jane Eyre plot into this version and how they will be changed.  I'm not going to spill the whole book and how she did it, but I will tell you a few things.  This Jane (Gemma) was born in Iceland and is brought to Scotland by her uncle when her parents die.  So most of the book takes place in Scotland instead of England and "Mr Rochester" lives in the Orkney Islands.

Now I'm going to explain my "for the most part" in hopes that if you know going in what I do now, you may be less disappointed.  1. there is no Bertha equivalent......... I KNOW!!!  I waited and waited for something crazy in the attic and there is nothing, she chose to leave that out entirely, so don't wait for it. How could she have left that out?  I have no idea.  2. (perhaps this is just my own opinion) but I thought the romance between the leads fell pretty flat.  We can discuss this further if you read it, and I don't want to go into more detail, but they didn't quite sell it to me.  Perhaps I just find Jane and Edward's relationship so adorable it's hard to live up to. 

Those grievances aside, I really enjoyed reading this book.  I really liked Gemma's childhood and school time.  I also loved what the author did after Gemma left the Orkney Islands.  I liked the tale modernized.  It all was very compelling and like I said- hard to put down.  An enjoyable little read I'm sure I will go back to.


Amy said...

I will definitely check this out. That is surprising that there is no crazy wife in the attic. She must not have wanted that complication, but it's such a big part of the story! I kind of like the idea of "Mr. Rochester" not being blind or otherwise physically maimed. Thanks for the recommendation, Em.

Emily said...

I take solace in Rochester's being maimed with the fact that (in the book) his eyesight comes back at least well enough to see his daughter when she is born. I don't like the idea of him being totally blind, but that element of the story adds something I kind of love.

Haley said...

Cool, I will definitely read this! Lame about the crazy attic lady.

Haley said...

Cool, I will definitely read this! Lame about the crazy attic lady.