10-year-old Gemma Hardy has not had a great start in life. Both of her parents are dead and her Uncle, the only one left that shows her any kindness at all, is also now dead. Stuck with an Aunt that hates her and cousins who could care less about her, Gemma is pretty much alone in the world. Strong and determined though, Gemma is not one to be easily pushed around and is often in trouble for defending herself against her Aunt's verbal tirades.
Thinking she's escaping her cruel family, Gemma ends up at a boarding school with teachers that are just as cruel. As a scholarship student, she's not much more than a servant, with the occasional study session on the side. Still, Gemma's determination doesn't falter.
The book continues to follow Gemma as she grows into an intelligent young woman, fiercely set on becoming something in her life. She takes jobs, forms relationships with a variety of different people, some kind, some not-so-kind, finds love and continues to search for her rightful place in the world.
The beautiful writing is so nice to read and something I wanted to make sure to read slowly, taking in all the words. Though often filled with sadness, Gemma's story also has a lot of underlying humor, as no matter what horrible thing is brought her way, she manages to keep a fairly positive, upbeat attitude.
I loved the Scottish setting and the descriptions of the Orkney Islands...a place I don't think I've previously read about. I loved Gemma from page one and between the writing, the setting, and the great characterization, this is definitely a book I will be recommending to a lot of readers. I'll also be looking into more of Livesey's books.
The Flight of Gemma Hardy
Review copy provided by publisher