The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the tale of the indomitable Gemma Hardy, a twice-orphaned girl whose inner fortitude carries her through a life populated with many cruel characters and a few very kind ones. As a young ten-year-old girl, she believes her life at her aunt's house can't get any worse until the aunt ships her off to a boarding school where she serves as a working girl and is regarded by the school staff as a barely tolerable servant, unworthy to attend their classes. From there, Gemma perseveres and slowly claws her way from one calamity to another, eventually learning of her own history and realizing she is a valuable person in her own right.
It's a very enjoyable read, and I'd love to enjoy the settings of this story someday: Edinburgh, The Orkneys, Rejkavik. The author brought the settings to life for me, and I'd love to wander the paths and gardens described in the book. The author also used birds as an underlying theme (even including the word 'flight' in the title) which gracefully tied the story together with elegant continuity.
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