Friday, February 17, 2012

What is Margot Livesey reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy.

Her entry begins:
I just read Stewart On'Nan's Emily, Alone which I found entirely absorbing. Here is a novel in which almost nothing happens - a phone call from her daughter is a major event for Emily - and yet I could scarcely bear to put it down. O'Nan does an amazing job of depicting Emily's life as an elderly widow living alone with her dog, listening to classical music and enjoying modest outings with her sister-in-law. Reading these pages, I felt I began to understand what it was like to have ardent thoughts and feeling but mostly be...[read on]
About The Flight of Gemma Hardy, from the publisher:
When her widower father drowns at sea, Gemma Hardy is taken from her native Iceland to Scotland to live with her kind uncle and his family. But the death of her doting guardian leaves Gemma under the care of her resentful aunt, and it soon becomes clear that she is nothing more than an unwelcome guest at Yew House. When she receives a scholarship to a private school, ten-year-old Gemma believes she’s found the perfect solution and eagerly sets out again to a new home. However, at Claypoole she finds herself treated as an unpaid servant.

To Gemma’s delight, the school goes bankrupt, and she takes a job as an au pair on the Orkney Islands. The remote Blackbird Hall belongs to Mr. 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. Rich (by Gemma’s standards), single, flying in from London when he pleases, Hugh Sinclair fills the house with life. 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, redemption and discovery, that will lead her to a life of which she’s never dreamed.

Set in Scotland and Iceland in the 1950s and ’60s, The Flight of Gemma Hardy—a captivating homage to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre—is a sweeping saga that resurrects the timeless themes of the original but is destined to become a classic all its own.
Learn more about the book and author at Margot Livesey's website and Facebook page.

Writers Read: Margot Livesey (September 2009).

The Page 69 Test: The Flight of Gemma Hardy.

Writers Read: Margot Livesey.

--Marshal Zeringue