Wednesday, June 06, 2012
First Wednesday Book Review Club: The Flight of Gemma Hardy, Margot Livesey
THE FLIGHT OF GEMMA HARDY, Margot Livesey,
I was very resistant to this book. On the face of it, it's Jane Eyre updated to the 1950s and set in Iceland and Scotland instead of England, but somehow seeming much the same. Does life never change in the U.K?
I stuck with it because the writing was so good. I have been a fan of Livesay since EVA MOVES THE FURNITURE. But for a long time, I kept asking myself why write a novel so similar to such a famous one. Mistreated orphans, death at a young age for a companion, finding satisfaction as a job well done--being a governess, a romantic employer, flight, closure.
And I can't tell you why this story eventually won me over. Again, the writing is superb and the blueprint from Charlotte Bronte is a winner. On the jacket, it claims to be an homage. But homages need to take flight on their own.
At some point, this book did and the pages turned faster and faster as I read into the night.
SO HERE'S A QUESTION TO YOU: WHEN DOES AN HOMAGE OVERSTEP ITS BOUNDARIES OR ARE THERE NONE IF IT WORKS?
For more reviews, check with Barrie Summy.