A captivating tale, set in Scotland in the early 1960s, that is both an homage to and a modern variation on the enduring classic Jane Eyre.
“I made my heroine a little older than myself because I wanted her to come of age just slightly before the rising tide of feminism—the pill, equal pay, discrimination—broke over both Britain and the States. The Flight of Gemma Hardy is, in my mind, neither my autobiography nor a retelling of Jane Eyre. Rather I am writing back to Charlotte Brontë, recasting Jane’s journey to fit my own courageous heroine and the possibilities of her time and place. And like Brontë I am, of course, stealing from my own life.” Margot Livesey
Fate has not been kind to Gemma Hardy. She is orphaned by the age of ten, neglected by a bitter and cruel aunt, sent to a boarding school where she is both servant and student, young Gemma seems destined for a life of hardship and loneliness. Yet her bright spirit burns strong. Fiercely intelligent, singularly determined, Gemma overcomes each challenge and setback. Growing stronger and more certain of her path. Now an independent young woman, with dreams of the future. She accepts a position as an au pair on the remote and beautiful Orkney Islands.
But Gemma’s biggest trial is about to begin. A journey of passion and betrayal, secrets and lies, redemption and discovery, that leads her to a life she’s never dreamed of.
Margot Livesey grew up in a boys’ private school in the Scottish Highlands where her father taught, and her mother, Eva, was the school nurse. After taking a B.A. in English and philosophy at the University of York in England she spent most of her twenties working in shops and restaurants and learning to write. Margot has published six novels.
Margot has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the N.E.A., the Massachusetts Artists’ Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts. Margot is currently a distinguished writer in residence at Emerson College. She has taught at Boston University, Bowdoin College, Brandeis University, Carnegie Mellon, Cleveland State, Emerson College, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Tufts University, the University of California at Irvine, the Warren Wilson College MFA program for writers, and Williams College. She lives with her husband, a painter, in Cambridge, MA, and goes back to London and Scotland whenever she can.