Synopses & Reviews
The resonant story of a young womans struggle to take charge of her own future, The Flight of Gemma Hardy
is a modern take on a classic story—Charlotte Brontës Jane Eyre
—that will fascinate readers of the Gothic original and fans of modern literary fiction alike, with its lyrical prose, robust characters, and abundant compassion. Set in early 1960s Scotland, this breakout novel from award-winning author Margot Livesey is a tale of determination and spirit that, like The Three Weissmanns of Westport
and A Thousand Acres
, spins an unforgettable new story from threads of our shared, still-living literary past.
“Gemma is real—its as simple as that. And through her eyes we see step by step what it means . . . to take possession of ones own life.” —David Wroblewski, author of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
Taken from her native Iceland to Scotland in the early 1950s when her widower father drowns at sea, young Gemma Hardy comes to live with her kindly uncle and his family. But his death leaves Gemma under the care of her resentful aunt, and she suddenly finds herself an unwelcome guest. Surviving oppressive years at a strict private school, Gemma ultimately finds a job as an au pair to the eight-year-old niece of Mr. Sinclair on the Orkney Islands—and here, at the mysterious and remote Blackbird Hall, Gemma's greatest trial begins.
“There was, on the Hudson, a way of life such as this, and there was a house not unlike Dragonwyck.”
In the spring of 1844 the Wells family receives a letter from a distant relative, the wealthy landowner Nicholas Van Ryn. He invites one of their daughters for an extended visit to his Hudson Valley estate, Dragonwyck. Eighteen-year-old Miranda, bored with the local suitors and her commonplace life on the farm, leaps at the chance for escape. She immediately falls under the spell of Nicholas and his mansion, mesmerized by its Gothic towers, flowering gardens, and luxurious lifestyle—unaware of the dark, terrible secrets that await.
Anya Seton masterfully tells the heart-stopping story of a remarkable woman, her extraordinary passions, and the mystery that resides in the magnificent hallways of Dragonwyck.
About the Author
Margot Livesey is the acclaimed author of the novels The House on Fortune Street, Banishing Verona, Eva Moves the Furniture, The Missing World, Criminals, and Homework. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Vogue, and The Atlantic, and she is the recipient of grants from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. The House on Fortune Street won the 2009 L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award. Livesey was born in Scotland and grew up on the edge of the Highlands. She lives in the Boston area and is a Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at Emerson College.