When her widower father drowns at sea, ten-year-old Gemma Hardy, an only child, is taken from her native Iceland to Scotland, to live with her uncle’s family. But the death of her doting guardian soon after leaves Gemma under the resentful eye of her aunt, and Gemma, her aunt quickly makes clear, is an unwelcome guest.
When she receives a scholarship to a private school, Gemma eagerly sets out to a new home; but at Claypoole she finds herself treated as an unpaid servant.
In 1966, to Gemma’s delight, the school finally goes bankrupt and she takes a job as an au pair on the Orkney Islands. The remote Blackbird Hall belongs to Mr Hugh Sinclair, a London businessman; his eight-year-old niece is Gemma’s charge. Rich (by Gemma’s standards), single and flying in from London when he pleases, Hugh Sinclair fills the house with life. T
he unlikely pair are drawn to one another, but their courtship is cut short by Gemma’s discovery of a secret that has shadowed her employer’s life; soon after, she resolves to flee to mainland Scotland and vows to forget Mr Sinclair. But as she rebuilds her life she wonders with increasing intensity whether she may still have a family in Iceland. As for her vow, that proves harder to keep than she imagines.
Set in Scotland and Iceland in the 1950s and 60s, THE FLIGHT OF GEMMA HARDY is a captivating homage to Charlotte Brontë’s JANE EYRE - a sweeping saga that resurrects the timeless themes of the original but is destined to become a classic all of its own.