The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

Tag Archives: The Flight of Gemma Hardy

Copycat

On American Idol contestants are always advised not to take on a famous song by a big artist. The same should be true regarding writing a novel.  Margot Livesey took on Charlotte Bronte with the writing of The Flight of Gemma Hardy (C).  This novel is so like Jane Eyre it’s almost plagiaristic. I have no problem with an author modeling their style after someone famous, but I do not think it acceptable to create a story identical in the telling.

Gemma Hardy/Jane Eyre is an orphan that is being raised by her Uncle.  After his death, she is no longer treated well.  In fact she is treated as nothing more than a servant.  Soon enough, just like Jane,  Gemma becomes a nanny for a child being raised by a very wealthy man and of course falls in love with him.  Though Gemma’s story is told in 1950 rather than 1850 the plot and characters are duplicates of those in Bronte’s novel.

Beside the blinding likenesses in the story, Margot Livesey writes well.  Surely anyone unfamiliar with Jane Eyre will enjoy this novel.  Jane Eyre is a favorite today 100 years after it was first written because it is an emotional story about a passionate young woman who defies all the odds. It is a story that stands the test of time and readers love to champion the underdog.

With this being said, I think that Livesey’s book will sell well and be read by many.  My hope is that it will encourage anyone who hasn’t read Jane Eyre to read it now.  Livesey cannot and should not compete with the original; for me it is untouchable.