Are retold tales a new fad or the latest incarnation of a rich tradition?
Margot Livesey’s latest novel, The Flight of Gemma Hardy, tells the story of a young girl who goes to live with her aunt, uncle and cousins after the death of her parents. The uncle treats his niece like a daughter, but after his accidental death she is shunned by her remaining relatives. Eventually, she enrolls in a strict boarding school, and later, lands a job at a remote estate tutoring a young girl. She falls for the young girl’s brooding guardian, only to have a deep, dark secret threaten their relationship.
The Flight of Gemma Hardy is a retelling of Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre. This is not a secret, but a selling point. Two of the blurbs that grace the back of an advance copy of the book mention Brontë’s classic, and Livesey isn’t shy about acknowledging her debt. ILLUSTRATIONS BY STEVE MURRAY