The Flight of Gemma Hardy is the story of a resilient young girl who is orphaned, has the good luck to be taken in by her uncle, and the misfortune to then be turned out of his home upon his death. At nine, she learns for the second time what loss is, only this time it’s coupled with the realization that even family can be cruel.Looking forward to leaving Yew House to attend school, Gemma is further disheartened to find that Claypoole isn’t much better at all – and she’s lucky if she actually gets to learn anything in between all the chores she has to do. When Claypoole goes bankrupt, she’s again faced with uncertainty – and you start to wonder if she’ll ever find a place to belong.Her next stop brings challenges as well as joy, and possibly love. Not quite sure if she’s ready for the latter – especially in light of Sinclair’s secret, Gemma runs away. And finds herself depending on the kindness of strangers. Once recovered, Gemma decides to find her roots, if she has any left. And so she travels to Iceland – on “borrowed” funds.I really enjoyed reading Gemma’s story – even though I was annoyed at some of her decisions. Then again, I usually forget how young she is. When I remember, I’m somewhat in awe of her strength and determination to rise above where she’s been placed – especially the younger Gemma who’s innocent and idealistic until she has those qualities stripped away pretty quickly by the realities of her life. The young woman she grows up into seems grasping and selfish, which is a big departure from the young girl we first meet. Not too surprising I guess, but still. I expected better of her.I didn’t feel the falling-in-love part and I didn’t get all the fuss over the “big secret” that causes Gemma to run away, but if she hadn’t then the rest of her adventure wouldn’t have taken place. All in all though, The Flight of Gemma Hardy is an engrossing read that will have your emotions all over the place. You’ll like the story even if you don’t like Gemma all the way through.drey’s rating: Excellent!