I liked this quite a bit. Livesey veers far enough away from the details of Jane Eyre for this book to work as a somewhat original novel. While Gemma doesn't have the exact experiences as Jane, their lives are complimentary to one another and the differences make this novel stand out. I think Gemma was quite naive at certain points and I would have rather the book focused on her life as an adult and with Mr. Sinclair, rather than her life as a child. We know it was bad. Let's get to the good part of her life. Unfortunately for Gemma, she doesn't seem to have any good parts. I often wonder how people in her position don't just give up. The thing is, there's that one act of kindness which lifts them up from their despair and shows them things are not always going to be bad. You just have to keep hope and faith that all is not lost.
The ending leaves a bit to be desired as it's abrupt and not very fulfilling. We don't find out what happened to the people in Gemma's life who essentially saved her from death. I felt that was an important point to us readers. I would love to know if she has forgiveness from those people who she ran out on and if her new life will include those people she recently discovered. All in all it's a good read, evening causing me to tear up during one poignant moment Gemma has near the end of the book. I loved the writing and descriptions. I could see clearly what Gemma saw and even envision the food and daily life she endured.