Oh, Scarlett, Scarlett, what have you become!

This is the one, ladies and gentlemen. The one all of us ‘Gone With the Wind’ fans had been waiting for. The sequel to that great American novel; the one that would finally do what Gone With the Wind didn’t. And yet, the first time I read this book I wanted to throw it out of the window and curse whoever first thought of the concept of ghost writers till I was blue in the face.

It took a second reading and looking at the book as a story in its own right before I could look at Alexandra Ripley’s Scarlett with any complacency.  So, word of advice, if you’re reading this book as a sequel to Gone With the Wind, be prepared to be disappointed. If you’re reading it simply out of curiosity of what could have been; a creation of fan fiction, let’s just say, then you’re probably in safe waters.

And Rhett … well, I hope you remember Rhett Butler as he used to be because the one you’ll see in this book is a mere caricature of the larger than life devil-may-care hero we knew; the merest whisper of that memory. Given that, fortunately, we don’t see to much of him in this one, aside from sporadic appearances centred around Scarlett.

The books shows us a much-changed Scarlett, but somehow not one who stands true to the Civil War trailblazer we knew.

And Scarlett … oh, Scarlett … that wilfull, vain, trailblazer we knew … has now turned into a farm land tilling woman who’s all about family and is shocked when she hears of what goes on in the boudoirs of upper-class Charleston; who’s yet not above pandering to the whims of the British Lords and Ladies she seeks to impress in her home country of Ireland. There are only two things that ring true … her love for her beloved Cat and her desire for Rhett. If you’re all for a woman making her mark and showing the man who left her that she didn’t give a damn … well, it comes close enough. If you were, however, looking for a completion to the Gone With the Wind circle … well…

Read it if you must, people, but don’t say you weren’t warned.

I’d give the book a 2.5.

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