The most popular and beloved American historical novel ever written, Gone With the Wind is unparalleled in its portrayal of men and women at once larger than life but as real as ourselves. Now Alexandra Ripley brings us back to Tara and reintroduces us to the characters we remember so well: Rhett, Ashley, Mammy, Suellen, Aunt Pittypat, and, of course, Scarlett.
As the classic story, first told over half a century ago, moves forward, the greatest love affair in all fiction is reignited; amidst heartbreak and joy, the endless, consuming passion between Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler reaches its startling culmination. Rich with surprises at every turn and new emotional, breathtaking adventures, Scarlett satisfies our longing to reenter the world of Gone With the Wind. Like its predecessor, Scarlett will find an eternal place in our hearts.
The story picks up where Gone With the Wind left off, after Melly’s death, and we are reintroduced to Scarlett at her sister-in-law’s funeral. After accidentally making a spectacle of herself, Scarlett is blackballed in Atlanta. Given that, plus Rhett’s departure from her, Scarlett decides to go back home to Tara for comfort. However, she’s only lead to more heartbreak there when she finds out her beloved Mammy is sick.
Scarlett soon begins a series of adventures for herself. First, going to stay with her mother-in-law, Mrs. Butler, in part of trying to win Rhett back. She begins to immerse herself in Charleston culture, which is very different than what she’s used to. After several failed attempts to win Rhett back – even after the two survived their boating disaster and later were intimate on the beach – Scarlett decides to leave with her aunts to visit her grandfather in Savannah. There she runs into her O’Hara family, and is soon off to Ireland for a vacation that turns into more than that.
While I mostly enjoyed this book due to wanting to see if Scarlett would win Rhett back or not, I wasn’t as into this book as I wanted to be. Of course, I loved most scenes with Rhett in them, and I wish there had been more of him in the book. I still hated Scarlett throughout the book, as she was pretty much the same as in the original book. I did like her getting to know her father’s family though, and how they contrasted to her mother’s side. It definitely made me appreciate the Irish people and my own Irish heritage.
As this book was by a different author and written in an entirely different time period, the language and flow of the book was different than Gone With the Wind. Not in a bad way, it’s just noticeably different. However, Ripley’s portrayal of the characters created by Margaret Mitchell was spot on! There is no difference in the characters and their mannerisms or attitudes. There might be a tiny bit of character growth in some of them, but that’s bound to happen in most books.
Overall, it’s a good sequel done by an entirely different author to continue the lives of these characters. There were times I personally got bored, but I’m also not big on reading historical fiction, so that might just be me. I would recommend it to anyone that wants to read more of Scarlett and Rhett, though be warned, it’s nearly as long as the original!
Rating: 3.5/5 stars