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on May 30, 1999
Although Ms. Ripley kept surprisingly well to Margaret Mitchell's style of writing, the plot was all her own. While the idea of Scarlett going to Ireland to "find her roots" was very interesting,I doubt Ms. Mitchell would have followed that path. As said, the story was interesting, though certain parts were very unbelievable, such as Scarlett leaving Tara, her children, Ashley, Beau, and everything else which her life revolved around. In addition, even though Margaret Mitchell had well established at the end of GWTW that Scarlett loved Rhett, I could never quite get used to the idea of her chasing him like a love-sick puppy, much the way she did Ashley. On that note, I found it odd that after all of her chasing she was suddenly prepared to give up so easily. It contradicted the rest of the book and more importantly, Scarlett. Scarlett wouldn't have done many of the things in this book. I won't give any revealing examples, but there were so many instances where I knew whe was too proud to do or say what she was doing, though I'll admit I liked it a little bit the fact that she slowly matured, though it is very out of character. I found that Scarlett's maturation worked well as an interesting subplot, and gave the book somewhat of a balance. As far as Rhett goes, I was disappointed. He was my favorite character in the original book, and for one, he appeared in too little of the book, in my opinion. Secondly, he lost much of his charm of which he was composed. He just didn't seem as clever nor as witty as he did in Mitchell's version. Being a romantic at heart, I will admit I enjoyed the ending. Though I will say that it was contrived very quickly and didn't make much sense, as I saw it. I also found it weird that for a book to be 884 pages, only 20 or so were devoted to the entire "grand finale." Would I recommend this book? It depends on what you like. Many critics have said don't read this if you are a "true" fan of GWTW. I disagree. I know at the end of the original, I felt very depressed, and I couldn't help imagining what possible continuances there may have been. While Margaret Mitchell may not have chose to write this, it was nice to see Rhett and Scarlett reunite, especially under such interesting circumstances. Ms. Mitchell never admitted what she thought the ending would be; she left it up to the imagination. And if this is where Ms. Ripley's imagination led to...then it isn't fair to compare the two books. It definitely doesn't compare, but I can at least give her this- it was a fun, interesting book.
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on December 21, 1998
The story isnt bad, if considered seperately, but as a sequel to am great book such as GWTW, it is terribly faulty. Margaret Mithchells characters are a way of expressing her loyalty tomold times and he book is written with such deep fellngs that it literally transports the reader into the past. the reader feels at one with the characters and can feel Scarletts pain and loss when Rhett climbs the stairs at the end of the story. The books beauty is in the unhappy, unfinished ending. It keeps the reader wondering how Scarlett will get Rhett back and forces him to think of a million possibilities "Scarlett" on the other hand is totally different. The book is good until just before Scarlett leaves Charleston, after that the characters have been greatly exagerated. Rhetts cynical comments in GWTW make the reader laugh. in Scarlett, he is nothing but a hard, biter perfectionist. Scarletts character is worse. Margaret Mitchell wrote about a beautiful, brave intelligent girl, while Ripley portrays a trashy buisinesswoman, whose life story might have been set in 1990 nstead of the 1870;s!!! Ripleys first mistake was uprooting Scarlett from Tara. Her comment "I dont even feel at home at Tara anymore" is totaly wrong, as Tara was Scarletts life, her source of strength, as Mitchell wrote "She could not desert Tara, she belonged to the red acres far more than they could ever belong to her. her roots went deep into the blood-coloured soil and sucked up life, as did the cotton" Ripley did try to portray her characters with justice, but she slighted many of the orignal ones in the process, mainly Ellen, by changing Scarletts opinion of her. Ellen was perfect in Scarletts eyes, to the extent that "when she was a child, she had confused her mother with the Virgin Mary, now that she was older, she could see no reason for changing her opinion". Ellen is shown as a worldy woman who married the first man who proposed to her!!! In "Scarlett" ,Rhett says "We're the adventurers, the buccaneers, the blockade runners" Such comments make the reader wonder if Ripley actually read the orignal book. Rhett says clearly at the Atlanta bazaar in GWTW "Blockading is a buisiness with me and I'm making money out of it. When I stop making money out of it, I'll quit" The climax doesnt even fit into the story and only serves to make the reader hopelessly confused. And couldnt Ripley have used other names for her supporting characters than Mitchell's? Sally Brewtons name has been taken from Sally Munroe's. Similarly, Katheleen 'O Hara's is nothing but Catheleen Calvert's name with the 'C' turned into a 'K'. The book is good, and Ripley did a good job spinning a new story and deserves to be praised for it, as it is not easy to write a good sequel, especially for a great classic such as GWTW. The book, however, is definitely not what Margaret Mitchell would wanted it to be. GWTW was the story of a Confederate girl who reacted to circumstances differently, but was as loyal to the South as any of them. Im "Scarlett", she might have been Irish!!!!!! The story drags and makes the reader skip pages. The story is as good as can be expected, as a 90's writer cannot write in the same style as a 20's writer, but the story falls short of the glamour, beauty and pride that gave GWTW its special charm, and made it a favourite of all time.
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on August 11, 1998
SCARLETT is like a car wreck you pass on the highway - it's grisly, but you can't help yourself, you have to look at it! This book is of a near-unbelievable badness. It is so awful, it is utterly excruciating to read. Margaret Mitchell's great anti-heroine has been transformed via Ripley's cheap and trashy pen into a ludicrous parody. Aside from the cold hard fact that Mitchell had more writing talent in her least sentence than Ripley can demonstrate in an entire book, perhaps the most appalling thing for the reader is the sheer implausibility of the plot and characterizations. Ripley cobbles together a bunch of low-grade Barbara Cartlandt episodes (Scarlett's journey to Ireland neatly removes the action into an exotic locale and effectively demolishes the sense of historical time and place) populated by the most unbelievable, superficial, false and nonsensical characters. All this would be so even if the book weren't a sequel to GWTW, but Mitchell's shadow renders! these people even more ridiculous - the scene where Scarlett caresses herself sensuously while thinking of Rhett comes immediately to my mind. SCARLETT could be any mass-market romance novel - just change the character's names, and you have a story that could be about any body. I was particularly disgusted by the way Ripley jettisoned all of Mitchell's own characters and settings less than a third of the way through the book, totally destroying any sense of place and turning the rest of the novel into a cheap romance fantasy. I will grant that the Charleston sequences have some merit - I always did wonder about Rhett's family and what they thought of Scarlett - but too many unformed characters come and go too quickly. I won't even bother to comment on the flaws in Ripley's Scarlett, who manages to be the two things Mitchell's Scarlett would most have despised - cringing and boring. This book should never have been written. As a product, it is a monument to human greed, ! bad taste, and lack of talent. I hope someone else decides! to take up the Mitchell legacy when the book enters the public domain in a few more years - it would be a shame if this Ripley trifle remains the sole imaginative effort to continue Mitchell's story. Pathetic.
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on January 13, 2012
I'M SO SORRY MOM!!!! I finished GWTW in less than a week. I had already seen the movie (which was GREAT by the way…) so I knew what awesomness I was in for. As soon as I finished GWTW I ran to the shelf and picked up Scarlett. When my mom saw what I was carrying she made a face and said "You're not reading THAT are you?" I told her yes and she said "Really honey I did not ask for this book. Someone gave it to me for my birthday a while ago. It was so bad I didn't even finish it. Believe me you will not like it. It's REALLY bad." I said "Mom I know it may be bad but I want to try it." my mom just shrugged and said "ok".
One week later the book was finished. I had but one thought in my mind- WHO THE HECK WROTE THIS TRASH???!!!
And here re my reasons for wishing the book was alive so I ciuld kill it:
1) This book must have been written about characters in an alternate realitybecause every attractive trait in them was gone forever.
2) The so-called "love scenes" were not in the least bit romantic which I found highly disappointing
3) Who was this Cat kid?? Which side of the family did her personality come from??
4) Ding dong lets hope the witch is dead!! So we go from everyone basically worshipping Scarlett to let's kill her!! Where did this transaction happen?
5) Who cares about Ireland when everything Scarlett knew and loved was in (surprise surprise) AMERICA!!
6) You know a book is awful when you can't even remember the characters' names. I opened the book not long after I finished it and saw the name Rosemary and thought wjo's that??
I could go on forever but unfortuneately typing on a kindle takes much longer than a computer. Mybe I'll go on the Today Show sometime and rant.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2008
I absolutely fell in love with the story and characters of GWTW when I read it for the first time recently. I was so desperate to have the story continue, and so unwilling to let go of the characters I'd grown to love that (despite all the bad reviews) I immediately began reading "Scarlett".

I enjoyed "scarlett" but, like many have said, it is no GWTW... it is comparible in no way, and thus not a true "continuation" of the story we loved. As difficult as the ending of GWTW is to digest, I do beleive that was it's purpose... to end the story. The conclusion of GWTW keeps the characters forever in our aching hearts, and alive in our imagination... BECAUSE it leaves us with questions about the characters we love. It forces our own imaginations to draw possible conclusions beyond that of the book. The characters we come to love become very real in our hearts, and yet we are left with no real answers to the aching questions regarding them. It's part of the magic of GWTW , atleast to me. IMO, it is what makes the story stay so close to our minds and hearts.

"Scarlett" is one writers own imagined continuation of the story, and while it will be agreeable to many and accepted as the conclusion for our beloved Scarlett and Rhett... there is no real conclusion in my mind.
I enjoyed "Scarlett" , very much actually, and being desperate for the story to go on and on.... I got that , roughly 800 pages of it. lol I found the majority of the story plausible even; Scarlett growing up , becoming a woman in a real sense, Rhett trying to make ammends with his family and Charleston as a whole for the sake of his beloved mother... I found every aspect of this story plausible based on former actions of the characters in the original.... but only if I made a genuine effort to do so. It wasn't a natural transgression for the most part. The characters lacked depth, and it was only pluasible for me b/c i kept going back in my mind to the depth they'd had in GWTW and transferring it to the characters in this book. It wasn't somethign that was done by the author, but rather my own will to enjoy the book and feel for the characters with the same depth as I had while reading GWTW.

If you are as desperate to have the story continue and to catch a glimpse of the characters you loved then I woudl suggest reading "Scarlett". If you're not willing to mentally make an effort (by remembering GWTW) and try to take this book on it's own merits.... or worse intend to make a comparison between the two books... leave it on the shelf.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
For those of you who don't know, this book is the "continuation" of Gone with the Wind. Scarlett starts the book out having lost many of the people she suddenly finds that she truly cares about. And in true Scarlett tradition, she sets out to try and get the one that's still alive back. Of course it's Rhett.

I found that I enjoyed to book much more than I anticipated. The main reason is the richness and clarity that Ms. Ripley portrayed Savannah, Charleston, and Ireland. I live in a suburb of Atlanta, and two of my favorite weekend getaway spots are Savannah and Charleston. It was so easy for me to imagine those cities as they might have been a few years after the civil war through Ms. Ripley's portrayal. She paints Atlanta as the rather cultureless boom town (not too unlike it is today), Charleston as the southern bastion of culture and sophistication, and Savannah in much the same light with a little more of the middle class thrown in.

I am not as familiar with Ireland, but based on the wonderful job she did describing the atmosphere in the other locals, I'm sure her portrayal of Ireland was excellent as well.

Most of her characters are well developed and interesting. Scarlett is introduced to both her family in Savannah and in Ireland. We all introduced to Rhett's family in Charleston. Her handling of Scarlett and Rhett was not quite as satisfying. Scarlet, although throughout the book is described as "grown up" still exhibits the selfishness that seems to be her signature. Even though she claims undying love for Rhett now, I'm never totally convinced that she really, really cares. Other aspects of her character are more believable. She is practical, obsessed with money (a result of never being hungry again), and not particularly cultured. She makes one huge faux paux when they are discussing Rhett's sister visiting Rome. She mentions that it's not that far from Atlanta and surely she has some relatives or friends that she could stay with. She is just totally unaware that they are discussing Rome, Italy not Rome, Ga. She is described as not liking books all that much, and although she is impressed by the trappings of wealth, she really doesn't care about its significance. Overall, she can be a sympathetic character, but a great deal of the time; she's still irritating and annoying.

Although Rhett has divorced her, we are led to believe that he still cares for her. This fondness is never explained to my satisfaction. They really have nothing in common. Where Rhett is trying to reestablish camellias at the plantation, Scarlett doesn't "get it" and is more concerned about him planting crops. Where Rhett is one of the Charleston sophisticated, Scarlett calls herself a country girl from Clayton County Georgia. Even Rhett's explanation at the end, just isn't satisfying.

The ending isn't all rosie, but Ms. Ripley can't help but end it with an almost "and they lived happily ever after".

Read it for the portrayal of the cities involved and the attitudes and thoughts of those cities' inhabitants. Just accept Rhett and Scarlett for what they are and enjoy the book.

My star ratings:

One star - couldn't finish the book

Two stars - read the book, but did a lot of skipping or scanning. Wouldn't add the book to my permanent collection or search out other books by the author

Three stars - enjoyable read. Wouldn't add the book to my permanent collection. Would judge other books by the author individually.

Four stars - Liked the book. Would keep the book or would look for others by the same author.

Five start - One of my all time favorites. Will get a copy in hardback to keep and will actively search out others by the same author.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2002
Attempting to take on someone else's book and recreate it as your own is bad enough, but when that book just happens to be one of the world's greatest epics, it's just plain wrong.
People who have read Gone With the Wind have relished in the fascinating and timeless story that Margaret Mitchell wrote, but rather than just accepting the book for what it is (namely, it's cliffhanger ending), most of us seek more - we long to see Scarlett & Rhett end up together. Perhaps working on that bit of selfishness, Alexandra Ripley concocts this tale that picks up almost right after GWTW left of.
I'll admit that the novel was interesting, but it should no way have been associated with the original tale in the first place. The alternate setting for the novel is welcome (after all, some sort of underlying social unrest in the story is needed after the end of the Civil War), however the characters were almost completely different as compared to those in GWTW. Scarlett's passion is dulled and Rhett is not nearly as dashing as he should be - the chemistry between the two of them is almost entirely lost, save just a few scenes. Mix that with a new set of ordinary characters (the purposely confusing introduction to Scarlett's enormous Irish family was unecessary) and you have an entirely different story.
I'll give the author some credit for coming up with her own take of the story - she put into writing HER version of Scarlett & Rhett's future, something most of us could not (or perhaps should not) do. Perhaps a bit more character development and a even more of the Rhett Butler we all know, and less fabricated and unbelievable storylines (Scarlett reclaiming her family's lost homeland for one - since when was Scarlett interested in anything but her Southern roots?) would have worked. The ending was also a bit predictable, but what do you expect an author who is trying to please millions of readers with closure to do? Nice try, but material like this should be spared to true fans of GWTW, and rewritten with different characters to please the romance novel crowd.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2002
That's about the best thing I can say about this ill-conceived sequel. As a longtime "Windy," I eagerly looked forward to the publication of "Scarlett" when I heard that one was coming out. What a disappointment!
Taking Scarlett's "tomorrow is another day" approach to life as her starting point, "Scarlett" sends the GWTW heroine back to Tara, where this time she discovers that her beloved Mammy has died. What a plot twist! Where could Ripley have found the inspiration? Could it be, dare I say, Scarlett's desparate return to Tara after the burning of Atlanta when she only wants her mother, only to discover that her mother has just died? By the way, if you're counting from the point just before "Gone with the Wind" left off, at this point, Mammy's death comes on the heals of the deaths of daughter Bonnie and Melanie Wilkes. Being connected with Scarlett must be hazardous to one's health. Mammy's death actually serves a more pragmatic purpose. Written in the PC '90s, "Scarlett"'s solution to Mitchell's unPC treatment of African-American characters was to kill them off quickly, and later to move Scarlett far away from the South. Unfortunately, with Mammy gone, we have no one to serve as Scarlett's conscience. She was always the rather large Jimminy Cricket reminding Scarlett of what she should do--just before she did the opposite.
Discovering that Tara just ain't what it used to be, Scarlett then sets off to Charleston in the hope of winning Rhett back. The scenes in which we meet Rhett's mother, Scarlett attempts at reconciliation, and the post-shipwreck love scene are the only interesting ones in the book. And fortunately they come early--making them easier to find. A wise reader would stop here. These scenes are the ONLY reason for giving this review more than one star.
Alas, we're not even halfway through the darn thing at this point. Scarlett then visits her O'Hara relatives and gets in touch with her Irish roots. Ultimately, she winds up in Ireland in the midst of the Irish-English conflict of the 1870s. Scarlett acquires the original Tara, and sets out to be a beneficent landowner to her tenants. Since those working her land are white, we are expected to find this arrangement palatable, while addressing the plight of freed slaves in the South could not be done in the same "nostalgia for the Old South" style of the original book.
Just in case you actually intend to read the whole novel, I won't reveal whether Scarlett and Rhett get back together. If you are dying to know the answer, I would suggest that you just read that final chapter at the bookstore and save your money.
There are so many wonderful journals about life during Reconstruction and during the Civil War. If "Gone with the Wind" has left you longing for more, read one of those.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2000
Although a little slow in the beginning, this book is as meticulously researched and historically accurate as the original. I found the lessons in Irish and British history fascinating. And the growth of Scarlett O'Hara from selfish belle into mature woman is remarkable. Those who would criticize Scarlett for her insensitivity in GWTW will understand her a little more in the sequel and cheer her on as she discovers who she really is (finally!) and her self-acceptance.
Imagine that you are chosen to write the sequel to GWTW. Of course people are going to rant that you are nothing like Ms. Mitchell, and that you just want to make a profit, blah blah blah. I will bet that few of those maligners know that Ms. Ripley had written several historical novels about Charleston before this book, and she ties in "real" history so successfully to Scarlett's and Rhett's time period and lifestyles that one can almost take the book for historical fact.
As I stated before, this book is wonderful...as long as you don't expect it to be the original. Ms. Ripley has her own distinct writing style, quite unlike that of the original book, but I feel this allows her to express the characters better than if she had merely tried to copy the original author's style and pace.
Buy it! Read it! It is a modern classic, one that I came to love after several readings during which I discovered something new each time. Just don't rent the movie. It is a HORRIBLE, boring, overly-dramatic, soap-operatic misrepresentation of the book (actually, it is nothing like the book...the plot, characters, everything is different!). Most loose ends from the first book are tied, and at least readers feel like they have experienced satisfactory closure.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 1999
I read GTWT last year, and of course was dying to read the sequel, because I fell so in love with the characters that I couldn't bear to see them apart. So I checked "Scarlett" out from the library and read it in three days. I was very disappointed. The best word to describe it is unbelievable, and not in a good way either. The plot is not plausible at all. Land, especially Tara, "the only thing worth fighting for- worth dying for," was very important to Scarlett. After the war, she tried to sell herself to save Tara. Why would she sell Tara a few years later? And why did Mammy have to die? Mammy was one of the best characters. What happened to all the people in Atlanta- Ashley, Aunt Pitty, the Merriweathers, the Meades, the Elsings? How come Scarlett went to Charleston and attached herself to Rhett's relatives, and how come they had the same lifestyle as the County people did before the war? And, after pursuing Rhett so closely, why did Scarlett cross an ocean to be away from him? Why did Scarlett travel all over Europe being a social butterfly? And why did she bring in the whole thing about the people thinking Cat was cursed, or whatever that was about? Why did Rhett, the heart and soul of GWTW, play such a small part in "Scarlett?" What was the whole deal about his second wife? Rhett would never had divorced Scarlett and married again. He would threaten but he wouldn't do it. The best part of GWTW was the complexities of the characters and their relationship, and that is completely gone in "Scarlett." Scarlett chases Rhett, he runs, she goes to Ireland, he heroically rescues Scarlett and their child, and the novel comes to a close with the two saying mushy things about their future together. This book has none of the passion, tension, and paradoxical beauty of "Gone With the Wind." The only thing to its credit is the happy ending.
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