I have been a Gone with the Wind fan since I was tweleve years old. I worship the movie and the book. The original novel, however, left some unanswered questions. What happened to Rhett and Scarlet? What happened to Ashley, Mammy and the rest of the characters? What happens to Tara?
I have read the sequel by Alexandra Ripley four times and I have also seen the movie "Scarlett." I think the main point to remember is that Ripley is not Margaret Mitchell. They are two completely different authors with different experiences and writing styles. Let's face it writing a sequel to the "greatest love story ever told" is quite a challenge. Yes, there are quite a few surprises in the sequel. Ripley does kill off Mammy, Rhett only shows up for a fraction of the book, and Scarlett gives Tara away and moves to Ireland. This can seem far fetched, but it is plausable. Any GWTW fan has created their own ending to the sequel before Ripley wrote her version. This is where the problem occurs! When Rhett leaves Scarlett, we all want to know what happens next and many of us have created our own "sequel" prior to reading Ripley's version. Keep that in mind when you read this book!
I think Ripley,does her best to bring these characters to life, although Scarlett does not have the same vivacity,she is a more mature version of herself. I have always admired Scarlett for her strength, wit, courage and perserverance. In the sequel, Scarlett grows up and matures into womanhood. She learns how to really love and care for others. She learns that the best gift she can possible give is unconditional love. Mitchell's Scarlett is self-centered, egocentric, and lacks compassion for the world around her. Ripley's Scarlett is thirty-five and a woman who finally learns how to love and be loved in return. Although this book will never be GWTW, I recommend this book on the basis that it is Ripley's personal interpretation of the characters and how they continue their lives. To all those who hate this sequel, why do you hate it? Think about your ideal continuation to GWTW. I think the answer lies there.