Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Scarlett - Alexandra Ripley

Loved the Original, disappointed with the sequel.

Like so many others, I loved Scarlett and Rhett in Gone With the Wind. The romance in their backdrop of the American Civil War was superb and well crafted. Having read the book and watched the movie, the book left a big impression on me.

Eager to extend such a rich experience, I started looking for the sequel. Scarett sounded exciting but atlas, so much for the enjoyment for the original, this was such a letdown.


Scarlett is back at Tara and has come to see Mammy on her deathbed. Mammy asks for Rhett and scarlett sends a word out. Rhett and Scarlett are at loggerheads again. He comes back but does not so much as glance at her although he admits his attraction for her. This offends the stubborn beauty and she decides to pursue him.

She tracks him down to to Charleston, Rhett's hometown and tries to win him back. However, as it usually is, series of events tear them apart only for them to meet years later at the end of the story where things are put to rights.

What works:
  • The atmosphere, the aura of the era is well captured.
  • Scarlet and Rhett's persona is well etched too to a certain extent.
What doesn't:
  • It is boring. After the exciting rollercoaster ride of Gone With The Wind, this one just seemed like a rehash.
  • The character of Melanie is brought back to life again through another character - Anne Hampton.
It is almost as if Ripley, read and reread GWTW so much that she just couldn't separate herself from it to create something original. It feels that we have been through it all in the previous book and I have to admit that there were times when I felt the book could have been edited to half its length.

It is hard to fault Ripley though - she did have a monumental gap to fill. Mitchell's Rhett and Scarlett are one of a kind and to have them again was like having too much of a good wine. The first glass is delicious and satiating, the second - overrich and saturated.

If you are a die-hard Gone with the Wind romantic, you might like this one. It has all the features - the balls, the plantation, the old world charm, the country feel, the sense of community and the gossip.

What it lacks is the uniqueness that makes Gone With The Wind special. Disappointed.

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