Here’s another book-related bit of fluff for you, since I’ve not posted much actual content recently. I wrote the review of The Winds of Tara below as part of the LibraryThing* Early Reviewer program. Anyway, I just thought I’d share it with you:
Scarlett O’Hara is one of fiction’s best-loved heroines, albeit a flawed one. She’s beautiful, feisty, selfish, vain, ambitious, savvy, ruthless and, above all, a survivor; everything a proper Southern lady, as exemplified by Melanie Wilkes, isn’t. And so we know that – even as her world comes crashing down around her ears at the end of Gone With The Wind – Scarlett will, somehow, get through this setback and prosper. No wonder we have all fantasized about what happens after the curtains close on Scarlett declaring that "After all, tomorrow is another day!"
The Winds of Tara bravely attempts to satisfy our curiosity about what happens to Scarlett and Rhett; a daunting task when our dreams are so romantic and our expectations so high. Even more daunting is the Mitchell estate, which successfully banned Kattherine Pinotti’s unauthorised sequel from the US and other major markets. Somehow or other, a new edition has been published in Australia which apparently cleverly bypasses the ban.
Scarlett’s separation from Rhett and the death of her staunch supporter, Melanie, has caused her to look at herself and her life in a new light. Returning to Tara to take comfort and regroup, Scarlett finds nothing is as she expects it to be; Suellen has grown a backbone, Jonas Wilkerson (the former overseer) believes he owns part of Tara and Careen has fled to the convent suffering from a mysterious illness and a broken romance with a Yankee. Scarlett resolves to fix all of that, repair her strained relationship with her children and get Rhett back to boot – and the first step is to find out what is going on with Careen. What she discovers at the convent sends Scarlett to England and back in a bid to save her family from a serious scandal.
Clearly, Ms Pinotti wants to provide Scarlett with the means for character growth and development, however the magnitude of the change we see, even in the first few pages, is somewhat unbelievable. In a few short months, apparently, Scarlett transforms into a caring, selfless person whose stubbornness is probably her only remaining fault (but, ah ha! that’s really a virtue, too). Careen’s predicament, which serves as part of the fuel for Scarlett’s change, is too convenient, a mere plot device. Similarly, the threat of divorce seems too modern and too simple; surely Rhett and Scarlett would simply agree to a genteel separation rather than brave further scandal with divorce, regardless of how maverick they both are. And, really, the ultimate fate of their relationship is never in doubt.
Although The Winds of Tara is not, in my opinion, entirely successful in its approach to Margaret Mitchell’s characters and narrative, I am certain that Gone With The Wind fans will enjoy the book. Despite its faults, this book fills in the gaps between tragedy to the happily ever after we all want for Scarlett.
RATING: an unexciting but solid 2.5 / 5
* LibraryThing, for those who don’t already know, is a social cataloging website for book geeks (that’s me!). Slightly obsessive people list, rate and review their books and find new recommendations, etc. If you are really interested you can view my profile and library.