Fluff: Review of ‘The Winds of Tara’

LibraryThing Early Reviewers

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:

The Winds of Tara

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.


14 Responses to “Fluff: Review of ‘The Winds of Tara’”

  1. 1 AnnieMcPhee Saturday, 2 August 2008 at 7:14 am

    I’ve only seen the movie, never read the book. Can you fill me in on Scarlett’s “children?” In the movie she only had Bonnie and then lost her second pregnancy, then Bonnie died too. What did I miss?

    • 2 Anca Sunday, 11 July 2010 at 7:39 am

      In the book she had 3 children: 1st with Charles, Wade Hampton Hamilton, baptized after his father commander because it was fancy, 2nd with Frank, a girl named Ella Lorena who looked exactly like her father and after that was Bonnie. Peace!

  2. 3 Fatadelic Saturday, 2 August 2008 at 11:33 am

    Wade, whose father was Charles Hamilton, and Ella, whose father was Frank Kennedy. They were kind of excised from the movie.

  3. 4 Natalie Saturday, 2 August 2008 at 4:44 pm

    Wasn’t there another unauthorized sequel written from the slave’s perspective that only got away with being in the US because it didn’t use the GWTW character’s names and called itself a ‘parody’? I can’t remember what it was called though.

    And of course, ‘Scarlett’ and ‘Rhett Butler’s People’, the sequels that had the blessing of the Mitchell estate are also both utter tripe. Just a means to make money.

    • 5 jamie Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 7:54 am

      the wind done gone and MM estate sued alice randal for it but settled out of court as long as randals publishers made a donation to the morehouse college. but its avalible

  4. 6 moonchild Monday, 4 August 2008 at 9:18 pm

    No sequel can ever live up to the original even if the original author writes it. That’s why I always distrust pass-the-baton sequels or unauthorised ones.

  5. 7 S. Tuesday, 19 August 2008 at 11:48 am

    “The Wind Done Gone” is (no joke) the title of the story from the black perspective.

  6. 8 Natalie Thursday, 21 August 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Oh… my. Just. Oh, my.

  7. 9 Judith Tuesday, 23 June 2009 at 2:58 am

    This is a really terrible book. Anyone with a passing knowledge of the one and only GWTW will be offended at the massive amount of mistakes and misspellings contained in Pinotti’s book. Character histories and prior relationships are completely ignored, as is American history, Catholic burial rites, geography and common sense. Some sentences are lifted directly off of Margaret Mitchell’s pages. The writing is unbelievably bad. If you are a true fan, Katherine Pinotti’s sequel will make you angry in it’s shear negligence and stupidity.

    • 10 Kate Pinotti Saturday, 6 February 2010 at 12:36 am

      Judith, I am sorry that you did not appreciate my book. Please remember that I write fiction, and allowed to take liberties with the story, but the names, etc. were correct. Perhaps you were comparing my work to the movie? Also, I did not “lift” anything directly from GWTW, and I know better than you that no author could ever produce a sequel comparable to the original. But…I had much fun writing it. It was written with the sole purpose of giving GWTW fans an opportunity to read more about a story we all grew to love. I am sorry you were disappointed and very pleased that I have reveived many wonderful comments and reviews from others. I do know how you feel. I felt the same way when I read “Scarlett”, and was totally prepared to dislike the mini-series produced when I read that the actress playing Scarlett refused to wear green contacts. Sometimes our expectations do this to us, and prevent us from enjoying movies and books that are really pretty good….just not good enough for own own personal taste. I hope you read it again with a more open mind. Perhaps you might change your opinion?

  8. 11 Judith Tuesday, 9 February 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Ms. Pinotti,
    I am very well versed in both the novel and the movie. I can assure you that I am not at all confused, but you apparently are.

    Margaret Mitchell also wrote fiction. “Gone With The Wind” is a fictional work. That did not allow her to ignore the historical, religious and social context in which her FICTIONAL NOVEL took place. So, no, you don’t get to take “liberties with the story” in a SEQUEL under the guise of “fiction.” How sad and unprofessional of you not to know this. If you wanted to play fast and loose with those bothersome facts, I will suggest again that you write your own book with your own original characters and plot. That way you will not set yourself up to have to defend your work to the likes of people like me who are more than familiar with Margaret Mitchell and “Gone With The Wind.”

    While I did not particularly enjoy the authorized sequels, my issue was/is not with the accuracy of the historical context of the American South, where “Rhett Butler’s People” was set, or Ireland and the Celtic environment in which “Scarlett” took place, or with by Ripley or McCraig as authors and with their knowledge of the characters and historical context in the original book. My issue with your book is that you demonstrate neither this knowledge or context and are unapologetic about it, instead challenging the reader to “read it again with an ‘open mind’……” This means exactly what? That anyone who does not enjoy your book has a “closed mind?”

    I would also classify your writing style as “silly” when not being grossly inaccurate or copying Mitchell’s wording.

    I have never heard a writer defend his/her book with “I had such fun writing it” as you have here and in your reply to my review on Amazon.com. Are you kidding? This is more evidence – not that it was needed – of your lack of maturity and skill as a writer and your seeming inability to grasp the larger issues I (and others) have with your book.

    Finally, your lack of respect for the template on which you write goes well beyond an actress portraying Scarlett while not wearing green contact lenses. Your novel, in my opinion, is offensive in it’s negligence and obvious disrespect of the foundation on which it is based. No amount of re-reading will change this obvious fact. You had an opportunity – and you blew it big time. You can’t undo ” really bad.”

  9. 12 ConcernedGWTW Lover Monday, 15 March 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Why is Jonas Wilkerson a character in any sequel to GWTW? He was murdered by Tony Fontaine in the original book, during the period while Scarlett was married to Frank Kennedy.

    • 13 Fatadelic Monday, 15 March 2010 at 1:49 pm

      So he did. Missed that point when I read the book.

  10. 14 ConcernedGWTW Lover Tuesday, 16 March 2010 at 12:03 pm

    I have not read “The Winds of Tara”, so I am not able to comment on Ms. Pinotti’s abilities or talents as a writer, or whether the plot or storyline is engaging or not.

    But, it is my belief that no writer attempting a sequel should “take liberties with the story” and still call it a sequel. If you are going to bring a character back from the dead, for example, then your work is more of a type of alternative universe fiction, where such changes are permissible. I have a very open mind when it comes to that type of thing, but not if you are going to call your work a sequel. That, in my opinion, must remain within the canon as set forth in the original work.

    Perhaps if “The Winds of Tara” had been labelled as an alternative universe fiction, it might have avoided some of the objections set forth by the poster above.

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