Published: August 26th, 2008
Rhett Butler's People
By: Donald McCaig
St. Martin's Paperbacks
Rhett Butler's People fulfills the dreams of those whose imaginations have been indelibly marked by America's greatest novel, Gone With the Wind. Here you'll meet Rhett as a boy, a free spirit who loved the marshes and tidewaters of the Low Country, and learn of the ruthlessness of Rhett's father, whose desire for control resulted in the unspeakable.
Through Rhett's eyes, you'll encounter those who shaped him in other ways: the Overseer's daughter, Belle Watling; Rosemary, Rhett's brave and determined sister; Tunis Bonneau, the son of freed slaves who understood the young Rhett like no one else; and Jack Ravanel, whose name became inextricably linked to heartbreak. And then there's Katie Scarlett O'Hara herself -- the headstrong, passionate woman whose life is inextricably entwined with Rhett's; more like him than she cares to admit; more in love with him than either of them will ever know.....
Review (BEWARE OF SPOILERS!!!)
I mostly enjoyed this book, and thought it gave a fairly good representation of Rhett's history. Even the first bit of it after Rhett left Scarlett felt realistic to me (I liked him raising hell with Tazewell Watling and Scarlett returning to Tara - they both rang true for me). I didn't even mind Rosemary's relationship with Ashley Wilkes deepening past mere friendship, especially after her earlier correspondence with Melly (I loved the depth that McCaig gave Miss Melly in particular). Where things started to devolve for me personally, was the minute Rhett sent Scarlett the Christmas present and she sent him the telegram. It felt forced, like a way to somehow bring them back together before the book was over. And that whole scene at the livestock auction, with Isaiah and his two goons, where Ashley and Will bust in to "handle it" and Will gets SHOT AND KILLED!!! It was completely unnecessary! And AS IF Suellen would just leave Tara with her kids and give it to Scarlett!!! That whole thing made me scoff in disbelief. Then Rhett just comes home, for seemingly NO. REASON. OTHER. THAN. THAT. GODDAMNED. TELEGRAM! (i.e. nonsensical plot device). When he gets there, they're just together again. Zero explanation and Rhett's money apparently saves the day, with them deciding to throw a barbecue "like the old days." Then McCaig has the novel end with Isaiah Watling BURNING DOWN TARA!!! Even Sherman didn't burn that freaking house, but THIS happens to IT?
The ending just put the final nail in the coffin. I could ignore the cheesy parallels between little Meg Haynes (Rosemary's daughter) and her cousin Bonnie Blue, and the whole thing where Rosemary ended up marrying that scoundrel Andrew Ravanel -- even when she seemed to have grown beyond such an idiotic choice. But that ending...I don't think I can forgive that. Unless you think you can get past my qualms, don't even bother reading it. I actually think I preferred Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley. I know, right? That's not the best sequel ever either, so that ought to tell you something about this one!
VERDICT: 2/5 Stars
**No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in stores, online, or maybe even at your local library.**