Alexandra Ripley’s story Scarlett begins at the “Tomorrow” that Margaret Mitchell left the book “Gone with the Wind“ at.
Scarlett now newly in love with her husband, is determined to win him back by all means. She travels to her husband’s home and attempts to win him back by gaining his mother’s affection.
One day, Scarlett convinces Rhett to take her for sailing. The boat capsizes in a storm and they take refuge in a hollow of sand dunes.
While Rhett utters- Oh My darling, I thought I’d lost you, he retracts his words then eventually confesses that he does not want to “lose himself” over her again.
Scarlett leaves Rhett and his home yet again and goes to live with her paternal family. She is pregnant with Rhett’s child but hides the fact from him.
Scarlett receives a divorce notice from Rhett who eventually remarries.
Scarlett gives birth to Katie O’ Hara or “cat” because of her green eyes like Scarlett’s and she settles in Ballyhara and becomes the undisputed O’ Hara- the leader of the clan.
Scarlett announces her engagement to Lord Fenton. However, The English who came to arrest a group of Irish terrorists burn her house down. Rhett comes to her rescue and during the entire episode, Rhett learns of Cat- his daughter.
The family reunites in the most romantic fashion towards the very end of the book.
While Alexandra retains the original voice and spirit of Gone with the Wind, Scarlette is definitely a mellowed down version than the first book. The characters have grown and matured with age and have become less fiery and more matter of fact- sometimes managing to see humour in adverse settings.
The characters are less regal and more realistic more so because slavery has ended and the earlier masters have softened their stance in the entire equations.
There are more of melodrama and romantic notions and family politics that keep the star crossed lovers apart and one feels frustrated at some points when the lovers refuse to reconcile.
Author- Alexandra Ripley
Publisher- Pan (celebrating 75 years)