I loved Gone with the Wind, but was surprised by the abrupt ending, and left desperate to know what happened next. I quickly discovered that there were a few sequels out there and so decided to pick one up.
Rhett Butler’s People tells the story of Rhett Butler, the central male character from Gone with the Wind; from his early childhood until a few years after the close of GWTW.
Initially I was quite impressed with the story, as I learnt about Rhett’s difficult childhood, but then the book came to where Gone with the Wind begins and I found that it just seemed to be repeating everything I already knew. It wouldn’t have been so bad if if the story had focused on things from Rhett’s perspective, but it didn’t. Scarlett seemed to be the centre of this book too and the book kept retelling her story, despite the fact Rhett wasn’t even present for the majority of it. This was completely unnecessary as I can’t imagine anyone picking up this book without having read GWTW first, and the repetition began to irritate me.
The last few chapters explain what happened to the couple after the end of GWTW and although they felt realistic, I came to realise that I didn’t really want to know what happened. The ambiguous ending is what makes GWTW so special, a sequel only ruins this.
The writing was very similar to GWTW, and if you had told me that Margaret Mitchell had written it then I would have believed you. The only problem was that there were quite a few inconsistencies between the two books. I noticed a few things occurring in the wrong order, or missing completely from one of the books. I think this would drive true GWTW fans mad.
I listened to the audio book version of this book and while it isn’t perfectly suited to this media, it wasn’t bad. John Bedford Lloyd did a really good job narrating it, producing a range of voices, but the length and descriptive passages of this book meant that I would have preferred to read it for myself.
Overall, this was a reasonable book in it’s own right, but as a companion book to GWTW it had a lot of flaws. Recommended only to GWTW obsessives – who have probably sought it out already!
Have you read any of the GWTW sequels?
Would you recommend them?