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a book review – Rhett Butler's People

February 7, 2008
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It is amazing how once I become invested in a story, I manage to find the time to read. I mentioned a few times that I had been reading Rhett Butler’s People, by Donald McCaig. Initially, I struggled to find time for the 498 page accompaniment to “the greatest love story ever told.” But before long the story had engrossed me to the point that I could not put it down, and I finished it within a week. I haven’t written anything like this since college, so I thought it might be fun to review the book here on my blog. I just realized what a dork I have become…yes, indeed, I am writing a book review of my own free will. 🙂

The story is told alongside the familiar tale of Scarlett and Tara, but from the perspective of Rhett Butler and those who knew him well. We get to know Rhett as a boy and learn about his family, his struggles with his father, and the challenges that shaped his dark, mysterious character. Many questions are answered, from the reasoning behind Rhett’s renegade reputation to the truth about the misunderstood Belle Watling.  The reader gets a closer look at the heartache he experienced at the hands of his beloved Scarlett, from the barbecue at Twelve Oaks to the night he walked out of her life. And to the delight of Gone with the Wind fans, McCaig takes the story a bit further to give readers the ending we’ve always imagined.

Years ago, another novel, Scarlett, was written in an attempt to carry the story to a conclusion. I read the book immediately after I finished Gone with the Wind and I was sorely disappointed. The story seemed far-fetched, contrived, and untrue to the original characters. I couldn’t ever imagine the story going in that direction. On the contrary, Rhett Butler’s People may as well have been written by Margaret Mitchell herself.

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