Scarlett is a 1991 novel by Alexandra Ripley, written as a sequel to Margaret Mitchell's 1936 novel, Gone with the Wind. The book debuted on The New York Times bestsellers list, but both critics and fans of the original novel found Ripley's version to be inconsistent with the literary quality of Gone with the Wind.
Plot Summary Edit
The book begins where Gone with the Wind left off, with Scarlett attending the funeral of Melanie Wilkes. Rhett is noticeably absent, and Scarlett is forced to overcome her own grief to comfort Ashley Wilkes and his son Beau, even going so far as to pull Ashley away from the grave when he attempts to throw himself in. This is seen by many of Atlanta's Old Guard to be a continuation of Scarlett's infatuation with him, and her reputation, no longer protected by the much loved Melanie, unravels.
Scarlett, heartbroken that she has lost both her husband and her closest friend in a single day, sets out for Tara to regain her strength and lick her wounds. When she arrives she is devastated to learn that Mammy, her mainstay since birth, is dying. She sends a telegram to notify Rhett about Mammy under the name of Will Benteen, because she knows that Rhett won't come if he suspects Scarlett is there. Before Mammy dies, she makes Rhett swear to look after Scarlett. Rhett agrees, although he has no intention of honoring the request. After Mammy's death, Rhett and Scarlett fight, which culminates in Rhett leaving and Scarlett returning to the Atlanta house, determined to win him back.
From Atlanta Scarlett travels to Charleston to visit Rhett's family, where she tries to corner him by winning his mother's affection. She begins an antagonistic relationship with Rhett's sister Rosemary, in whom Rhett had confided, and becomes very fond of his mother Eleanor, finding her similar to Scarlett's own mother Ellen. She convinces Rhett to take her for a sail on the harbour, where their boat capsizes during a terrible storm. Scarlett and Rhett swim to an island, where they make love in a cave. Rhett initially denies, then admits, that he loves Scarlett, but he does not want to "lose himself" over her again. Back in Charleston, Rhett leaves Scarlett near death at his mother's house, telling her, in a letter, that while he admires her bravery, he will never see her again.
After Scarlett regains her strength, she leaves Charleston with her two aunts, Pauline and Eulalie, to attend her grandfather Pierre Robillard's birthday celebration in Savannah. She leaves a note to Rhett's mother with Rosemary, who burns the note.
Scarlett connects with the Savannah O'Haras against her maternal family's wishes. Pierre offers Scarlett his full inheritance if she remains with him in Savannah until his death and avoids contact with her father's side of the family. Scarlett refuses and storms out of the house. She goes to stay with her cousin Jamie and his family. Soon another cousin named Colum, a priest from Ireland, joins them. Scarlett agrees to travel to Ireland with him. By this time Scarlett has realized that she is pregnant with Rhett's child but she keeps her pregnancy hidden.
In Ireland, Scarlett is heartily welcomed by her Irish kin. Exploring with Colum, they pass an old house called 'Ballyhara'; it was O'Hara land long ago before the English seized it. Scarlett soon receives a notification of divorce from Rhett. She makes plans to leave for America but learns that Rhett is now married to Anne Hampton, a young Charleston woman who had been noted by Scarlett as reminding her of Melanie. Heartbroken, Scarlett decides to remain in Ireland. She works with lawyers and leaves her two-thirds share of her father's plantation, Tara, to her son Wade Hamilton, buys Ballyhara and settles down in Ireland, to her Irish family's delight. She and Colum tell everyone that her husband died rather than tell the truth that she was divorced.
As Ballyhara is restored, Scarlett eagerly awaits the birth of her child, praying for it to be a girl and vowing to be a good mother. She is well respected by the townspeople and her family, earning her a reputation as a hard worker. She becomes known as The O'Hara, a title reserved for the undisputed leader of a family clan.
On Halloween night, her water breaks. Her housekeeper, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, and the midwife whom Colum summons are unable to handle the situation, and it appears that Scarlett will die. Instead, she is saved by Grainne, an old woman who lives near the haunted tower. The Caesarian birth is successful, but internal damage is done to Scarlett, and she is told she can have no more children. The baby, a girl, is born with dark skin like Rhett's, but with blue eyes that slowly turn green. Scarlett names her Katie Colum O'Hara, and calls her "Cat" because of her green eyes.
After Scarlett has settled down in Ballyhara, she runs into Rhett a number of times—in America while she is on the boat to Boston, at a fair where she admits she still loves him, and at a foxhunt a week later. He still does not know he has a child. He then seeks her out at a society ball and Scarlett realizes he still loves her.
Lord Fenton, one of the wealthiest men in Europe, pursues Scarlett, wanting to marry her. He wants Scarlett to bear his children after seeing Cat's fiery spirit and fearlessness. He also plans to unite their estates; he owns Adamstown, the land adjacent to Scarlett's. Angered by his arrogance, Scarlett refuses and orders him out of her house. Scarlett leaves for Dublin for her yearly visit for parties and hunts. She later decides to accept Lord Fenton when she hears that Anne is pregnant with Rhett’s child.
The news leaks out about her engagement and a drunken Rhett insults her when she runs into him at a horse race. A friend tells Scarlett that Anne and the baby both died, and she rushes back to Ballyhara hopeful that Rhett will come looking for her. She finds English there with a warrant to arrest Colum, who is the head of a group of Irish terrorists. Colum is murdered and Mrs. Fitzpatrick sets fire to the English arsenal to avenge him. The villagers, thinking Scarlett is in league with the English, burn her house down. Rhett comes to her rescue and tries to convince her to escape with him, but Scarlett runs around her house yelling for her daughter. When she tells Rhett that he is Cat's father, he helps her search. After finding Cat, the three climb into a high tower on Ballyhara and stay there for the night. Rhett and Scarlett both say "I love you". They wake up the next morning ready to start their new lives together and leave Ireland.
TV Adaptation Edit
It was adapted as a television mini-series of the same title in 1994 starring Timothy Dalton as Rhett Butler and Joanne Whalley-Kilmer as Scarlett O'Hara. The plot of the mini-series varies considerably from the book.