Top positive review
The superior authorized sequel
Reviewed in the United States on October 3, 2019
I was happy to see that this book had been commissioned after the debacle of the previous authorized sequel. I was also encouraged to see that it was written by a man, since the title suggested insight into Rhett Butler's character and history. I wasn't disappointed. McCaig provides wonderful detail on where Butler came from, his fears, his wants and what drives him. He does a good, albeit imperfect, job of staying true to Mitchell's original GWTW. His writing made it easy to slide into these characters without having to make adjustments or excuses. The tone was appropriate throughout and very reminiscent of the original. It was gratifying to see that McCaig didn't try to make the original characters into his own. Rather, he expressed his vision by using and expanding upon secondary and tertiary characters in a way that complements GWTW rather than competes with it.
That said, I do have some gripes. The first is that, even though a good portion of the story is told from Rhett Butler's point of view, we never get answers to some of the burning "WHY?!?" questions that many GWTW fans have about Butler's actions (particularly in two pivotal scenes). Though these are retold from Rhett's point of view, McCaig doesn't even try to explain or even touch on Butler's rationale. I saw these as golden opportunities wasted.
The second gripe concerns the last section, which takes up after GWTW leaves off. It is surprisingly short, making up perhaps only a quarter of the novel. The climactic events come across as largely contrived and confusing, in much need of further development. As a result, it was hard to understand why the characters made the decisions that they did. It was as if McCaig was rushing to meet the publisher's deadline and cobbled together ideas that sounded good in his head but didn't quite work on paper.
Overall, it was worth the read. It was nice to revisit these characters in a context that gave them more depth but also was true to the way Mitchell had originally written them. Nice work.