A Novel of Mammy from Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind

ByDonald McCaig

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lorraine stark
I enjoyed this book. Although several French words are included in the beginning pages, context clues enhance the reader's understanding of the narrative. Once the action moves to Savannah, I did not put the book down until I finished reading it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The novel is slow going , at first, because there is a lot of history to go through with St. Domingue (now known as Haiti). But reading this lead me to do my own historic research into Haiti's bloody battle for independence from France. The author did a very good job with all of his research, which made me love this novel even more. In this novel you learn of Scarlett O'Hara's beloved Mammy and how she came to be with the family. It is rife with overwhelming emotions at every single turn and the author does an excellent job of making Mammy jump off the page and come alive to you. A worthy inclusion of the Gone With The Wind series. Also by this author is "Rhett Butler's People" and also a must read.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
kimberly burke
While this novel read okay, it is NOT in ANY WAY really a prequel to Gone With the Wind in spite of the character names.

Mammy "Ruth" does not match Margaret Mitchell's character at all... imagine Mitchell writing that Mammy had "second sight"... or being married to a free man... or being on the scene of Denmark Vesey's Charleston slave revolt... never mind the very idea that she was born in San Domingo during the Haitian Revolution. She has Mammy connecting with every possible white family, from the Robillards to the O'Haras to the Butlers before Ellen Robillard is even born.

Imagine Ellen Robillard (O'Hara) being a "party girl" and running rampant as a teenager and not caring what people thought...visiting taverns...and not taking care of her appearance.

The character of Scarlett is impossibly like anything in Gone With the Wind. A tomboy riding astride wearing boy's clothing and trying to hide the fact that she is a girl to enter a horse race as a jockey.

Just not what you are probably looking for...
Scarlett :: La Chica del Tren [The Girl on the Train] :: The Big Book of Trains :: THE SIX: A Smart, Dark, Enticing Thriller :: The Sequel to Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
aitor er
At a loss for words , I was so excited to see a novel that was based upon Margaret Mitchell's character Mammy so I ordered the book and waited impatiently for it to arrive but to my disappointment it wasn't based upon the facts in Gone with Wind . the story just didn't develop or flow right there was too many changes and too many of the plots were of no use to the storyline .
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
This could have been a great book ,but the Author chose to write in such a way that the average person would throw it aside after the first chapter ! I am a fan of GONE WITH THE WIND and its characters, but the writing style is WAY OFF ! IT IS like trying to translate a jigsaw PUZZLE in FRENCH. I wish the Author had kept it more in line with the movie. I "GET" the history before Gone with the wind and RUTH , but really unnecessary "jibberish."
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Ruth, also known as Mammy, was such a fantastic character. Her loyalty, her insight, and her understanding of the life she lived spoke well of the person she was. Since she was taken in by her first master and mistress when she was very young, she grew into that person without questioning her fate. Though she suffered many personal hardships, she was never bitter. I loved her character.

Donald McCaig did a superb job with Ruth's Journey. I loved being "inside Mammy 's head" and living her life through these pages. I have a much better understanding of life in the period of time in which Ruth lived.

If you are a fan of Gone With the Wind, don't miss this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I really enjoyed the majority of this book. Donald McCaig creates a world that I can escape into, and I very much appreciated his creative version of Ruth's story. Like "Rhett Butler's People," the book started out very well. For some reason, the end of the book felt anticlimactic to me....perhaps this is because it ends where "Gone With the Wind" begins. I recommend this story, but wish the ending had a bit more umph to it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
aditi mittal
Any loyal reader of GWTW will likely be disappointed with any prequel or sequel to the novel. Ruth's Journey is no different. I felt it did not measure up to the quality of the original but, again, nothing likely ever will. That said, I enjoyed Ruth's Journey when I began to view it as a separate entity. If you are into comparing all of the various follow-ups to the original, you will likely be disappointed. If you are looking for a fun read providing some background on the primary characters of GWTW, you will enjoy this easy romp down memory lane. I personally did not enjoy Ruth's Journey as well as I did McCaig's "Rhett Butler's People", but all in all, it was a good read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
deahn berrini
Admittedly, I'm a Gone with the Wind fan. I've read the other books about Scarlett and Rhett, but this might be my favorite one. This book references the original GWTW a few times, and actually adds to it.

Get to know Mammy. You'll enjoy the book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sungbae park
I don't know how he accomplishes it, but somehow McCaig's writing style is eerily similar to Mitchell's original style. Even with the few hints from Gone With the Wind that I have read, he so imaginitively captures her past as well as a lot of rich history as well. This is such a great book for any fans of southern lit. I definitely have always had a lot of respect for Mammy before, but definitely so now for Ruth!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
kira von
I had a very difficult time following along the story line of this book. I have not finished the book yet, but know it will not be on my favorite book list or one I will not ever read a second time.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
david padmore
This would have been a very good story had it not been touted as a "pre-quel" to "Gone with the Wind." There were too many discrepancies in the characters, and a very silly "Surprise" at the end which really made the book very un-enjoyable. It was well-written, though, and had it been just a stand-alone novel, it would have been much better.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
allison james garcia
A page-turner. Couldn't put it down. Ruth is the strength behind generations of Scarlett O'Hara's ancestors. McCaig has done a brilliant job of bringing her past to life. He also does an excellent job of painting a picture of pre-Civil War life in Georgia from the perspective of a woman who though she lived her life behind the scenes, never missed anything.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
martha fruehauf
Dissapointing. The title is very deceiving - it is not Ruth's Journey is is Solange's Journey. I very seldom give a bad review to a book - as most have some value, but don't waste your money on this one. What was the Mitchell estate thinking letting this be published and associated with one of best books ever written
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
connor freer
The book starts off a little slow. To much history of Haiti. I did not like the voodoo business. I don't think Margaret Mitchell ever thought about Mammy having these kinds of insights. Didn't care for the ending either. I fine it very difficult to believe it could 10 years to write this book. Donald McCaig did a amazing job with Rhett's People but not so much with Ruth's Journey.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Not being a fan of sweeping romance novels, I was predisposed to find this one a tough read. It lived up to my dread. Worse, this is not a book about Ruth; it is a book about white women and their struggles more than it is a book about Ruth. McCaig weaves some history into this novel, but overall, it is not what it purports to be: a book about Gone With the Wind's beloved character, Scarlett's nanny. It is a book by a male author with a great affinity for the trials and challenges of men, some superficial insights into white women of privilege, and little ability to focus upon a black woman and her struggle.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
laura contreras
Awful! Who is the author trying to fool? Mammy was born in the Robillard great house in Savannah and was raised on a pallet in Solange's room. Who is this strange orphan child some French soldier rescues from a massacre in Haiti that the author is trying to pass off as Mammy as a child?

Not following the established history of the (supposed) main character of your own novel is really poor form! This novel is touted to be well researched. How is the reader supposed to believe that if the writer couldn't be bothered to learn where his character was born and raised? And how is changing important little facts like Solange's maiden name from Prudhomme to Fournier, and Pierre Robillard's name to Henri going to make these bastardized characters believable or familiar?

Beyond the epic failure in research, the writing is really dry and choppy. And tucking in a thousand words in French in 10 pages is not helpful to setting the scene. Yeah, we get it. French people in Haiti fighting with Napoleon to suppress the uprising. Say that! And en englais, sil-vous-plait.

Long review short? Bad writing made worse by bad research. If I hadn't received this book as a gift, I would be crying for my money back. As it is, I pity my friend who wasted money on this nonsense only to line the pockets of a really bad writer.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
harshdeep singh
I want my money back, SHAME on Margaret Mitchell's estate for "authorizing" these horrid books. Ruth's Journey is a hodgepodge and a mess. It barely gets into Mammy's nature, introduces irrelevant characters and places known characters into ridiculous situations totally against their original portrayals. This is like taking a spray can to the Mona Lisa to "improve it." DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
the librarian
Ruth's Journey was incredible. As Mammy journeyed I was right there with her. In the movie Hattie McDonald breathed life into the character. Now Donald McCaig has made Mammy a complete person. I can't wait to watch the movie again. I've read GWTW 3 times already.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
moira shannon
McCain once again gives us a poorly written, choppy book (I refuse to say sequel) and he has paid no attention at all to what Margaret Mitchell wrote in "Gone With the Wind". Has he ever read the original novel? From the books be has written and I have read I say he has not.
I'm not sorry to say that I had the book from our Public Library and did not buy this piece of rubbish. If I could have given McCaig's book a quarter star I would have.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
june shi
GWTW is one of my favorite books, which I have read many times. I was very excited when I found out there was a book about Mammy, one of my favorite characters in GWTW. This book was very disappointing. Even for those who aren't GWTW fans and wouldn't know any better, the character development is just so-so. There's no depth to them and they are caricatures of stereotypes of the time in history. The different plot lines and scenes are also choppy and either fleshed out too much or not enough. I'm disappointed that it was authorized by the Margaret Mitchell Foundation. They obviously did not read it, or they would've never let such a poor book be associated with them.

The most irritating thing is that the timeline is not true to the original one presented in GWTW. There are many discrepancies, but the major one begins with Solange Robillard fleeing from Haiti in 1791 at around 20 years old when, as established in GWTW, her PARENTS did. Not her. Ellen Robillard O'Hara was born around 1829 (she was 32 at the opening of GWTW in 1861), so Solange would've been 58 - yes, 58 - when Ellen was born according to Ruth's Journey. Mammy would've been around 78 at the outbreak of the war according to the timeline in Ruth's Journey, which is impossible because she lives to raise Scarlett's children in GWTW and isn't in her 90s when she does it.

Other glaring inconsistencies place Mammy in scenes toward the latter end of the book, which bleeds into the beginning of GWTW, where she simply wasn't there. The barbecue, for instance, when Scarlett gets engaged to Charles Hamilton. It's a huge plotline in the beginning of the book and movie and Mammy was not there, which is part of why Scarlett acted the way she did and her life course was set. Ruth's Journey not only has Mammy there, but she interacts with Rhett Butler. There are a lot of other hard to believe things - Frank Kennedy having a bank, Mammy being married and having a child, the Butlers hanging Mammy's husband, and many more things that just don't line up with GWTW. Considering it's one of the most-read books and most-seen movies of all time, it's baffling as to why such a poorly written book was allowed to be linked to it.

I used my library's e-book option, so fortunately I'm not out any money!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
ahmed said
Solange, a French heiress, travels to Saint-Domingue with her new husband to claim the sugar plantation that is part of the marriage settlement. When they arrive, the island is in chaos. The slave revolt has driven the French planters into the main city of Cap-Francis. The newly weds get little from the island. The plantation is in disrepair and uninhabitable. However, Solange takes in Ruth, a child orphaned by the slave revolt. Solange and Ruth form a symbiotic relationship that extends from her childhood to encompass three generations of the family.

It's not easy to write a prequel. The main characters whose lives you have to connect to are already established. However, the progenitors are fair game. I thought McCraig did a good job with Scarlett's grandmother, Solange. She has the same feisty spirit, desire to succeed against the odds, and an attractiveness that gains her three husbands.

Ruth, or Mammy, is a much less well defined character. As a child at the beginning of the book, she is Solange's accomplice, and a very successful one. However, I felt we didn't get to know her well. The emphasis was on Solange. We do learn more about Mammy's history, but for me it wasn't completely satisfying. I particularly disliked the amount of dialect the author used when Mammy was telling a story. It was hard to read and diverted my interest from the story to trying to figure out the pronunciation.

I won't spoil the ending, but the characters you loved in Gone With the Wind have changed rather dramatically at the end, which is the barbeque scene from the original book. I also have trouble with the characterization of Scarlett riding about the countryside in men's clothes. She was a hoyden, but I thought that was a bit extreme for the South in that time period.

The book is an interesting read to see how another author envisions the events leading up to Mitchel's novel. I wasn't particularly impressed, but if you read it, you may feel differently.

I reviewed this book for Net Galley.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
emma alling
I recently discovered this book at a used book sale. Years ago, I loved GONE WITH THE WIND as a high school student, and some time later, I enjoyed the sequel, SCARLETT. This book is billed as a prequel, telling the story of Ruth, Mammy in the original book. RUTH'S JOURNEY has Mammy first encountering Scarlett's maternal grandmother, Solange Fournier, when Solange is a new bride living with her French husband on the island of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). Solange's husband discovers "Ruth," who has lost her home and her family, as a young child, and presents her as a gift to his wife. Ruth is a loyal servant to the Fourniers, remaining with them as they flee Saint-Domingue and wind up in Savannah, Georgia, where she first assumes the title of "Mammy" to Solange's young daughters. Although Ruth's own "journey" takes her to Savannah for a time, she eventually finds her way back to Solange, returning to the role of Mammy for Solange's youngest daughter, Ellen. Tis is the child that grows up to become Ellen O'Hara of the familiar story.

I liked this book most towards the end, when I enjoyed re-visiting with beloved characters and reading an alternate perspective on how their personalities might have developed. Unfortunately, I found other sections of this novel to be overly slow, including the discussion of the political happenings in Saint-Domingue early on and the return to politics later in the book (although this time, in the form of slaves versus owners) when Ruth is in Savannah. There are also some things in this novel that don't quite match up with either GONE WITH THE WIND or SCARLETT. (Small spoiler: Pierre Robillard dies toward the end of this book, but he is still alive in the sequel, SCARLETT.) In the end, however, I did find this to be a worthwhile read, with a final rating of about 3 1/2 stars.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
I haven't finished this yet, but I'm already peeved at it. In GWTW, it clearly states that Mammy says she was born in the Robillard great house and raised in "ole Miss' bedroom", not adopted as a child from the wilderness. You have to keep your facts straight when you are connecting to a book already written. I doubt that I'll bother finishing it if that's all the accuracy I can expect.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
deyana atanasova
It was the hardest book to read. It was such a let down. I waited for this book as I am a GWTW fanatic. I've read everything from every author. I even read his last book and I thought it was fabulous. This made no sense and it was boring. I only got 1/4 of the way through it and I donated it to my county library. I wanted to love it...but I just didn't.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
avril hughes
I was immediately drawn to the novel Ruth’s Journey by Donald McCaig, because it is a book that is about Mammy, the slave from the book Gone with the Wind who basically raised Scarlett O’Hara. When I was younger, I watched the movie Scarlett, which is the sequel to Gone with the Wind, and fell completely in love with Scarlett O’Hara, Mammy, Rhett, and the rest of the characters. Shortly after watching that movie, I begged my mom to get the movie Gone with the Wind for me, so she did, and I absolutely loved it, and watched it over and over again. When I was a little older I decided to read the book, and I fell even more in love with the story, because as with all books vs. movies, the book has so much more detail and there is so much that the movie doesn’t show. Anyways, I was pretty sure that I was going to like this novel right away, and I was not disappointed.
Mammy (Ruth) is brought to Georgia from Santa Domingo after her parents are killed during an uprising by her great-grandmother, Solange, and that is how she becomes a part of the household that will lead to her becoming Scarlett’s Mammy. Ruth’s life spans over 60 years, and during those 60 years she experiences so many different things in life. From heartaches to happiness and everything in between. She raised three generations of Scarlett’s family, and helped to love, protect, and care for her white owners, even though she was just a slave.
The writing style is smooth and descriptive, and you can clearly picture what the author is describing on the pages. I can’t even imagine the amount of research that had to have gone into this novel in order to make sure it was historically accurate, and to make sure that it went along with Margaret Mitchell’s books as well. I can definitely appreciate a great book that obviously took a lot of hard work and research to put together and this one did. The only thing I would say that might have improved it a little, would be if the book had focused a little more on Ruth’s voice. I felt like Ruth was sometimes a passive observer as her life was talked about, rather than an active participant. It would have been nice to get more of a feel of who she was. However, that was just a small thing, and didn’t really take away from my enjoyment of the book. I give this novel a FOUR out of FIVE stars.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Let me first say that I am no GWTW purist. Heck, I haven't even read the book, yet. I do however love the movie, and I love reading slave narratives, so I was excited to read this book.

The reviews have been lukewarm. But, I wondered if they were just hardcore GWTW fans who were not giving his book a chance. And then I read it...

And I realized that most of the negative reviews were not by diehard GWTW fans but by people who actually wanted to read a decent book and were disappointed. I didn't like how the novel is written. For example " The miracle happened on a small island which had been a very rich small island." We already stated it was small. Why must it be stated again? "The island's planters called it the Pearl of the Antilles. Three weeks after The Marriage of Figaro opened in Pairs, it played Cap-Francais, the small island's capital city." FYI, in case anyone missed it, the island is small. But if that isn't your fancy perhaps this is "To the marriage, Augustin would bring ninety percent(Henri-Paul reserved an interest) of a distant plantation: the Sucarie du Jardin of 150 hectares, improved by a great house ('a Versailles!") and a modern sugar mill ("the whiter the sugar, the better the price, is it not so?"), and forty-three ("Docile, loyal") field hands no younger than fifteen or older than thirty years, not to mention twelve females slaves of childbearing age and numerous children some of whom would survive to enter the workforce." Sorry, but this type of writing isn't for me and while others may enjoy it I can't say that I did. I found it to be choppy.

Others have complained that Ruth was silent and this was more of Solange's story. I can agree with that argument. If the author wanted to start the story where he did then please let the character have a voice. All she does is stand around being. Later in the book the reader finally gets to Tara, but I think for most readers its too late because they have put the book down. The problem with this novel is that Ruth doesn't have a voice in the opening pages.

If we are going to have a book about Ruth then give her a voice. I don't need her in Tara when the novel opens, but my goodness I do need her to do something. Standing around being mute doesn't cut it for me. And if she is mute at least give the reader some glimpse into what this young girl is thinking. But the reader isn't given this information. We don't get to read Ruth's feelings on moving to Georgia. I'm not even sure if she is happy with her new mistress. I suppose she is cause she does whatever she wants. I dunno, I wanted more. Give me Ruth's story not Solange's story.

I'm so disappointed that I couldn't get through this book.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
saara raappana
This book is terrible. If you've read GWTW or seen the movie, you will not recognize Mammy. I can't get over how bad this book is. Mammy doesn't even sound like Mammy! All of it is bad, not just parts. Save yourself and pass on this fiasco.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
This book takes on the formidable task of bringing to life-before-GWtW one of its most beloved characters. Not easy! I really enjoyed the back history of Mammy (Ruth) as a little child and those whose lives touched and shaped hers. Learning the ancestors from whom Scarlett descended was enlightening as to her own later character. It is a very difficult thing to take on fleshing out characters and adding to pre- or post novel events. I think that Donald McCaig has done this admirably. No, this isn't Gone With The Wind. No, this wasn't written by Margaret Mitchell. So, no, one should not expect an identical voice in telling Ruth's story (or Rhett Butler's, as in Rhett Butler's People, one of McCaig's earlier works). It is a good voice, telling an interesting story that is an enjoyable read. My one criticism of the book was how hard it was to read some of Mammy's narration told in her own voice, necessitating reading some lines out loud to get the full meaning. That said, this book is a very good telling of the period leading up to the Civil War and in getting to know characters many of us had missed once Margaret Mitchell's epic novel was put down. (less) [edit]
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
This book was fascinating to me. I was particularly grateful that someone took the time to tell about Ruth, the little child who hid while her parents were slaughtered by white soldiers on the island of Santa Domingo; and gradually found her way to Savannah; and then Georgia. This world is viewed through HER eyes, and what she witnesses is extremely painful much of the time. Her courage is magnificent. As people are finally beginning to speak truth about slavery -- i.e., "12 Years a Slave" and Sue Monk Kidd's "The Invention of Wings" -- it is high time that Mammy is treated as a human being. (Hattie McDaniel wasn't even allowed to attend the huge opening in Atlanta, nor were any of the other African-American actors.)
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
amanda winkworth
I've read GWTW several times and watch the movie annually. I read and watched the SCARLETT sequel, too. To say I'm a GWTW fan is an understatement of monumental proportions. So, I can agree with most of the other reviewers, who ix-nayed this author and the book. I have to wonder, What are Margaret Mitchell's heirs thinking!!!??? And where was the author's editor??!!! The writing was choppy, the characters--who we didn't know and didn't care about--were just strewn about indiscriminately without development or description. Then McCaig suddenly changed voice to Mammy's, which was an improvement but it was too late as far as I'm concerned. If ever there was an example to young writers about what not to do, this would be it. I'm glad I found this book at the library. At least I didn't waste any money.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
isaac kerry
Who can forget Scarlett O'Hara, Tara, and of course beloved Mammy. Ruth's Journey is a tale of Mammy.

Mammy was born in the Caribbean Islands, was the only survivor of an attack on her household, and made her way to Savannah with the Forniers. As their "child" she was treated well, but was sold to another family.

Mammy Ruth moves from one famous Southern family's ​home to another as we the reader follow her and find out what made Mammy the mammy she was. There are many happy situations, but there are also many sad ones.​ The O'Haras are mentioned throughout the book ​and,​ of course​,​ that is where ​Mammy ends up.

RUTH'S JOURNEY was very well researched, but unfortunately difficult to follow and enjoy until the book was almost over.​

I loved GONE WITH THE WIND, but RUTH'S JOURNEY had something to be desired. It didn't get interesting until way into the book, and most specifically not until Mammy got to Tara with the O'Haras. Visualizing Tara and hearing chararacters' names from GONE WITH THE WIND made the wait worthwhile.

I enjoyed learning about Mammy, but RUTH'S JOURNEY wasn't a favorite read...it was a bit tedious even though the writing was outstanding.

You will love Mammy Ruth and feel sorry for her, and ​you will love learning about ​her strong will​ and her love and loyalty for the people she cared for and ​kept her going on through all her many losses. Mammy Ruth was an interesting person, and a character​ everyone most likely loved and will never forget especially in her dealings with Scarlett.​ ​ 3/5

​This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.​
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nancy thompson
Having read many other books by Donald McCaig, I was excited to read this one, to fin out how he viewed the life of Mammy. I have to admit, that I was confused, at first about Mammy leaving the family before Ellen was born. But later, it becomes clear. This part of the plot has to happen in order to weave in the Butlers, and the other folks from Savannah, including Ellen
s older sisters. Although this book is a bit slow in parts, and I honestly wondered where it was going, after Ellen was born, it picked up again, and flowed smoothly from that point until the end. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed Rhett Butlers People, or Gone With The Wind itself. It fills in some of the missing information which tells us who Mammy truly was.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
lisa bloom
Gone With The Wind is undoubtedly my all-time favorite movie. I can watch it over and over and over. It’s not surprising that there have been sequel’s and prequel’s (Scarlett by Alexandrea Ripley—a hideous novel—and Rhett Butler’s People by Donald McCaig that I haven’t read). I admit that I was excited when I saw heard about another prequel, this time from Mammy’s point of view. What a great character she is. Margaret Mitchell not only created a formidable personality, Hattie McDaniel brought her to life. McDaniel deserved the Oscar she was awarded.

I haven’t read all of McCaig’s works, but I have read, and thoroughly enjoyed, his Nop’sTrials and Nop’s Hope. Both are excellent stories. Between a novel about Mammy and a writer with whom I’m familiar, no one had to twist my arm to pay hardcover price for what I was positive would be a wonderful reading experience.

Alas, I was wrong; it’s a tedious read. The story has begins when Mammy becomes a refugee from a slave revolt in Haiti. Her mistress gave her the name of Ruth. I know that McCaig had to create a backstory that wouldn’t be stereotypical, but he went too far. It’s as bad as Ripley sending Scarlett to Ireland for most of Scarlett,

Most of the book is about Solange, Scarlett O’Hara’s grandmother, and Ellen, Scarlett’s mother. Only the confidence that the story would turn around and focus more on Ruth/Mammy kept me reading.

I found the first two-thirds of the novel seemed to center on Solange, with Mammy as a supporting character. The first half of the last two-thirds of the novel focused on Ellen, and then finally, we reach Mammy/Ruth’s story. Maybe I need to keep I mind that the title is Ruth’s Journey, not Ruth’s story. When the action finally does center on Mammy/Ruth, it seems more like rewriting of Mitchell’s work.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
morgan terry
As a fan of both the book and movie GONE WITH THE WIND, I began RUTH"S JOURNEY with the expectation of finally learning about the past of "mammy", that wonderful force of nature who appeared to be the guiding hand of the O'Hara clan and the only one who could keep Miss Scarlett and the rest of the household reined in. Ruth, it seems, is Mammy's real name (at least it's the one given to her by Scarlett's Great Grandmother Solange) following the slave uprising in Santa Domingue (now Haiti) that left Ruth an orphan.

Following the uprising, Ruth and the family escape to Savannah; later relocating to Charleston and finally Tara. Ruth's journey from Haiti to Tara is like the writing itself, rather circuitous, as the author, focused more on Scarlett's ancestors and their various friends and acquaintances thru the years rather than on Ruth herself. The narrative jumps from scenario to scenario with not much in the way of character development or background. It was very disconcerting to be reading about a character or locale, come to the end of a chapter, begin the next chapter and find nothing more than a vague reference regarding that character's demise. The how's and why's of any given event seem to be incidental in this telling and results in a mish-mash of flat, undeveloped characters and events that leave the reader attempting to read between the lines to piece together what happened. Also, RUTH'S JOURNEY covers a span of 60 years that mostly involve other people with Ruth acting as a relatively emotionless observer who just "exists" rather than lives on the pages.

The only thing Ruth seems to have going for her is the gift of "second sight" and even that is grossly underplayed until the last few pages of the book where she divulges to Miss Ellen(Scarlet's mother) what she foresees in Scarlett's future. While this isn't the worst book I ever read, it certainly doesn't live up to Margaret Mitchell's tome. A comparison of the two writing styles shows this novel to be less focused in development and description, with the author rushing from scene to scene paying scant attention to the long suffering Ruth whose life, loves and losses serve almost as a footnote in the lives of the families she loyally serves. This reticent Ruth is definitely not the outspoken, take charge Mammy we've come to know and love.

To paraphrase Rhett Butler, when it comes to this version of mammy's life all I can say is "Frankly my dear, it's hard to give a damn". 2 1/2 STARS
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kevin michael
I picked up this book at the Atlanta airport on my way home from Savannah, wanting to hang onto the fabulous Low Country history and experience. I greatly enjoyed this book. Her experiences and thoughts float back through my mind. Well written in the probable speaking style of her time. It is an enjoyable linguistics voyage. I reread many passages to assure I truly absorbed the swing of her words and meanings, trying to "hear" it as a stage play or movie. I'm debating whether to share it yet with my book circle or keep it for a full reread. A very good book to spend time within.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
g i goodrich
Gone with the Wind was the first adult book that I read when I was young and it remains one of the few books that I re- read every few years. I was excited to find out about this book and the potential opportunity to learn more about Mammy, one of the key characters in GWTW. Wow was I disappointed. I thought that this book was poorly written and the characters were very one dimensional. I don't know much more about Mammy now than I did before except that her real name was Ruth. I truly think that authors should quit trying to add on to earlier novels - they should just leave those characters alone. Major disappointment!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
When Margaret Mitchell first published her lengthy Civil War novel in 1936, she could not have known the fame --- or the notoriety --- it would achieve. GONE WITH THE WIND has become an international favorite read --- second only, we are told, to the Bible --- and a pet object of scorn amongst literary critics, Southern historians and advocates of racial tolerance, all of whom see it as irretrievably flawed.

"Donald McCaig and the Margaret Mitchell Estate that authorized RUTH’S JOURNEY are assured of a readership thirsty for its release and are doubtless warmly anticipating the hullabaloo it will engender."
Following up on his 2007 bestseller, RHETT BUTLER’S PEOPLE, novelist Donald McCaig once again is charging into the fray and adding to the legend with a prequel. This one, RUTH’S JOURNEY, focuses on the redoubtable maid Mammy, named Ruth here. His historical novel fleshes out the character of this strong-minded, oftentimes scolding woman who is briefly sketched in Mitchell’s classic work. He gives her origins in post-revolution Haiti and a life of devotion to her French mistress Solange and daughter Ellen, Scarlett’s O’Hara’s mother.

The early portion of the book overflows with people and plot lines, bringing in the real-life freed slave Denmark Vesey to speak for the oppressed and offer Ruth, whose husband will be hanged after a slave rebellion, a vision of liberty. The story gains traction when Mammy (nicknamed for her ability as an infant caregiver) and Ellen, newly wed to rough-hewn Gerald O’Hara, join forces to make the Tara plantation a showpiece of the Low Country. The final section is told through the words of Ruth, composed in what may be seen as a valiant but discomfiting attempt to recreate the accents of the plantation slave quarters. McCaig endows Ruth with wisdom beyond her raising, as she comments on the complex love life of the youthful, saucy Scarlett and the distant drums of war.

The prequel is always a controversial genre, and this one will be no exception. While GONE WITH THE WIND had the grand sweep of a nation divided and a doomed civilization crashing in on itself, RUTH’S JOURNEY is able to open that door only a crack. While the former is a classic romance at heart, the latter offers rather dry history and speculation minus the sizzle. And, most significantly, McCaig’s Ruth must live up to the cinematic triumph of Hattie McDaniel, who played Mammy to Mitchell-esque perfection and garnered the first-ever Oscar awarded to an African American.

Still, Donald McCaig and the Margaret Mitchell Estate that authorized RUTH’S JOURNEY are assured of a readership thirsty for its release and are doubtless warmly anticipating the hullabaloo it will engender.

Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
I'm guessing the heirs of Margaret Mitchell must have really needed the money in order to authorize this truly awful prequel to a literary masterpiece.
Did Mr. McCaig forward a rough draft?
I see he has had some success as an author, but judging by this steaming pile, I can't imagine how.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
samuel lee
Ever wonder about Mammy in "Gone with the Wind" before she became Mammy to Katie Scarlett and her siblings? Here is her story. It could be considered a prequel to "Gone with the Wind" because it deals with Ruth and also her earlier dealings with Scarlett, including quite a bit about, the character, Scarlett. Though, not a literary masterpiece, this book delivers an interesting conjecture for any fans of Margaret Mitchell's beloved story.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I don't agree this is "dry" reading. Ruth's Journey is exactly that--her life, her times, her sorrows and her joys. I read Gone With the Wind the summer after 7th grade. It took me all summer. I Loved it! The writer (Donald McCaig) has studied Margaret Mitchell's style, and I could have read this as an almost-8th grader, too. I appreciated the insights into, not only Mammy, but the underlying details of other characters such as Ellen, Ashley Wilkes and Scarlet--how they arrived at who they were when Gone With The Wind began. It was a good and satisfying read.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
deenah byramjee
I read this book and was so disappointed. This author had no clue of who Ruth was. First of all she was a free servant, never a slave and was treated as family. She thought very highly of herself and the family, She would not have refer to herself as this writer had. This book was more about the families and not Ruth. I force myself to finnish this book hoping that he would get it right. He was not the right person to write this book. He has no clue of the black experience. I believe a black author with black history education would have been more sensitive to this character who was very wise. I give this book a poor mark.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jill santos
With the permission of Margaret Mitchell's estate, Donald McCaig has taken the "Gone With the Wind" character of Mammy back in time and shared her with readers since her early days on a Caribbean island. Her story begins when she's taken in by a white couple after her mom's death and brought to Savannah. From there, Ruth as she's known to all becomes a strong woman who survives slavery, war, love and death.. The role she plays in the lives of Fournier and O'Hara families is much more than that of housekeeper. She is a confidante, a rock and a guiding hand to the unforgettable "Gone With the Wind" characters.

Note: ARC copy from Netgalley
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
First half of book was boring and rest was b s. Katie Scarlett was never a horse riding tomboy with brown hands. Sure did veer from original great story. Can't believe M M's heirs allowed this book. Sad.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
allison mikulewich
Hard trying to figure out where the author is taking you . It seems like parts of the story are missing and he switches from one story to another before your can finish the first. Not really anywhere next to GONE WITH THE WIND style. I was very disappointed in this book and he should not be allowed near any of the other characters!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
I am an avid Gone with the Wind fan. I was quite excited at the prospect of a novel from Mammy's viewpoint. This concept had truly solid and interesting potential.

PROS: This is a well-written and researched book.

CONS: I recognized none of our beloved GWTW characters except their names. Mommy's origin story makes several contradictions with Margaret Mitchell's novel. I won't ruin it with spoilers but I was seriously disappointed with this book.

Think twice before buying - it should be in the dollar bin soon enough.

I've read GWTW at least twenty times. I'm going right now to get off my shelf to re-read and get this book out of my head.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
brahmasta adipradana
I was highly disappointed in the story. It read like a first time writer who didn't quite make the grade. The story didn't flow and, as a previous reviewer wrote, didn't follow the true history of the character. When he tried to write like the slaves would be speaking, it was hard to comprehend. I felt it ended abruptly, like he wanted to quit the story and go for lunch. Would not recommend to someone who is a fan of Gone with the Wind. You will be disappointed.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
neha pol
I am adjective-jacking from another review..... tedious indeed. I was delighted and intrigued to learn a prequel featuring Mammy was going to be published. I've been an avid reader since preschool age, when Little Golden Books were a thrilling reward for behaving while my mom shopped at A&P. Every reader has their niche, the type of book that envelopes them. I am sure others will love the book. For me, it just doesn't hold my interest at all. I kept looking for that page to appear where the book takes off and you become engrossed in the characters and story. Didn't happen. Tedious and droning.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
carolyn abrams
This should have gone with the wind...What were they thinking to let this book be written and published? I did not EVEN understand what the heck was going on in the first few chapters. But, I decided to continue. I got as far as the duel. Read reviews and decided that my time would he better spent just staring out the window.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
This was authorized? What was the Margaret Mitchell estate thinking?

Dry. Flat. Uninteresting. A wet rag. Boring, unlike the character of Mammy. Just sad. Doesn't do her character well at all.

Highly disappointed. My only plus out of this is that I reviewed for the publisher so I didn't spend hard earned money on it.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Very poor writing! This book is such a let down. I couldn't finish reading it. The writing is choppy, the dialect is terrible, and the author has a tendency to drop big or strange words on the reader continuously as though to prove something. I wasted my money on this one. Don't make the same mistake.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
McCaig’s book Ruth, is a prequel to Gone With The Wind that tells the back story of Scarlet’s mammy, Ruth.
This is a hard book to review. While I enjoyed the book itself, I don’t believe it accurately portrays the true slave experience in the South during this time period. While Ruth/Mammy’s life isn’t always easy, neither does she appear to suffer what I believe to be the reality most slaves faced during this period. Ruth is at times portrayed as almost friendly with the whites who seem to genuinely care for her. There is some brutality in the book, but it is almost glossed over. That being said, McCaig has definitely been faithful to the mint julep, happy slaves, kind Masters, pro slavery of Gone With The Wind.
I’m just not sure that’s a good thing.
Please RateA Novel of Mammy from Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind
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