GWTW fans can't help but imagine what the author would have written in a followup. Margaret Mitchell refused to offer any clues about events that might happen after the ending of GWTW. Of course, I always imagine Scarlett getting her man.
To appease the public's hunger for more (and increase the coffers, no doubt), the Margaret Mitchell estate authorized two sequels: Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley and Rhett Butler's People (RBP)by Donald McCaig.
Rhett is such an intriguing man. In RBP, readers learn about events from Rhett's youth that form his adult character. Rhett's sensitivity and emphathy for the slaves and poor whites keeps him completely out of sync with the cruel world around him... especially with his harsh authoritarian father. The scenes between Rhett and Master Butler just broke my heart. Wish I could report Master Butler to social services! Overall, it was completely satisfying to meet and learn more about Rhett's family and friends especially the notorious Belle Watling.
Here are my observations of the two books but keep in mind that it has been at least three years since my last reading of Scarlett and I've only read it a couple of times
Rhett Butler's People opens during Rhett's childhood, many years before GWTW begins and closes several years after GWTW ends. Scarlett begins immediately after GWTW ends. Since both sequels were authorized, I expected the storyline of RBP to intersect that of Scarlett at some point. It didn't! McCaig completely disregarded any events that happened in Scarlett.
I've read that the Margaret Mitchell estate was embarrassed by the book Scarlett. Could that be why?
So which is my favorite ending... okay, I'll confess... I prefer the ending of Rhett Butler's People.