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Simon & Schuster and the estate of Margaret Mitchell have authorized the publication of a Gone with the Wind prequel novel. In it, author Donald McCaig will trace the history of Mammy, Scarlett O’Hara’s house servant, who never even got a real name in the original novel.
The book has already been completed and is titled Ruth’s Journey. According to Today.com, McCaig traces the character’s journey to Sannah, Ga. in the 19th Century.
McCaig has worked with the Mitchell family before, having written 2007’s Rhett Butler’s People. In 1991, Alexandra Ripley’s Scarlett, which was also authorized by the estate, was published, reports The New York Times.
Simon & Schuster’s Atria Books imprint Atria Books got the rights to McCaig’s new novel. The author is also known for the Civil War novel Jacob’s Ladder.
The publisher is so confident that the novel will be a success that it plans on publishing 250,000 hardcover copies.
Gone with the Wind was famously turned into a movie in 1939. The film won Best Picture and Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win an Oscar when she took home Best Supporting Actress for playing Mammy. Still, the book and movie have been criticized for one-dimensional African-American characters and that’s a criticism the new book will try to answer.