Ruth's Journey: A Novel of Mammy from Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind (Paperback)
A Novel of Mammy from Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind
Atria Books, 9781451643541, 400pp.
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
"Exquisitely imagined, deeply researched, Donald McCaig's Ruth's Journey brings to the foreground the most enigmatic and fascinating figure in Gone with the Wind. This is a brave work of literary empathy by a writer at the height of his powers, who demonstrates a magisterial understanding of the period, its clashing cultures, and its heartbreaking crises" (Geraldine Brooks, author of March). "Her story began with a miracle." On the Caribbean island of Saint Domingue, an island consumed by the flames of revolution, a senseless attack leaves only one survivor--an infant girl. She falls into the hands of two French emigres, Henri and Solange Fournier, who take the beautiful child they call Ruth to the bustling American city of Savannah. What follows is the sweeping tale of Ruth's life as shaped by her strong-willed mistress and other larger-than-life personalities she encounters in the South: Jehu Glen, a free black man with whom Ruth falls madly in love; the shabbily genteel family that first hires Ruth as Mammy; Solange's daughter Ellen and the rough Irishman, Gerald O'Hara, whom Ellen chooses to marry; the Butler family of Charleston and their shocking connection to Mammy Ruth; and finally Scarlett O'Hara--the irrepressible Southern belle Mammy raises from birth. As we witness the difficult coming of age felt by three generations of women, gifted storyteller Donald McCaig reveals a portrait of Mammy that is both nuanced and poignant, at once a proud woman and a captive, a strict disciplinarian who has never experienced freedom herself. But despite the cruelties of a world that has decreed her a slave, Mammy endures, a rock in the river of time. She loves with a ferocity that would astonish those around her if they knew it. And she holds tight even to those who have been lost in the ravages of her days. Set against the backdrop of the South from the 1820s until the dawn of the Civil War, here is a remarkable story of fortitude, heartbreak, and indomitable will--and a tale that will forever illuminate your reading of Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind.