The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.
Gown With The Wind by Stephanie Blackmoore is a parody of the classic movie Gone With The Wind. It has the famous line of “As G-d is my witness,” characters that have similar personalities, and names to match. Readers will have fun with the comparisons and might even be interested in viewing the timeless masterpiece movie.
Blackmoore noted, "I respect and enjoy the movie but I do wonder about the historical accuracy and the political correctness. Of course it is a wonderful story that I enjoyed re-watching as I picked apart things to lay on the relationship structure of Keith, Mallory, and Becca. There were a lot of echoes that I totally plucked.
As with the film, the book storyline has a murder, attempted murder, vandalism, and even arson. This is all happening during the planning of the wedding of Keith Pierce and Becca Cunningham. They have asked Keith’s ex-fiancé, Mallory Shepard to plan their wedding since she and her sister Rachel have turned a renovated Thistle Park, the home Mallory inherited from her ex-fiancé, Keith Pierce’s, grandmother in Port Quincy Pennsylvania, into a B&B and wedding/event venue. I do agree there are strong women characters that dominated the male characters. I chose to mirror them. For example, everyone was pushing Mallory to get married. Yet, she responded, ‘I don’t need to get married.’ I think both in the movie and my book the women characters don’t fit into roles people prescribe to them."
After Becca’s grandmother Alma, a huge Gone With The Wind collector, is strangled, the theme of the wedding is changed to this classic film to honor her. The bride-to- be found the perfect wedding dress that is a Scarlett O’Hara lookalike. Unfortunately, her childhood rival, Felicity Fournier, also a huge fan of the movie, wants the dress. After Felicity is found murdered Mallory decides to become an amateur sleuth. Besides planning a wedding, trying to find the culprits, Mallory also takes over the arranging for the upcoming reception of The Duchess Theater’s reopening. This old-time movie theater will play classic films beginning with Gone With The Wind. But during the premiere someone sets fire to the theatre almost destroying it. Mallory and company have their hands filled finding those responsible for all the disastrous events.
"I hope my characters mirrored the movie ones. I wrote this book quote that Alma says to Mallory, “Alma dismissed her daughter-in-law with a wave of her hand. ‘She can be helpful at times and is more of a Melanie Wilkes... All quiet strength and Goody Two-shoes affect. But for this project, we need more of a Scarlett-type woman. Someone like you, dear, or me.’” Mallory has some elements of Scarlett, but I think she is more like Melanie. As you mentioned earlier, Melanie is quiet, but strong in her own way, and is able to make decisions that change the course of everyone else’s life. Becca has the attitude, ‘Tomorrow is another day,’ similar to Scarlett’s. She forged ahead and made her own way. Becca woke up and muddled through with new plans because the old ones went up in flames. Keith and Ashley Wilkes are both wusses. I think he and Ashley from the movie are total doormats. Even the dog in story was named Wilkes."
During this holiday season people might want to snuggle up while reading this fun book. It is full of quirky characters and the Gone With The Windsimilarities makes the story very enjoyable.