As a belated add on, I should mention that I found Mammy endearing.
In this spin-off, Mammy is given the name Ruth and her backstory is told. From her beginnings with Solange (Ellen's mother and Scarlett's grandmother) to her marriage to Jehu, and how she ended up going to Tara with Ellen, the author has used the small bits of information to re-tell her story.
For the most part, I found the story to be very interesting. However, while I was reading the book, I kept thinking:
Isn't Mammy supposed to be the main character?Most of the book isn't told from her perspective and the first section seemed to be about Solange and not Mammy. In fact, if I didn't know that this story was about Mammy, I would have assumed the protagonist was Solange. It's only when Mammy leaves and gets married to Jehu does the book start to focus on her. And only the last section (the last 90ish pages out of 290ish pages on my kindle) is told from her perspective.
And yet, while Mammy is telling the story, the focus is on Ellen and Scarlet. All in all, I had this curious sense that mammy, again, wasn't the central character of the book. She certainly is present throughout the book, but she feels like a supporting character rather than a main character.
Which is a pity because I was very interested in learning more about Mammy. In the original book, she's a loyal slave, and that's about it. While she certainly has more passion and feelings in this book, I think that it wasn't explored to the fullest extent.
In conclusion, this spin-off could have been great. The author has given Mammy a complex back-story, which could have evoked a lot of emotion from me. However, the nagging feeling that Mammy is, yet again, relegated to the sidelines is a major flaw that can't be overlooked.
Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.