Wind Done Gone
Randall's brilliant first novel tells some of what Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind left untold about the racial underbelly of southern gentility. Cynara is Scarlett O'Hara's half-sister, the child of Captain O'Hara and Mammy, before she made herself sexually unavailable under her enormous weight. Cynara's diary of life as a mulatto at Tara and during Reconstruction reveals jealousy, resentment, hypocrisy, well-guarded family secrets, and personal redemption. She writes of her transformation from resentful slave to independent-minded woman, recalling especially her father's treachery as, unable to bear freeing her, he sells her away from her home to avoid her inevitable fate as bedmate to Scarlett's husband. Yet, through a twist of fate, Cynara ends up in a brothel frequented by Rhett Butler. In Randall's South, slaves aren't childish simpletons but clever manipulators with much more depth and texture of character than Mitchell allowed them in her portrayal of a South without racial brutality and miscegenation. Through Cynara, Randall speaks poignantly for those habitually forgotten or silenced in the history of the Old South. She risks being silenced herself, however, for the trust that owns the copyright for Gone with the Wind is suing to block publication of The Wind Done Gone, and a trust attorney has accused Randall of "wholesale theft of major characters."
From Publishers Weekly
On April 20, barely a month before the scheduled publication of Randall's retelling of Gone with the Wind from a slave's perspective, a federal district court in Atlanta pulled the plug, ruling that the first-time author had engaged in "unabated piracy" in the crafting of her tale. Whether the book ever makes it into readers' hands, it stands as a spirited reimagination of Mitchell's world, dependent on its predecessor for its context but independent in form and voice. A slip of a tale next to the massive bulk of Mitchell's saga, it relies on tart social observations and imaginative language and, yes, titillating speculation (Ashley ["Dreamy Gentleman"] is gay; Rhett ["R."] betrayed Scarlett ("Other") the night their daughter died) for its appeal. Supplanting elite white Southern society with an elite Creole community, the novel features heroine Cynara (also called Cinnamon and Cindy), Other's mulatto half-sister and R.'s full-time concubine. Cynara is educated; she keeps a diary, through which she tells her story. Settled in a house of her own in Atlanta, she recalls her childhood and describes at length her resentment of her mother Mammy's preference for Other. Cynara has known misery (she was sold to the madam of a whorehouse), but also good fortune: later, she accompanied R. on a grand tour of Europe. After much dwelling on her past, she is finally happily distracted by a romance with a black congressman in Washington. Randall's account of the situation of slaves and mixed-race offspring in the antebellum South sometimes slides into a fantasy of empowerment, but her insights are frequent and sharp. Part playful fabrication, part bid for redemption, and full-on venture into our common literary past, her contested work is best defined as honest fiction.