Hannah Betts in The Telegraph:
New Zealand Cousin Carol entered my life when I was a gauche eight-year-old, she a barely less gauche (being from NZ) 22. She stayed with my family at weekends, the two of us becoming unlikely room-mates. At her hands I was initiated in such feminine arcana as scouring my face off with a Buf-Puf (tick), giggling about boys (fail), and the merits of sexy underwear (happily then something of a pass). On one score, however, she proved the oracle. During one of our late-night conferences, she handed me a heavy tome, with a cover of a dancing girl in a jet crinoline. She was the most ravishing woman I had ever seen. “This is something you will need,” NZCC intoned, the weight of womanhood behind her. “Read it and you will understand why.” In one bound, I had been both Scarletted and Viviened.
…One learns that great love may be merely an idea – and a wrong idea, at that. Scarlett World exemplifies the principle that no one can rescue you but yourself: that life means taking responsibility for – then clawing one’s way out of – a series of monumental mistakes; tomorrow, as ever, being another day. Better be all woman than some sappy lady. Not all heroines are blonde. Charm is more important than beauty (as the novel’s opening line asserts: “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom noticed it when caught by her charm…”) Flirting can be a girl’s most powerful weapon, for which the right outfit is key, even when one has to drag down one’s late mother’s curtains. Bosoms may indeed be strategically bared before noon.