Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Scarlet Pimpernel

Title: The Scarlet Pimpernel

Series:  Not necessarily a real series, but it is the first of Baroness Orczy's Scarlet Pimpernel books.

Year: 1905

Author: Baroness Emmuska Orczy

Summary: The Reign of Terror is at its height in France. Hundreds of aristocrats are being slaughtered daily by the cruel blade of the guillotine, but yet some have escaped. Entire families disappear from Paris, right out from beneath the shadow of the guillotine, their rescuer only leaving behind a small mocking note with a humble flower: a scarlet pimpernel. 

Main Characters:
~ Percy Blakeney
~ Marguerite Blakeney
~ Citizen Chauvelin
~ Armand St. Just

Review: My first thoughts toward this book could be described as hesitant. I had never liked learning about the French Revolution in History class as the guillotine always scared me, When I heard that The Scarlet Pimpernel was about people living during the French Revolution, I wrote the book down as one that I would probably read sometime or other in the future because it was a classic, but didn't necessarily look forward to reading it. 

Then when I joined blogger back in March on this year, a lot of what I read consisted of the great Scarlet Pimpernel. It was after weeks of reading fangirl post after fangirl post that I decided to give The Scarlet Pimpernel a try. I read it. It was awesome.

It had much less gore in it that I thought it would, a fact for which I was truly grateful. Sure, you had some guillotine scenes, but Baroness Orczy didn't go into graphic detail. The characters she wrote about were lively and memorable. The plot progressed nicely, with many pleasing and surprising twists, many thanks to the genius of the all-elusive Scarlet Pimpernel. His disguises and ploys never ceased to amaze me. The loyalty of the Scarlet Pimpernel's men to keep his identity a secret and their courage to follow him into danger even when they were not promised they would return alive was inspiring. There's not much more I can say on the topic.

And then right in the middle of all this you have the story of Marguerite Blakeney, once the most famous actress in Paris, now the wife of the foppish Sir Percival Blakeney, the toast of London fashion, a man who is completely obsessed with cravats. Marguerite's brother, Armand St. Just, has many ties to the French government and her old nemesis, Chauvelin, who will do anything to get the neck of the Scarlet Pimpernel to the guillotine. Chauvelin is just one of those villains you relish hating, and, oh, yes, I did relish with much satisfaction.

The only drawback would be the use of profanity within the story. Yes, I understand that people may have talked like that in that specific time, but I would rather not have to read it or read about it in a story that I would like to enjoy.

Advisory: Profanity and some violence

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Click here to buy The Scarlet Pimpernel on Amazon!


  1. I haven't read this yet, but it's on my kindle, so I plan to read it eventually. Oddly enough, I used to think that it was the sequel to the Scarlet Letter ... don't ask why. It had something to do with the fact that all I had were DVD versions, and the fact that they both had the word "Scarlet."

  2. YES!!!! You've read the Scarlet Pimpernel!!!! I adore this book and it is my absolute TOP FAVORITE book ever!! Truly an EPIC story!!! I can't say enough in it's praise so I'll let it go at this and spare you all my raving. :)

    You might like some of the other books in the series. I highly recommend The Elusive Pimpernel and El Dorado (this one is #2 top favorite).


Comment moderation has been enabled. Please make certain that all your comments contain appropriate subject, content, topic, and, most importantly, glorify God. Thank you!