Monday, January 18, 2010

The Scarlet Pimpernel - Baroness Emmuska Orczy

Summary: In 1792, during the French Revolution's Reign of Terror, an English aristocrat known to be an ineffectual fop is actually a master of disguises who, with a small band of dedicated friends, undertakes dangerous missions to save members of the French nobility from the guillotine. (Summary courtesy Amazon.com)

My Review: Dashing hero, dangerous setting, beautiful woman, a secret society, crafty viliian. Sigh...all the things needed for an action-adventure.

This book is filled with the delicious suspense of watching the heroine slowly discover who the Pimpernel is and realize how terribly she misjudged her actions. The process is terribly romantic and, if you strip away the "cleverest woman in Europe" and the rich dashing nobleman, the fateful misunderstanding between the two is easy to relate to (effective communication is key in any relationship!).

Wikipedia and I agree that the Scarlet Pimpernel is the Batman of the 1790s with the same gorgeous, arrogant and lazy cover that the newer Batman utilizes. (I'll let you guess who I was imagining as the Pimpernel :)

While not literature, this book is a classic and very worth reading. It is set during the French Revolution and describes the actions of the rebellion in a negative way (its hard to sugar coat the daily murdering of 100+ aristocrat men, women, and children). For that reason it was educational and a reminder that I know very little about non-US history. I am now adding "Tale of Two Cities" to my reading list.

My rating: 4 stars

Sum it up: A quick read if you want to snuggle down with a dashing hero for the evening.

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