I picked up The Scarlet Pimpernel because I read so many positive reviews of it that I was prompted to put it on my Classics Club list. (I’m afraid that the only reviews that come to mind now are Barbara’s and Lisa’s at 5 Minutes for Books. If you’ve read it and reviewed it, please link up your review in the comments!) As I noted in my reviews of what might be considered THE novels of the French Revolution–A Tale of Two Cities and Les Miserables–I took an undergraduate history course on the French Revolution and Napoleonic Period way back when, so I guess you could say that I have a slightly above-average amount of interest in it. I wouldn’t say that The Scarlet Pimpernel is at all in league with those two classics; Baroness Orczy‘s story is much simpler, with characters and motives that are generally less complex. Of course, the whole premise of the book–that the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel (which is the name of a flower but also the name under which our gallant hero, the rescuer of French nobles, operates) is unknown even to his wife, one of the sharpest wits in Europe, was somewhat difficult for me to swallow from the very beginning. (I mean–c’mon–even I, who can be a bit dense at times, figured that out pretty early on!) Once I bought that, I began to enjoy the story a lot more. It turned into quite a lovely little romance to me. In fact, it reminded me a little bit of one of my favorite movies, You’ve Got Mail, which is admittedly a very odd comparison. Lady Blakeney’s realization that her husband, whom she has come to almost despise, and the Scarlet Pimpernel are one and the same reminds me of this scene from You’ve Got Mail :
I wouldn’t exactly qualify this as fine literature, but it is a pleasantly diverting story and an exciting one, to boot. I’m glad I read it.