Up Next: ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel’

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy

  • Date began: Jan. 25, 2012
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Project: n/a
  • Reading List: Winter 2011-12
  • Got it: At one point, I took stock of all of Joel’s and my books and made a list of the books we owned that I hadn’t read (within reason — I’m not picking up his engineering textbooks anytime soon). The Scarlet Pimpernel was a book of Joel’s I hadn’t read. Joel can’t really tell me why he owns it — he can’t remember reading it — and I’m a little confused on that score as well (we took the same high school English classes). But you know me: if there’s a book in the house I haven’t read: watch out.
  • Why I picked it up: See above (re: watch out!). On a side note: it’s always a little refreshing to stumble across a “classic” that I know nothing about. I mean, I had heard of The Scarlet Pimpernel, but after reading the back of the book, I realized I knew absolutely nothing about it. This is kind of fun, but I also assume these books are challenging me, and so I tend to attack them mercilessly.
  • Back of the book: By 1792, the idealism of the French Revolution had degenerated into a Reign of Terror. Ruthless mobs ruled the streets of Paris; and each day, hundreds of royals were executed by the guillotine, with hundreds more condemned to follow. Their only hope lay in being rescued by the Scarlet Pimpernel, the daring leader of an English faction that spirited aristocrats across the Channel to safety. But who was this Pimpernel, whose nom de guerre derived from the scarlet wildflower he employed as a calling card? First published in 1905, this historical adventure story — timeless in its appeal — is an irresistible blend of romance, intrigue, and suspense. Readers will thrill to the gallantry of its elusive, brave and dashing hero who becomes the darling of the people, particularly Marguerite Blakeney, who scorns her foppish husband, Percy, as ardently as she admires the Pimpernel.

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