*****The Scarlet Pimpernel
by Baroness Orczy
October 24, 2001.
A Sonderbooks' Best Book of 2002
(#4, Fiction Rereads)
Available at Sembach Library (JF ORC)
I believe it was my friend Ruth who first introduced
this book to me when we were in high school. Thanks a million,
Ruth! This is the story of a daring and brilliant Englishman
who cleverly rescues French aristocrats from the guillotine and into
England during the time of the French Revolution. He is a master
of disguise, and all of London society, not to mention the French
Revolutionaries, wants to find out his identity.
The plot is brilliant and the romance is delightful.
If possible, read the book before you watch the movie, to see if
the Scarlet Pimpernel can fool you as well as everyone else.
The Sembach Library does not have a copy of the book, but we do have
two different movie versions. (*Note: We later did get
the book!) I strongly recommend the older one, starring Jane Seymour,
which catches the flavor of the book. In the other more recent
movie version, the Scarlet Pimpernel merely hacks his way out of the
French prisons. They also throw a little gratuitous nudity, sex
and violence into what was a beautifully clean story. (A story
about the French Revolution that isn’t violent? Somehow, she
pulls this off.) In the book and the earlier movie, he uses his
cleverness and his excellent disguises. (The viewer does know his
true identity earlier than in the book, however.)
The copyright on the original book has expired, so there
are several different publishers with a version in print, last
I checked. The Baroness Orczy also wrote numerous sequels.
I got several years ago at a used bookstore, and recently ordered a
few more from Amazon.com. They looked like print-on-demand technology--I’m
simply thrilled to get a chance to read them. (I’m afraid they
are still sitting on my dresser while I’m reading Library books that
have a due date!)
Ruth tells me that now they’ve made a musical out of
the story. Some day. . . .
Reader Comment: I loved this book, and the Scarlet Pimpernel reminds
me so much of the guy I am crushin on! (She gives the book 5 Stars.)
Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.
All rights reserved.
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