Genre: Children's Classic
My Goodreads rating: 5 of 5
I simply love The Scarlet Pimpernel. This was my first time reading the book, but I have been a long time lover of the movie version with Anthony Andrews, Jane Seymour, and Ian McKellen. I also very recently was able to see the musical version. It was put on by the local high school. They did a pretty good job with it.
The Scarlet Pimpernel is set during the French Revolution. The French Aristocracy are all being executed by Madame Guillotine, but one Englishman and his band of followers are sneaking aristocrats out of the country to safety. That man is only known as the Scarlet Pimpernel, and his real identity is a mystery. The Committee of Public Safety, represented by a character named Chauvelin, would love nothing more than to see the Scarlet Pimpernel put to death by Madame Guillotine. Chauvelin uses all his wit, resources, and even blackmail to try to catch the Pimpernel. Here is a quote from the book that I found pretty well descriptive of Chauvelin's character:
He paused a moment, like a cat which sees a mouse running heedlessly by, ready to spring, yet waiting with that feline sense of enjoyment of mischief about to be done. Then he said quietly--This interaction takes place between Chauvelin and Marguerite Blakeney, whose brother Armand St Just is being used as a bargaining piece. Armand's safety is promised in return for the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Marguerite is a Frenchwoman who married an English dandy, Sir Percy Blakeney, who is generally viewed as the richest fool in England. Though Marguerite swears she has no idea who the Pimpernel is let alone discovering his identity, Chauvelin believes with her popularity as the most fashionable in England, as well as her connections to the Prince of Wales that she can find the information he needs. Little does Marguerite know, the Scarlet Pimpernel may be closer to her than she thinks.
'Your brother, St Just, is in peril.'
This is possibly the most recognizable quote in the book. I am so glad it was actually in the book, because it is in the movie, and absolutely the funniest thing when recited at a party by Percy Blakeney.
"We seek him here, we seek him there,Note that I didn't make a spelling error; that is really how they spell damned in the copy of the book I read.
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven? - Is he in hell?
That demmed, elusive Pimpernel."
I read this book as part of a Classics Challenge. It is the last book I am reading for the challenge. It won't be the last classic I read this year, however. So stay tuned for more Classic reviews.
Reader Questions: Are you a Pimpernel fan? If so which is your favorite adaption of the book: one of the multiple movie versions or the musical? Who is your favorite character. Without a doubt, my favorite character is Percy!
Looking for more information on the Scarlet Pimpernel? Check out the Scarlet Pimpernel website.