Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Scarlet Pimpernel - Baroness Emmuska Orczy

the scarlet pimpernel
baroness emmuska orczy
c. 1905
250ish pages
completed 12/20/2008

read for: decades challenge

*may contain spoilers*

I'll start off by saying I had already seen the mini-series so I already knew who the Pimpernel was so that surprise was not exactly a surprise...

I think it's worthy of noting how the main idea of this book, the main point of the Pimpernel himself, is the opposite of almost all other heroes like this. Zorro, Robin Hood, the Scarecrow...they were all against the rich and for the poor. The rich, the aristocracy, were all evil oppressors who lived in luxury on the shoulders of the poor. The Scarlet Pimpernel, on the other hand, is the opposite. He rescues the aristocratic French from the masses. The people are CRAZY in their blood lust. Normally, you're totally on the side of the peasants, they're the good people. And because of that...I'm not totally sure if I'm supposed to be 100% for the French aristocrats. I mean, yes, the French masses are kind of out of control with their Reign of Terror, but...they were being oppressed. Right? That being said...

I really enjoyed that this was not a normal adventure story. It wasn't told from the perspective of the adventurer, it was told through the eyes of his wife. You weren't privy to the emotions and motives of the Pimpernel, instead you saw his wife dealing with her emotions of love for her husband despite his apparent lack of affection for her, her trying to win back her husband's love, and her struggle between saving her husband and betraying her brother. It was a very entertaining and different setup.

I also have to say, I love Sir Percy. LOVE him. Yes, he's proud and unrelenting in his coldness toward Margeurite, but that small scene right after she told him about the trouble Armand was in, after she'd left him on the terrace, secured my everlasting love. The ice around his heart melted for a moment, and he fell to his knees, kissing the place she had just stood. How sad.


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