The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Emmuska Orczy

I read this because a group of friends decided to tackle a classic together, and this was the title that came up. The plan was to spend the month of January on it, and as there are 31 chapters in the book, it seemed simple enough. Then one after another of the group confessed that they had been unable to stop so had gone ahead and finished the book. That made discussion more challenging because spoilers had to be avoided for the sake of those still on schedule, and those who had finished couldn’t discuss the things which interested those who hadn’t. So after about ten days I decided to break with the plan as well.

As with most classics, it only took me a few pages before the older language patterns were unnoticed. I found the storyline amusing though I kept finding myself annoyed with Marguerite, the main female character. She prided herself on being so clever, and had always been told that she was, yet she was so witless and clueless and I found it very hard to root for her.

I’m glad I read the book, but have little interest in reading the other titles in the series. Amusing, but not profound or moving. I’d say 3.5 stars as it wasn’t a waste of time.

Available in the public domain, but the version I read was nicely formatted and worth the $1.99 it would cost if you want to pick up your own copy at


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