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The Last Adventure of the Scarlet Pimpernel: Book Two of Jane Austen's Fighting Men Kindle Edition
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Baroness Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel and Jane Austen's novels, predominantly Northanger Abbey are melded together for a sequel that takes place about twenty years after The Scarlet Pimpernel and a few years after the events of Northanger Abbey.
The Last Adventure of the Scarlet Pimpernel is also the second book in the Jane Austen's Fighting Men series following The Three Colonels. I've read both and personally I would describe it as a companion novel since this one begins during the first story and there are crossover characters and events. But that said, the shared events are minor since the main cast of characters and plot are new and follow it's own course.
The story opens with Captain Frederick Tilney fighting a duel of honor. Again. But this time, one of his best friends, Sir John Buford, tells him that Buford has taken stock of his life and plans to change- clean up his reputation and live honorably. This change involves cutting loose Frederick since Frederick still has no plans to change and still can't see where he has caused many of his own sticky situations. Buford's rejection is like a slap in the face. His other friend Blakeney stands by him, but also counsels caution.
Frederick keeps going on as he has been until he falls for Blakeney's now grown up sister, Violet. She is everything he wants and realizes that he wants to change for her. But unfortunately, a misstep and his past cause her father to cut him off.
The loss of his courtship to Violet along with his transfer to the Horse Guards and getting on the bad side of his new commander while getting the constant grumblings from his own father leave Frederick frustrated until the situation in France boils over and his lady is caught in the troubles. The Scarlet Pimpernel is forced out of retirement and Frederick wants in on the adventure.
This book was a pleasure from cover to cover. I did enjoy the weaving of classic stories together and it was well-done. While this primarily focused on certain Northanger Abbey characters, I enjoyed meeting oh so many more from all her novels and at least one novella. I've only watched the movie adaption of The Scarlet Pimperel, but I had no trouble recognizing old characters and seeing the ties to the past. I thought the author did great with bringing those characters, older and living their lives at peace, back to living color.
I also appreciated the brilliant move to make Frederick Tilney a main player and give this minor character in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey a chance to grow and turn into a dashing hero of honor. Yes, that was probably my favorite part was the remaking of Frederick Tilney.
But, I also enjoyed this new story with it's own original plot threads starting separate and then being brought together for that exciting and breath-taking ending. The historical settings were diverse and well drawn so that I could see them all so clearly whether Paris, English countryside or glittering London. I also enjoyed all the touches of military and espionage authenticities as these are strong elements. Then changing of the guard was a vivid scene as was Frederick's fencing scenes.
I am now quite eager for the next in this series and can't wait. I think fans of both classic authors would love this book, but also the broader audience of sweet historical romance.
The main character is Captain Frederick Tilney from Northanger Abbey, whose reputation seems to be damage beyond repair by the follies of his youth. Everyone seems to see him as a consummate rake and a user. He alienates many of his former friends. His father's meddling causes him to be transferred to the Royal Horse Guards Blue and means he will be destined to remain in Britain, and not be in a front-line regiment. His brother counsels him embrace humility.
His friend, George Blakeney, takes him to a ball, where the Captain is reintroduced to George's sister, Violet and he is instantly intrigued. He and Violet begin a tentative courtship. Her family is cautious, due to his reputation with women. A misunderstanding leads to Fredrick and Violet being separated, and Violet traveling to France to visit relatives. They both still harbor hopes that they will be allowed to continue their courtship.
While in Violet is in France, Napoleon escapes Elba and the situation puts Violet in danger. Frederick, still suffering over his reputation, is told he must stay in Britain and not deploy to the front lines. George enlist Frederick to assist him to travel to France to rescue Violet, but the first attempt is unsuccessful. The remainder of book is about the rescue of Violet and her father's secret life prior to his marriage and how it affects his daughter. and the possible redemption of Captain Tilney.
It is a very enjoyable book and Mr. Caldwell has a unique ability to render some of the most disliked characters in the Austen Universe likeable. There are appearances of many characters from multiple Austen novels interacting, which is great fun to Austen lovers. Highly recommended.
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And after reading several of his books, I have to agree.Read more