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The Not Exactly Scarlet Pimpernel Paperback – June 5, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
So. An author whose works I thoroughly enjoy wrote an "allegedly" historical novel based on "The Scarlet Pimpernel." I bought it, but due to life stuff happening, didn't begin to read it until early this week. Working my way through the book's early pages, I wondered how this was going to relate to the famous protagonist because it seemed to be set in contemporary times.
Well, I kept on reading, figuring that eventually the connection to French Revolution times would become clear. It did. Big time! I was totally unprepared, stunned actually, for how Ms. Lesley crafted the story about one of the most turbulent times in European history, using the framework of a classic novel in an absolutely ingenious way. I won't spoil the surprise, but just imagine a Star Trek Holo-Deck experience merged with "The Scarlet Pimpernel" and be prepared for one surprise after another. It was difficult to stop reading because I just had to know what crazy thing was going to happen next!
The thought has crossed my mind that, having read "The Not So Scarlet Pimpernel," reading the original story might be a let-down. I may never read it.
Placed into the body of France's most beautiful actress, our heroine (a Ph.D candidate) first dismisses her host as a birdbrained fool but soon comes to think of her as a sister. Together the two must work with the period's most swashbuckling hero to defeat the darkest villain of post-revolutionary France. Not to mention, win the game and her teacher's respect.
If you're not into "chic lit" then know that the humor of a 21st-century graduate student trapped in the mannered world of 18th-century Europe is priceless. Adventure, romance, humor--an unbeatable combination.
The down side? The occasional French phrases are like little stumbling blocks for those of us not fluent in the language. But you can ignore them without losing any of the story. On the other hand, you can look them up and build your vocabulary.
It is important to note that you don't need to have read The Scarlet Pimpernel (by Baroness Orczy, 1905) to enjoy Lesley's book but it does help. Things get more interesting when the VR explorers step away from Orczy's plot and have to improvise. This is where Lesley shines.
I thought the book was historical fiction when I purchased it. I think it fell better into the historical fantasy category which is not my favorite genre. For readers savvy to computer generated realities and other such matters, it might not have any fantasy elements at all. Besides, a little whimsy never hurt anyone!
What is very obvious to me is that this author is rich in a talent that will transfer to any genre she chooses.
Thank you, Ms. Lesley, for a good read.
The Scarlet Pimpernel with a pinch of Georgette Heyer – what could possibly go wrong? Sadly, having endured the frequently execrable purple prose of Baroness Orczy herself more than once for love of Sir Percy Blakeney, and having sampled a few modern offerings that claim to be in the style of Heyer, I can tell you – plenty.
So let me firstly say that I particularly enjoyed that the author has picked up Baroness Orczy’s – let’s call it dated to be kind, but it really is awful even for 1905 – florid and cliché-riddled writing style, and the many plot holes, inconsistencies and omissions in The Scarlet Pimpernel, and run with them. It is these very flaws that very cleverly provide the opportunities for the competitors in the virtual reality game to recast the story to their advantage. Nice to know I wasn’t the only one bothered by the inconsistencies in the original, and hats off to Lesley for such an ingenious way of getting over the issues!
I certainly recognise a cracking good romance when I read it but I wouldn’t have a clue about the validity of the science behind the virtual reality set-up. It all made sufficient sense for it not to be a problem for me, though. I’ve seen docos on CG animation that seem impossible.
Now you could be picky and question whether a university history professor would ask such a thing of his students (those of my acquaintance wouldn’t know a virtual reality game if it hit them in the face – if a virtual reality game could do that?). And they certainly wouldn’t admit to knowing The Scarlet Pimpernel inside out. But hey, this is romance, OK? Move along, haters.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed the fusion of ultra high tech with romantic history. This is the perfect fantasy for those who wish they could go back to a more interesting time in history and relive... Read morePublished on August 21, 2012 by ebrigham
Exciting and intriguing, "The Not Exactly Scarlet Pimpernel" is a brilliant reworking of the classic novel by Baroness Orczy. Read morePublished on August 14, 2012 by Colleen M. Kelley
I very much liked this book. Very well writen and and it has adventure, romance and humour.I didn't think I would like this book but I always like to give books a chance. Read morePublished on July 23, 2012 by Chantale F