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Scarlet Pimpernel, The Hardcover – November 20, 2002
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'Anyone who feels that their outward manner is but a travesty of their inner self can hardly fail to respond to The Scarlet Pimpernel' -- Independent --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.
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Yes and yes. Once introduced to the enigmatic hero, the Scarlet Pimpernel, who uses his wits and a series of unique disguises to rescue French aristocrats from the guillotine, my students were, like me, hooked.
And what’s not to love? A broad pallet of well-developed characters, a classic, good-versus-evil mission, the pain of human weakness, and a subtle smattering of pleasing irony are satisfying at any age. With some well-chosen guide questions, this age group was able to unravel some of the causes and issues inherent in the French Revolution, explore themes such as deception, heroism, and the destructive nature of pride in relationships, and learn from the author’s use of setting and pace to advance her plot lines. As for the vocabulary, they washed it right down with a healthy dose of good, plain fun.
The book was a little slow to get started while it spent time introducing the main characters in the story. There is a bit of a mystery as to the identity of The Scarlett Pimpernel, although it doesn’t take long to figure it out. From there, we learn about the daring exploits of 20 Englishmen noblemen – 19 followers and one mysterious leader – who set about the task of saving people from the guillotine by sneaking them out of France by any means possible. The mysterious leader, The Scarlett Pimpernel, gets his name from a piece of paper left behind whenever his band rescues someone, as the paper bears a small red flower found in England among other countries.
I enjoyed the book, as it lauded the efforts of men who did not stand idly by while others were in need. I also enjoyed the tension the author developed around Marguerite St. Just, a beautiful French actress, who married an English nobleman. Much of the story is told from her perspective to include events on in both France and England.
*History in a Hurry: French Revolution by John Farman" was what I read to supplement my lack of knowledge.
Get it, read it. You will not be disappointed if you have any romanticism and love of adventure in your heart.
While is starts slightly slowly it rises steadily and I'm convinced it would hook young audiences today but readers are so accustomed to fast action intro novels with enormous world-apocalypse at stake (Hunger Games, Program, Maze Runner, Divergent, etc.). Not sure how they can keep leveling up books like that.
Maybe it's time to read a story with actual historical-based drama with the same fun and thrilling development (and not written for adolescent readers specifically)
Most recent customer reviews
I like all the characters and setting.
It is one of my all-time favorites.