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The Scarlet Pimpernel

by Baroness Emusska Orczy
288 pages, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by Jeanne

Intriguing read with some alcohol content and background violence.

Plot

Set in the time of the French Revolution, a French actress married to an English nobleman and now living in England watches in fear as her brother's life is put in peril. As her own sins from the past come to light, Marguerite can only pray that the mysterious man who risks his life to save the French nobles will also save her brother.

Morality

Marguerite has a good deal of wickedness in her past and does some sneaking and lying, but she comes clean in the end. Because this is set in the time of the French Revolution, when morals were not high, the reader should expect some blurring of the lines between right and wrong. The Scarlet Pimpernel risks his life to save the nobility of France, who are being executed by the people; those who support the Revolution usually also support the butchering of the royalty (which isn't smiled upon). The story is more a romance than anything else and morality is not the main focus.

Spiritual Content

None.

Violence

The nobles of France are beheaded, though nothing is described graphically. Another character is said to have been beaten. Because the novel is set during the French Revolution, background violence is to be expected.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Wine is drunk in some parts of the story, and one or two off-stage characters are briefly referred to as drunk.

Sexual Content

A maid flirts with some men at a pub and Marguerite, though married, does the same, though it never becomes "serious." There is also an instance when it appears that she is going to run away with her husband's friend. Most of the story revolves around the romance between Marguerite and Sir Percy, but they are already married by the time the book starts. There is no sex involved or referenced anywhere.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

Marguerite's husband says 'Odd's life!' and 'Odd's fish', and also such words as 'd***' and 'd***ed'. "Begad" (by God) is also used. Other characters use the same words.

Conclusion

'The Scarlet Pimpernel' is a well-written, intriguing tale of the Revolution in France. The suspense and mystery are mixed with the romance of the story, and the tale of revived love is very pretty. However, opinions vary on the values of the story; while this is a favorite with some readers, others do not care for the way love is portrayed without reference to God. Readers ought to be old enough to discern for themselves, and should keep in mind how harsh the time was in which this book is set.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 3
Written for Age: adult

Review Rating:

Average rating: 5 stars
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