From Nancy: Patsy has discovered a classic and she has lots to say about it. I’ve put it in two posts.

The Scarlet Pimpernel, written by Baroness Emmuska Orczy and first published in 1905, is a marvelous intellectual read with enough suspense to take your breath away. Your face will contort, and you will be on the edge of your seat as you near the end. The ending is so ingenious and beautiful that you will sigh with the satisfaction of having read a classic filled with lofty elements and supreme beauty.

This exceptional story takes place in 1792 during the early days of the French Revolution. Though a novel, the book reveals a portion of life at that time in history. Also, many of the characters grow and change in the course of the story. I recommend this book for high school students and adults.

The book centers on Sir Percy Blakeney, an Englishman and the hero of the story. He and other Englishmen rescue the aristocracy of France who are being sentenced to the guillotine during the French Revolution. Sir Percy is called the Scarlet Pimpernel because he signs his notes with a small red flower.

No one had seen these mysterious Englishmen; as for their leader, he was never spoken of, save with a superstitious shudder. Citoyen Foucquier-Tinville would in the course of the day receive a scrap of paper from some mysterious source; sometimes he would find it in the pocket of his coat, at others it would be handed to him by someone in the crowd, whilst he was on his way to the sitting of the Committee of Public Safety. The paper always contained a brief notice that the band of meddlesome Englishmen were at work, and it was always signed with a device drawn in red–a little star-shaped flower, which we in England call the Scarlet Pimpernel. Within a few hours of the receipt of this impudent notice, the citoyens of the Committee of Public Safety would hear that so many royalists and aristocrats had succeeded in reaching the coast, and were on their way to England and safety. There was a sum of five thousand francs promised to the man who laid hands on the mysterious and elusive Scarlet Pimpernel.

Marguerite Blakeney, formerly a French actress, is married to Sir Percy and has no clue that he is the hero. She admires the Scarlet Pimpernel, but never suspects her husband is he. She discovers her brother Armand St. Just is involved in helping the Scarlet Pimpernel and pleads with him to be careful. Her brief marriage to Percy has been estranged of late. In the earlier days things were wonderful between them, but now they both struggle with trusting and accepting each other as they are. Marguerite does not suspect that Sir Percy’s constant silliness and jovial attitude are a cover up for his other identity. This possibility comes to her mind near the end of the story.

To be continued.

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her five children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for 32 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”

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