The Scarlet Pimpernel was first a play written by Baroness Orczy and it was so popular that she transcribed it into a novel in five short weeks. The story follows the french émigré, Marguerite Blakeney who is the toast of society in London but who is unhappy in her marriage to the fop, Sir Percy Blakeney. Meanwhile on the Continent the French Revolution rages on and a new hero has emerged from it. The Scarlet Pimpernel is responsible for saving the lives of numerous French aristocrats destined for the guillotine. But when Marguerite's brother falls into the hands of French authority she is forced to turn in the grand hero, that is if she can discover his identity.
After a slow beginning I found myself encapsulated in the wonderful world of 18th century London. I was also pleasantly surprised that the book was totally different from the movie. Marguerite seemed like she was modeled after Georgiana; at one point she was described as the leader of fashion. But it was Sir Percy who stole the show! Bored with society, and always amused with himself, this fashionable fop was not just amusing but a bit mysterious. I can't explain why he turned into a literary crush, but he did! Sadly though, as the book went on I found it dragged in all parts that did not contain Sir Percy. I think I can pinpoint this to when Orczy's main character went from a strong female to a weak, trapped female role.
Still, I really enjoyed The Scarlet Pimpernel despite my need for more Percy! Any historical romance lovers should give this book a try. Although the novel is labeled a mystery I find it more romantic than anything. The true mystery is why I can't help but be attracted to a fop!