The Scarlet Pimpernel is a classic historical fiction novel about a mysterious figure, after whom the title is named, who rescues French nobility from the guillotine. He is famous both in France and England for his cunning disguises and daring rescues of the aristocrats from under the very noses of the people who want them dead. His identity is a secret which both his archnemesis, Chauvelin, and his great admirer, Marguerite Blakeney, desire to know. Marguerite, who is unsatisfied in her marriage to the foppish Percy Blakeney, becomes entangled in the fate of the elusive Scarlet Pimpernel by Chauvelin. She makes a grave mistake, which, upon realizing, seeks to undo, traveling as far as France in her desperation. When the identity of the hidden hero becomes known to Chauvelin, he, too, travels to France, attempting to capture his enemy. He appears to succeed, but, once again, the Scarlet Pimpernel pulls off a great escapade, saving not only his loyal followers, but also the beautiful Marguerite.
I loved the swashbuckling action in this book. I found it especially interesting because I enjoy learning about the French Revolution, at which time this book is set. Marguerite and the Scarlet Pimpernel are alluring characters, especially the latter, who draws you in with his mystery and bravery. However, the former character is relatable, and the way her emotions are described make you sympathize with her. I enjoyed seeing her character growth throughout the story, and the way she gallantly admitted to and tried to amend for her mistakes was impressive and intriguing. Both her and the title character are excellent role models: exemplifying courage, kindness, and selflessness. Overall, I would give this book five stars, and would recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction, romance, or the classics.