Today I started to listen to The Scarlet Pimpernel. Again. And I couldn’t wait to tell you about it, because it’s one of my favorite stories! Although I would usually tell you that I prefer a nice hardback book, there are times when I must listen to a book instead. And the next best thing to a hardback is a well-recorded audio.

I was first introduced to The Scarlet Pimpernel when my childhood friend showed me the 1982 movie. I fell in love with it. The actors, the storyline, everything about it. We watched it three times that day, and I have watched it at least 100 times since. Did I say it’s one of my favorites?

Then I found out that the movie was based on a book, so of course the first time I came across that book, I bought it. If you ever get the chance, read it, listen to it, and watch the movie. I think you will enjoy it too.

Now for the story: The Scarlet Pimpernel is set in the middle of the French Revolution, when the French commoners were killing French aristocrats. Their weapon of choice was Madame la Guillotine. An Englishman, known only as “The Scarlet Pimpernel” begins to rescue the imprisoned aristocrats. Using elaborate disguises and well-planned schemes, he and his band of men smuggle the former nobles out of Paris and away from death. Who is this man? Can the French Republic capture him before he steals away any more “aristos”?

The story is told from the view of Lady Marguerite Blakeney. Once the “Queen of Intelligent Society” in Paris, the Lady finds herself in a loveless marriage to a lazy, “foppish” English gentleman. One day, she is approached by a representative of the French Republic, a former friend named Chauvelin. He tasks her with finding out who this Scarlet Pimpernel is. He threatens to turn her brother over as a spy if she will not help him. Though she is angered and initially refuses, she eventually agrees, for she fears her brother is the only soul left on earth who loves her.

Lady Blakeney learns too late that when she betrays the Scarlet Pimpernel, she also betrays everything she ever loved. She faces great danger when she tries to right her wrong. She must hide in the shadows, tread barefoot through the night forest, and risk being caught by those who would do her harm before she can find the forgiveness and undying love she always craved.

The first copy I bought of The Scarlet Pimpernel was a Penguin Press paperback that I may still have in my library (if I haven’t given it away). But on one of my trips to St Augustine, I found a beautiful collector’s edition at the used bookstore, Second Read Books. It has a box cover and several glossy pictures. It was printed in 1997 by The Folio Society. When I don’t have time to sit and read, I will listen to the audiobook on Spotify or YouTube. It is a LibriVox recording performed by Karen Savage, who does a wonderful job.

I hope that you will decide to pick up a copy for yourself. I am sure you will thoroughly enjoy The Scarlet Pimpernel.