Scarlet by Jen Geigle Johnson
The roads in and out of Paris are heavily guarded, but the dead have easy passage out of the city. A ragged old woman transports the coffins of the most recent victims of the guillotine and is waved on unimpeded. Later, the same crone watches five French aristocrats step out of their coffins unscathed. Not beheaded, but spirited away to safety by that most elusive of spies: the Pimpernel. Or, as she’s known in polite society, Lady Scarlet Cavendish.
When not assuming her secret identity as a hero of the French Revolution, Scarlet presents herself as a fashionable, featherbrained young widow flitting about London. In truth, this façade is merely a diversion designed to conceal her clandestine work in France. Among members of the doomed French aristocracy, the Pimpernel is renowned for her bravery and cunning. But when tasked with rescuing handsome Comte Matteo Durand, she faces an unprecedented challenge: she is falling in love with the man. If ever there was a time to keep her head, it is now—because in a world brimming with intrigue, she is not the only one harboring secrets. And if Scarlet doesn’t take care, Madame la Guillotine may finally catch up with the Pimpernel . . .
This book starts out a little rough. It got to the point where I was thinking it was going to be one of those books that I was just going to have to slog through and hope for the best. If you feel that way, keep your chin up, it gets much better. I was not a fan of the romance between Scarlet & Matteo. It was too rushed and there was just not much depth to it at all. For me, I prefer romance stories that develop and build up over time. If you go into this book knowing that the French Revolution is the main focus of the story and the romance is secondary to that, it's a bit easier to handle. (I still think it happened too fast though.) I found myself wanting to hurry up and get through all the romance stuff so that I could get back to the revolution part. That was the part of the book that I found completely fascinating. I know next to nothing about the French Revolution, and it was just amazing to me to read all of these things that happened. I was horrified that people were so bloodthirsty and cheering on each execution of the noble families. I find myself wanting to go and learn a lot more about what happened then, along with learning more about all of the different characters that were mentioned and played some small part in this book. About the middle of the book is when it really started picking up and I found myself unable and unwilling to put it down. I became very invested in what was happening with Scarlet, Matteo, Simon and the others. Scarlet's work as The Seamstress was intriguing. Eleonor was just pure evil - even worse than Robespierre, who was pretty dang awful. I will probably read more from this author again, mostly for the historical stories. Andrea's Review: It has been several years since I've read The Scarlet Pimpernel, but I really enjoyed it, and have liked the adaptations I've read since then. I was intrigued by the description of Scarlet by Jen Geigle Johnson since Pimpernel is a woman (instead of a man like the other versions I've read). Johnson did a good job with this story, mixing fact with fiction, and creating a desire for me to learn more about the French Revolution. I can't wrap my head around people being so blood thirsty. This wasn't a particularly fast read for me, but I enjoyed it and wanted to know how everything was going to turn out. I liked Scarlet and her crew. Her relationship with Matteo was a whirlwind of a romance, but when they weren't focused on perceived deception, they were good together. This is a story that has stayed with me. Not so much for Scarlet, Matteo and her friends, but the historical situation. It was written from the side of those trying to rescue the nobles that were being denounced and sent for execution. I felt so bad for them, but am curious how another story written from the commoner's side would make me feel (not that I could ever get on board with the execution aspect). I like a book that makes me think, and Scarlet did just that. Tarah's Review:
I remember growing up and watching the Jane Seymour version of The Scarlet Pimpernel. We would watch this frequently and I loved it. Because of this when we decided to read it for book club I jumped right on board. I loved the movie, so the book had to be better, right? Well, maybe not for me. I will admit that in the book I did not like the leading female character at all. I found her wishy washy and unloyal. But I found I did love all things Scarlet Pimpernel. Stories, movies, music. It didn't much matter. So I was super intrigued by the retelling of this classic story, but with a woman as the Scarlet Pimpernel. I loved that take on it. It seemed to just fit with what the story is.
I can't imagine how difficult it would be to write a story that's already been done (in multiple different ways and mediums) and not only stay true to the original, but make it your own. The author did a remarkable job on this. Sure, some things aren't the same, but it followed the story amazingly well. For that reason the romance that happened super quickly didn't bother me at all. It happens rather quickly in the other mediums as well.
I will also say that this book is one that I have found myself thinking about long after. All of a sudden a scene will pop into my mind and I'll try to look at it in different ways or dissect how I think the characters are feeling. This was an extremely well written version.
*May 8th: https://www.
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Title: Scarlet Author: Jen Geigle Johnson Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. Published: May 2018 ISBN: 1524404683 Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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