The Scarlet Pimpernel is my literary hero (and news about a giveaway!)
One last book review of sorts before my Historical Fiction September draws to a close. This time I'd like to gush about a book that has a very dear spot in my heart as one of the first historical novels that I fell in love with: The Scarlet Pimpernel.
Oh, there were others before it...I had a healthy diet of Newbery titles in my childhood, and I'd binged on Johnny Tremain, Caddie Woodlawn, Adam of the Road, A Door in the Wall, Strawberry Girl. But The Scarlet Pimpernel was one of the first that made me dream with longing of experiencing that time for myself, despite the blood and violence and injustice of the French Revolution. It made me really think about the injustice itself, apply it to what I knew of today's world, make my own conclusions about the world I lived in as it was in the past and the present. I read it into the “wee hours,” dreamed about it all night, woke up and read it again. Then I pulled out the encyclopedia and read the entry on “French Revolution,” and several “also related” entries as well. I began writing my own novel about an aristocrat who escaped France—wrote exactly 42 pages, which was the most I'd ever written in a story up to that point, before my parents' computer crashed, leaving me with the first 17 that I'd printed out. At which point I realized that the story was really pathetic when you compared it to The Scarlet Pimpernel, which I had just re-read once more.
But recently I started thinking about that story again, and it keeps coming back to me. I lost myself in research for a few hours the other day, and I have the first seeds of a good plot planted in my mind. I know it will take a long time, through seasons of finishing other stories, before those new plants are ready to bear fruit. And I know that whatever it turns into will still pale in comparison to the Glorious Pimpernel in my eyes.
But maybe, someday, a teenager will read it and decide to write a story of her own.
I just hope her computer doesn't crash. :)