Recently I took advantage of an opportunity to download twenty-five literary classics to my Nook for a whopping ninety-nine cents. Many of them are books I’ve read before and have copies of on my bookshelves, but they’re also books I tend to reread, so having them available on the Nook means if I ever get stranded somewhere–a waiting room, a vacation, a restaurant–and finish a book, I have options of old favorites on standby. There were also some I’ve never read, like Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island, so many of those will be fun to discover for the first time.
Among those books that I had read was Baroness Emmuska Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel. I first received this when I was eleven in one of the Reader’s Digest Condensed Books our minister gave me. I remember that I loved it as a kid. How could I not love a book with characters with names like Armand St. Just, Citoyen Chauvelin, or Lord Stowmarries?
Since I’d read only the abridged version, it was enjoyable to experience the full novel as an adult. Well, except for the gross guillotine parts. (Ha. Parts. See what I did there?)
Also in this childhood collection: my second version of Tom Sawyer. The Good Earth bored the shit out of me–maybe I should try that one again? I’m sure Robin Hood was fun, too, though it didn’t make the same impression on me as The Scarlet Pimpernel.
Missing from the Nook and such a good part of a child’s reading experience: the illustrations.
I don’t know how I missed this information as a kid, because it says right in the introduction to the novel, that there were several more books about the adventures of the master of disguise and his League of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Or maybe I didn’t miss it, but that was when I was in the school where I could only get one book a week from the library, and there were others higher up my list that I wanted to read.
According to Wikipedia, the Scarlet Pimpernel helped inspire such characters as Zorro and Batman. They do share a sartorial choice: capes!