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By Amazon Customer on 02-24-17
Sometimes Nostalgia Comes Up Short
This is one of those classics that define the genre. It is the tale of the Scarlet Pimpernel, an unknown hero, who is whisking doomed French nobles out of France during the Reign of Terror. As a very bookish preteen I read this book a couple of times, always thrilling to the daring Pimpernel, the fiendish villain Chauvelin who is obsessed with capturing and killing him, and the beautiful wife who is torn between the Pimpernel and her hostage brother. As a romantic child who had been brought up watching Errol Flynn movies (still my favorites!) and thrilling to Dumas' Musketeers, I was almost saddened by how dated this book is. This book is dated melodrama now, with not nearly the humor and depth of character which still enliven the works of Dumas. The plot that unfolds is totally predictable and repetitive.
Speaking of repetitive, one of the annoyances of this book is the production of the recording itself. The narrator, B.J. Harrison, is competent although his French accent is a bit hammy. I kept thinking of the inspector from the Pink Panther movies. But there are a lot of glitches where the words or entire lines are repeated. This seemed more of a nuisance than a substantive problem.
Still, after listening to this, I just gave a small, sad smile. Thomas Wolfe said "You can't go home again." This book, one of my treasured childhood reading experiences, was one that didn't fare well for me as a middle-aged man.
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