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Lord Tony's Wife by Baroness Orczy
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Another great adventure. Percy is largely invisible for most of the book, which seems to be the best way for the Baroness to keep the suspense up, and although we know that our hero always wins, how exactly he is going to win keeps you guessing until the last minute. And as Marguerite appears only briefly to express distress over her husband running off into danger again, we don't have to deal with the contradiction between her rash behavior and her title of "cleverest woman in Europe" like we do in many of the books. ( )
  Unreachableshelf | Mar 16, 2010 |
The Pimpernel and League are in Nantes to rescue Lord Anthony Dewhurst's new bride, Yvonne de Kernogan, after Chauvelin conspires with an angry young man seeking revenge. Chauvelin half-heartedly supplies the schemes to feed the ire of Martin-Roget, whose father was hanged after a peasant uprising gone awry; Lady Dewhurst goes along for the ride, but shows reasonable strength and incredible generosity of spirit; she is the typical Orczy heroine, a dignified aristocrat and devoted wife, but is likeable and believable (Eldorado's Jeanne Lange, take note).

After colluding with the other League members, their wives, and the Prince of Wales at the Assembly Rooms in Bath, Sir Percy takes leave of Marguerite - tearful but resigned - and the reader, only to reappear in disguise in Nantes (I can only assume it was very, very dark in the town, or Chauvelin himself should have been guillotined after this meeting!) His escape is standard Orczy fare - cause a commotion, whip the townsfolk into a frenzy, and run like hell before anybody realises - but it's a fun League adventure for all that. There's an interesting twist where either Sir Percy double-bluffs Chauvelin, or Chauvelin imitates the Pimpernel's methods, and the reader has to wonder which character knows the other better - or too well - but all comes right in the end, of course.

Orczy's research into history and geography are employed well in this story - she manipulates and exaggerates accordingly, but the facts which she fleshes out with her own exciting melodrama are true enough: the setting of Nantes, and the amoral figure of Jean-Baptiste Carrier, inventor of the 'Noyades' (or drownings). I wondered if Carrier's assistant - catamite? - was based on an actual historical figure, too, but couldn't find anything on him; a darker relationship for the Pimpernel series, all the same! I was also impressed by Orczy's characterisation of Yvonne's proud and mercenary father, the Duc de Kernogan, who readily throws his lot in with Martin-Roget, blind to the true identity of the fugitive serf, in exchange for the promise of financial support for the royalist cause; who says that Orczy was prejudiced by class? Kernogan is a thoroughly unpleasant old man, redeemed only by his daughter's forgiveness and unconditional love.

A decent 'League' adventure, with a dignified heroine; minimal Sir Percy, a walk-on part for Marguerite, and some intriguing insight into a bitter, desperate Chauvelin. ( )
  AdonisGuilfoyle | Sep 1, 2007 |
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Lord Antony Dewhurst is 'a splendid fellow - a fine sportsman, a loyal gentleman'. The young gallant is also Percy's close friend and a lieutenant in the League. The year is 1793 and in Nantes, France, the hunting of aristocrats goes on. And over in England, the enemy has kidnapped Lord Tony's wife, Yvonne. It falls to the Scarlet Pimpernel to rescue her.… (more)

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