Saturday, March 9, 2013

Review: The Land of Calais


Since I first met The Scarlet Pimpernel a year and a half ago, I've loved reading Baroness Orczy's original books.  Although I soon found many others who loved it just as much as I did, I never found a single bit of good published TSP fanfiction. 

With one exception.

Needless to say, I was delighted when I stumbled upon Literary Maidens Publishing and saw that Melody Grubb had published a TSP fanfiction story, The Land of Calais. 
 



Nothing but a promise from the legendary Scarlet Pimpernel himself would have induced Jeanne Andole to leave France before her family was brought to safety.  With that promise, she moves to England and joins high society, beginning a friendship with Lady Blakeney.  Yet time goes by and her family does not appear.  She begins to wonder who the Scarlet Pimpernel actually is and why he has not rescued her family.  In the middle of this perplexity Jeanne meets Chauvelin and that can only lead to trouble.  Before long Jeanne is back in France, trying to rescue her endangered family since it seems the Scarlet Pimpernel will not.  Unfortunately, Chauvelin, back to his old revolution-supporting activities, is eager to use the situation for his own advantage.  Soon Jeanne’s whole family is under arrest – and it seems there is nothing the Scarlet Pimpernel can do to help them.

This is a lovely little book.  Jeanne, with her strong faith and a tendency to jump into situations, is  easy to relate to.  Sir Percy is as laughing and self-deprecating as ever, with thankfully less of those minced oaths that I've always considered the worst of the TSP books.  Chauvelin is as evil as ever.  Marguerite  has just enough of a comeo to keep me happy, as does Lord Anthony Dewhurst.  I liked how this book was written too, with delightful echoes of  Baroness Orczy's books mingled in with Melody's own writing style. 

At 71 pages, I suppose The Land of Calais could be more accurately called a novella.  A few times (especially when there were Certain Happenings near the end) I found myself thinking that the story would have been better if it was drawn out a little more, but hey, don't we all want nice books to be longer? 

In conclusion, this sweet little book is not only a trip back to  the world and characters of the TSP stories, but also an exciting tale in its own right.  If you've ever been wishing there was more TSP fanfiction, you should definately look into The Land of Calais!

Disclaimer:  Many thanks to Melody Grubb of Literary Maidens Publishing for giving me a review copy!  All opinions are my own. 

2 comments:

Miss Melody Muffin said...

Oh, joy!!! Thanks so much for this review, Maria! I saw this book on another site earlier this week and immediately was interested in it (I mean, it's TSP!), but I also wanted to hear some other opinions on it before I decided whether to read it or not. So I was thrilled when I saw this post!

It does sound good, and I'm always eager to read well-written TSP fanfiction/further adventures.

Alexandra said...

Hmmmm!!! Will definitely have to try! If nothing else to see how she merges her style with Baroness O's...something I'm *severely* struggling with right now. :D Sounds really good!