Some months ago, Jack Caldwell approached me about reading and reviewing his latest book, due to be released August 1, 2016, on Amazon. I was excited at the opportunity. I had never read a Northanger Abbey sequel and looked forward, with anticipation, to reading The Last Adventure of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Below is my review. There is also a giveaway so be sure and check out the details after the review.
The Last Adventure of the Scarlet Pimpernel By Jack Caldwell
This is a fantastic book and one I highly recommend. It is a sequel to Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. The story centers prominently around the character of Captain Frederick Tilney with brief appearances of Henry and Catherine Morland Tilney. In the original I was not so fond of Frederick where he was depicted as a rake and rather selfish. Jack Caldwell opens with somewhat of that same persona for the Captain.
The first chapter begins in Oxford with a duel between Captain Tilney and a Sir Robert Paisley, the betrothed of Isabella Thorpe, Catherine’s friend in Northanger Abbey. Captain Tilney’s younger friend, George Blakeney, a student at Oxford, is acting as his second and Colonel Sir John Buford, another close friend, is the Master of the Field. This sets the stage for the character and relationship of these men. Captain Tilney manages to get in trouble everywhere he turns and doesn’t feel he is at fault for any of his problems. This causes him some unexpected censure from his close friend, Buford. George Blakeney defends Captain Tilney and stays true to their longtime friendship.
During a visit to the Blakeney Estate in Richmond, Frederick sees the now grown-up sister of George. She has matured into a beautiful and accomplished young woman. For the first time, Captain Tilney’s heart is touched. Violet has mutual feelings for Frederick and their romance buds. Violet and George’s father, Sir Percy Blakeney knows the reputation of Captain Frederick Tilney and a conflict begins and deepens as the story progresses. Frederick wants to change for Violet but it is not so easy as he thinks, especially when the Prince Regent is Violet’s godfather.
Colonel Brandon, Darcy, Lizzy, the Bingleys and even Caroline, to name a few from the pages of other Jane Austen works, make appearances in The Last Adventure of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Captain Tilney gives a wonderful set-down to a ‘lady’ in defense of Elizabeth Darcy. This helps in the confirmation of his improving character. It was quite enjoyable and well-deserved!
This story is filled with romance, well-researched history, intrigue and escapades of the Scarlet Pimpernel. I was amazed at the ability of this author to lay the foundation for his novel, develop the background of historical facts and tell his adventure with the momentum building to a crescendo, never missing a beat. There was no slowing down of the story, no interruption of flow, even as we moved from England to France and back again.
Jack Caldwell wrote a fascinating tale that held my interest from beginning to end. Although it is a stand-alone book, I had read that the author said it would be better if The Three Colonels, one of his earlier novels, was read first. I purposely did not as I wanted to see how the story stood on its own merit. It was an awesome read. I cannot imagine anything making it better, but, I shall soon read The Three Colonels and see for myself!
Combining the story of The Scarlet Pimpernel with Northanger Abbey was pure genius. Well done, Jack Caldwell.
I received an ARC of this novel from the author in return for a fair and honest review.
Thank you, Jack Caldwell, for allowing me the privilege of reading your book. As you see, I enjoyed it immensely and I love the cover, another fine one by the talented Ellen Pickels. I wish you much success with this second in the series of 'Jane Austen's Fighting Men'.
Readers, Mr. Caldwell is giving away one paperback, US only, and one eBook, internationally of The Last Adventure of the Scarlet Pimpernel. That's two lucky winners. Leave a comment with your contact info and you will be entered. This giveaway will close at 11:59 PM on the 29th of July, 2016. Good luck to all and thanks for stopping by!