Eugenie finds her world turned upside down when France is thrown into chaos as the revolution arrives.
Title: The Pale Assassin
Series: Pimpernelles (Book 1)
Author: Patricia Elliott
ISBN: 9780340956762 Language: English
Classification: Fiction with historical setting
Themes: adventure, mystery, history
What’s it about?
Eugenie de Boncoeur is living the life of luxury in Paris, France. She loves her life of parties, pretty dresses and servants. At one such party she meets a charming young man and life seems very sweet indeed…until the beginning of the French Revolution begins. Suddenly, Eugenie finds her life turned upside down as her brother, Armand, is arrested and she is on the run to try and survive as an assassin looks to hunt her down.
This was the first time I had read a novel based around the French Revolution; you get enough details to get the gist of what was going on without it taking away from the plot. There are several characters that are very likeable and you do get invested in them and want to know what will happen next.
I admit that at time I found Eugenie to be very annoying and whingy! If you are looking for a novel with a strong female protagonist – this isn’t it. Her character does develop through the story but I believe many boys (and girls) would struggle to sympathise much with her.
I did like the story but this isn’t one I’d recommend for classroom use unless you have an all-girl class who want a bit of romance and mystery (along with a bit of history). It is an enjoyable read…as long as you can put up with Eugenie at the beginning without tearing the book in two.
Eugenie is the type of character that you would really like to see fall face first into a pile of…mud. Really she is immature, ungrateful, bratty – but that’s kind of necessary in order for the story to progress and with it her character to develop.
Part of the story does involve her brother, Armand being jailed and sentenced to death, and her struggle to free him. She is also joined on the journey by Julien, Armand’s best friend.
The pace of the book is rather slow to begin with but includes interesting support characters such as Le Fantome (who begins the story when he loses his fortunes to Eugenie’s father) and later on Le Scalpel – who was a rather interesting character and I’m sure more will be revealed in the sequel to the book.
Overall, good for a girl who wants a bit of adventure and romance (with a dash of history).