Genevieve Cogman’s books have all so far been great reads that quickly got me hooked, and Scarlet wasn’t really an exception! The start is a little bit slower, or perhaps just less inherently compelling to me than a book thief, but the world setup is interesting. I might’ve got off the ground faster if I’d read The Scarlet Pimpernel, but the Wikipedia summary seemed to serve me well enough — especially since the vampires are entirely original to the Pimpernel’s story.
The main character, Eleanor, is a servant who happens to greatly resemble a French aristocrat — someone the Scarlet Pimpernel intends to rescue from the Revolution, along with her children. Eleanor is asked if she’s willing to go and do this, for the sake of a woman and her children, in exchange for getting set up in London as a modiste when she gets back. The group kind of undersell the dangers, but she quickly realises them for herself — and enters whole-heartedly upon the quest, learning how to pass herself off as a French aristocrat, and both enjoying and dreading her exposure to the wider world beyond the estate she originally served.
Is it historically accurate? Of course not. Is Eleanor a little too surprisingly capable, a little too eager to leap into a situation beyond her original/expected station? Perhaps, but it’s fun. I’m intrigued to see where certain aspects of it are going, too — there’s clearly plenty more to come.