Lord Tony's Wife

Lord Tony's Wife (Scarlet Pimpernel) - Baroness Emma Orczy

Back when I fell in love with the 1982 Scarlet Pimpernel movie, I had a slight crush on Lord Anthony Dewhurst (Sir Percy was taken, obviously). After meeting his wife, Yvonne, in this book, all I can say is damn, Tony, you could've done so much better.


Yvonne's father is one of those aristos whose general awfulness sparked the French Revolution. He's a petty tyrant who has peasants hanged for trifling reasons and his coaches have a habit of mowing down any men, women, and children not spry enough to get out of the way. Orczy makes no apologies for him, which makes it hard not to root a little bit for the bad guy (who is, after all, only out to avenge his wrongfully hanged father, though he's not so noble as that makes him sound). Yvonne herself hasn't got much personality to speak of. When we first meet her she's a budding petty-tyrant-in-training who is less distressed by the dozen peasants her coach runs over than the single downtrodden soul who manages to get in the coach with her. When we next meet her, four years have passed and for reasons unknown Lord Tony thinks she's the best thing since Mechlin lace. Ah well. There's no accounting for taste.