The Scarlet Pimpernel - Emmuska Orczy
I believe I read this in high school, for fun, not for class. I say "I believe" because I don't particularly recall, it, and now, after reading it for what may be the second time, I can (still?) say I am completely underwhelmed by it.

I think most people are familiar with the story, regardless of whether they have read it. The Scarlet Pimpernel is an English hero who rescues the innocent French nobility from the guillotine during a particularly bloody period of French history. Marguerite St. Just Blakeney is a former French actress who married an English nobleman, who happens to be the most idiotic, mindless fop of the British peerage.

Baroness Orczy goes to great pains to "tell" us that how smart and clever Marguerite is, but fails utterly to "show" us. It's like she was unable to reconcile her own idea of what she wanted Marguerite to be with the way she actually came across in the story. Because naturally, her fop of a husband turns out to be the Scarlet Pimpernel, and all his mindless friends (including her own brother) his accomplices. How could Europe's most clever woman miss that?

The second half of the novel was particularly weak. "The cleverest woman" came across more like a love-sick adolescent. After finally figuring out the mystery, all she wanted was to tell her beloved Percy how much she loved him, or die in the process, preferably with him so he'd know. The very end of the story read like a romance novel without the good parts.

The one good thing I can say is that it's a short, easy read.