12.03.2014

Book Review: A Tale of Two Cities

Happy Wednesday!  Today I'm here with my second review of the month: A Tale of Two Cities.  Any book written by Charles Dickens is pretty much an instant classic, and this one a favorite of mine.  Set in the French Revolution, it is a tale of sacrifice and courage.


Title: A Tale of Two Cities

Author: Charles Dickens

Publisher/Price: Penguin: $13.12 (pretty version) here / Dover Publications: $2.88 here

Type: Fiction

Genre: Historical Fiction; Classic

Number of pages: 304

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My thoughts: Set against the backdrop of one of the darkest times in France's history, A Tale of Two Cities is a book about love and courage in the midst of the French Revolution.  Two men love a woman, Lucie Manette.  Ironically, the two men, Sydney Carton and Charles Darney look very similar, though Darnay has made something of himself, while Carton feels his life is worthless and wasted.  Lucie marries Darnay, and they move to England.  A year later, when Darnay returns to France to try and get a friend out of prison, he is arrested by the revolutionaries as an emigrant.  Lucie's father, who spent many years in the Bastille prison by order of the French government, tries to work with the rebels to free Darnay, using his mistreatment by the royalty to inspire empathy between them.  After over a year of imprisonment, Darnay is released, only to be arrested again the same night.  This time, there is not much hope, and because Carton still loves Lucie, he goes into the prison and tricks Darnay into trading clothes.  Then he drugs Darnay and has him taken out of the prison, disguised as himself.  Carton is later executed in Darnay's place and at last, he feels like his life has meaning.

In plot, this book is a lot like The Last of the Mohicans, which I haven't finished but know the plot of.  A man sacrificing his life so the woman he loves could have the man she loves, even if it wasn't him.    A Tale of Two Cities isn't a romance, nor is it just about Darnay and the Manettes, it is more of a broad look at the French Revolution, and looks at both a peasant family and the Manette family, which is more well-to-do.  Dickens doesn't offer a pleasant view of the Revolution, depicting the cruelty of both the rebels and the royalty.  It's a favorite both because of the historical accuracy (#historynerd) and the theme of sacrifice and courage.  It is one of Dickens' better books in my opinion (disclaimer: I have only read three – Daniel Copperfield, this one and Nicholas Nickelby), and it doesn't get too boring.  It's not the book for everyone – I would recommend it to history buffs and classics-lovers, and to those who appreciate good writing.

And that wraps up my second review of this month!  Thanks for reading!  xo, Ella

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