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A Tale of Two Cities The Complete & Unabridged Classic Edition Paperback – March 21, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—Charles Dickens's classic tale of one family's suffering during the French Revolution is brought to life in this audio adaptation. The voice of Audie Award-winning narrator Simon Vance sets the tone for the characters and creates the Dickensesqe mood of the times when the rich and the poor were far apart and no one was exempt from the ensuing wrath during the Revolution. Vance's stone varies from soothing to animated while creating different voices for the characters and using appropriate accents. A bonus feature on the last CD is an e-book in pdf format that can be printed or used as a read-along while listening to the audio. This easily navigated feature would be particularly helpful for struggling readers.—Jeana Actkinson, Bridgeport High School, TX
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“[A Tale of Two Cities] has the best of Dickens and the worst of Dickens: a dark, driven opening, and a celestial but melodramatic ending; a terrifyingly demonic villainess and (even by Dickens’ standards) an impossibly angelic heroine. Though its version of the French Revolution is brutally simplified, its engagement with the immense moral themes of rebirth and terror, justice, and sacrifice gets right to the heart of the matter . . . For every reader in the past hundred and forty years and for hundreds to come, it is an unforgettable ride.”–from the Introduction by Simon Schama
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I enjoyed the romance and affection given in subtle ways by three suitors; three of them unsuccessful. All weighed in and were even willing to give life and wealth to save their adored.
From the wastrel Sydney Carton, who became the ultimate hero to Jarvis Lorry, who saw himself as only a "man of business" and who developed a love of Dr. Manette and his family that lead him to endanger himself, and even to the bumbling, Jerry--Mr. Jarvis' messenger at the Bank and part-time grave-robber, each character came alive for me.
I never fully realized before the horrors of the French revolution which was a reaction to the horrors of the way the aristocracy treated the poor. Although this was a stark example of how low the human being can sink in to depravity, the nobility of some of the characters shone in contrast.
I enjoyed "A Tale of Two Cities" so much I will probably read it again some day--and reading something twice,I rarely do.
Story does pick up speed by third part of book and book becomes pager turner. While end is predictable almost from first moment you get hint of escape plan, build up is laid out well and last chapter ends on emotionally high note. Dr. Manette's letter was a surprise twist. Overall, okay read and not bad.
Most characters are consistent but some characters and episodes could be dropped. Like events around Jerry's wife and episode of lawer planning to marry Lucy and then dropping the idea could be edited out. Only other problem is that book has too many too many well timed coincides. Madam Defarge turns out to be the wronged sister. No explanation is given why Sydney Carton is in France just at right time, and he happens to be conveniently placed where Solomon Pross is recognized as Barsad, the spy, and also overhears Madam Defarge's plan to have Lucy killed. Jerry digging the right grave is also coincidence. And so is Miss Pross's killing of Madam Defarge at right time.