A Tale of Two Cities Group Read - part Three

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A Tale of Two Cities Group Read - part Three

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Redigerat: dec 7, 2012, 1:07 am

This thread will be for the discussion of Part Three, The Track of A Storm.

King George III of England and his Queen Charlotte

King Louis XVI of France and his Queen Marie Antoinette

As Dickens writes in the opening of the book:

"There were a king with a large jaw, and a queen with a plain face on the throne of England; there were a king with a large jaw, and a queen with a fair face, on the throne of France."

Part One - Recalled to Life

Part Two - The Golden Thread

dec 6, 2012, 3:04 am

A slight correction - it was Louis XVI who was married to Marie Antoinette and involved with the French Revolution.

dec 7, 2012, 1:08 am

Sorry, for the mistake. I couldn't remember if the picture I downloaded was for the right Louis or not so I got another one. This was is definitely Louis XVI.

dec 8, 2012, 5:40 am

#2 & 3 Oops, I didn't spot that either!

dec 9, 2012, 2:13 am

I have to admit that I started this section of the book and that was it, I couldn't stop. The story just pulled me along, and you were right, Heather, I cried my way through the final chapters. I was waiting for the famous line of Sydney Carton's and wow, I was not disappointed, A Tale of Two Cities has vaulted to the top as my favorite Dickens.

dec 9, 2012, 11:57 am

#5 Judy, I'm so glad you enjoyed it :-)

Redigerat: dec 9, 2012, 8:49 pm

I did exactly what Judy did and finished the book a couple of days ago. I talked about it on my thread if anyone is interested right here at post 70 ( there might be a spoiler or two in the discussion that ensues). But I absolutely loved it.

dec 14, 2012, 7:18 pm

I'm in book 3 now and loving it - am meant to be cleaning the house in preparation for a Christmas lunch tomorrow with 4 families but it will have to wait till I'm further in!

dec 15, 2012, 4:24 pm

I just began part three but need to put it down to start dinner. I hope to pick it up afterward and read it straight through to the end.

dec 16, 2012, 12:36 pm

I finished it yesterday and just loved it. I was at the doctor 's office in the waiting room which is the only thing stopping me from sobbing. As mentioned on Bonnie's thread, the cat fight between MD and MP was so well written and funny with them both talking their own language despite the seriousness of the situation. And Jerry Cruncher's long speech about his wife being allowed to flop as much as she wanted was great.

Thanks so much Heather and Deltaqueen for organising this group read - 41 years to read a Dickens novel and now I am hooked!! I had expected it to be a bit of a slog and to take me several weeks.

dec 16, 2012, 12:56 pm

Glad to hear those of you who've made it this far have enjoyed it! (You are allowed to post if you haven't enjoyed it)

dec 16, 2012, 1:50 pm

I finished last night and loved it once again. In fact, this was such a successful reread that I'm tempted to read David Copperfield again next year just to see if it remains my favorite book by Dickens.

dec 16, 2012, 3:08 pm

If I may use the word "flop", I can see myself flopping between AToTC and David Copperfield as my favorite Dickens! Both very different, but both very appealing in their own ways.

dec 18, 2012, 10:05 am

Wow. Is it possible that this is the best drama Dickens wrote? The 3rd part took my breath away.
I haven't fully made my mind up yet where to place it in my Dickens ranking. It might be my new favorite. With its structure, the allegories, the characters, the beautiful language it is what I'd call a literature work of art. And it is a book that calls for several readings.

It's my 150th book this year, and I had put it on a short hold between parts 2 and 3 to squeeze in books #147-149, because I wanted this one to be #150. What a great way to (almost) end another wonderful reading year.

dec 18, 2012, 10:25 am

#13 & 14 *Happy dance*

dec 18, 2012, 10:37 pm

I could easily flop between Bleak House and ATOTC as my favorite Dickens. I haven't stopped thinking about it since I finished a couple of weeks ago:-)

Redigerat: dec 20, 2012, 6:21 am

I haven't stopped thinking about it since I finished a couple of weeks ago:-)

I couldn't agree with you more, Bonnie. I felt the same way when I first read it many years ago and now as well. I think it's haunting.

My son reads AToTC next month for his honors reading class. I can't wait to discuss it with him and get his take on the story.

dec 21, 2012, 6:29 am

The Masterpiece Theatre production of AToTC was nicely done. Although Lucie's hair was reddish rather than golden. Other than that, it production stayed true to Dicken's work. I am not familiar with the actors except John Mill's. James Wilby did a nice job with Sydney Carton. Recommended.

jan 2, 2013, 9:27 am

I haven't finished the book yet! My poor mom has been in the hospital since Dec 14th with a d/c home that lasted 3 days then back in the hospital on Dec 21st and in ICU since. She is on isolation so I don't want to bring the copy of AToTC in because it is the beautiful cloth bound Penguin copy. :( Difficult to wipe down with harsh disinfectants. So I'm reading a couple of other books that are easier to wrap in plastic and wipe down. I am trying to finish this book with a few pages each night but exhaustion wins out.

I will post my thoughts here as soon as I'm done. I'm still counting this as a 2012 read. :)

jan 2, 2013, 1:19 pm

I liked the story, but I didn't love it. I've never been a big fan of Dickens. I don't feel engaged with the characters and the twisty language is a hindrance for me. But I'm still glad I read this. I'd seen the movie ages ago, and forgotten most of the bits between beginning and ending, and even though I didn't get teary eyed, Carton's ending still got to me.

jan 2, 2013, 2:17 pm

I finished on New Year's Eve, but I realize that I posted my "Done!" in Part 2 of this thread.

I am in awe of the book. I wasn't so sure at the beginning, but by the time Part 2 started rolling, and most definitely by Part 3, I felt this was one of the most engaging books I've ever read.

I'm planning to read Great Expectations next, and just keep going from there. Thanks to DeltaQueen and everyone for this group read--it provided real incentive (and great background information) to me.

A new convert,

Karen O.

jan 2, 2013, 2:41 pm

#19 Roberta, sorry to hear your Mum has been so unwell. There's no rush about finishing, I'm going to leave these threads starred so I'll pick up any new comments. If for some reason I don't, then just leave me a message on my profile page.

#20 I think Dickens is verbose Sandra, even by 19th century standards :-) His characters are kind of his strength and his weakness at the same time - they're often very memorable but also very black and white with very little shades of grey. Well done for finishing!

jan 2, 2013, 2:41 pm

#21 I just replied to you on the second thread Karen! Hope you enjoy Great Expectations :-)

Redigerat: jan 2, 2013, 2:52 pm

22 - Thanks, Heather. AToTC is one I'd been wanting to read for a long time, and this tutored group read was a great incentive to finally get it done. I enjoyed being a part of this. Many thanks to you and Judy for organizing this, and to you and Liz for answering our questions!

jan 2, 2013, 5:58 pm

I read most of the book in the last few days of December and didn't come back to these threads at all till now. I loved the book and enjoyed reading through the threads this morning. This was my second Dickens, the other one I read several years ago and really enjoyed was My Mutual Friend. I read a Folio edition after my abridged paperback was thrown at the wall on day one. It had lovely line drawings by Charles Keeping throughout.
Thanks to Heather and Liz for answering and explaining all the queries.

Another book set in the same time period that I recommend is Daphne du Maurier's The glassblowers.

jan 2, 2013, 8:24 pm

Thanks for the rec, Kerry. I find myself wanting to read more stories set during the French Revolution so on the wishlist The Glassblowers goes.

jan 3, 2013, 5:58 am

To mark the bicentenary I made a point of reading some Dickens last year - seven titles, six of which were new to me - and of the ones I read I thought this one was the one I liked least. However I stayed up to one in the morning to finish it (not my usual bedtime!) so I must have been engaged with it. I think it gets better as it goes on and I'd probably formed my opinion too early.

jan 3, 2013, 5:06 pm

CDVicarage, I'm going to follow your example and read me some (more)Dickens this year!

aviatakh, I have The Glassblowers marked for my future reading. Thanks!

Karen O.

jan 3, 2013, 9:02 pm

I finished! I finished! Thank you Judy for putting this together. Thank you Heather for the wonderful tutoring. I don't think I would have read Dickens without this group/tutored read. I would have given up during part one, but I made it past with your help. Part two really picked the story up for me and part three was fantastic. I'll probably read Mr. Dickens again but I will wait for another group or tutored read.

Thank you again.

jan 3, 2013, 9:03 pm

If there's any book in particular you would like to tackle, Roberta, you can always request a tutored read... :)

jan 3, 2013, 9:27 pm

Thank you Liz. You were quite helpful and I have some of your past tutored reads starred.

jan 4, 2013, 2:45 am

Congratulations to all the recent finishers! I've got du Maurier's Glassblower's in Mount TBR too.

jan 6, 2013, 1:58 pm

I finished yesterday--am I the rear guard or is there anyone else still reading?

I was interested to read on the LT review page that one reviewer wrote that TOTC was the source material for many of the other novels written about the French Revolution--rather than additional research being done and forming the base for other novels. Is that true? I do remember the women knitting in the shadow of the guillotine in The Scarlet Pimpernel - was the source for that Dickens rather than a common source for both?

Glassblowers sounds interesting, Soul of the Rose. I should read more by du Maurier.

Has anyone read Mantel's Place of Greater Safety?

jan 8, 2013, 6:52 am

All this French Revolution entices me to want read the Scarlet Pimpernel.

jan 8, 2013, 1:59 pm

#33 I think there are others still reading Janet - they're just keeping quiet :-)

I hadn't heard that aToTC was the source material for other French Revolution novels but that doesn't mean it isn't true! From the background reading I did it seemed that Dickens had consulted quite a few sources for his novel with the main source being Thomas Carlyle's The French Revolution. I've been doing some digging and I can't find a clear answer on where the idea of women knitting during executions came from I'm afraid. Which might mean it was something that happened or might mean that no one remembers who first thought of it.

I started reading A Place of Greater Safety in preparation for this tutored read but had to put it to one side because there's only so much French Revolution I can take! I thought the writing was wonderful but it's a very complex novel with a huge cast of characters and needed more attention than I had available. Whereas aToTC touches on events of the French Revolution but doesn't feature any of the famous historical characters by name, A Place of Greater Safety has Danton, Robespierre etc as main characters. Definitely worth reading - I think Bonnie and Peggy gave it 5 star reviews (or near enough) last year.

#34 The Scarlet Pimpernel is great fun, maybe not great literature but fun :-)

jan 8, 2013, 5:30 pm

#35 yes that's what I was thinking a lighter read on the subject. :) Maybe I will just watch the DVD that A&E did a few years ago. ;)

feb 16, 2013, 9:42 pm

Watch the 30s dvd with Ronald Colman as Sydney Carton, the best portrayer of Carton ever. A b&w dvd with the movie not as sophisticaed as modern verisions, but Colman's performance is great.