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A Tale of Two Cities / Great Expectations: Two Novels

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  13,842 ratings  ·  142 reviews
Two of the most beloved novels in all of English literature-together in one extraordinary volume.

A TALE OF TWO CITIES
After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of the two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney
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Paperback, 834 pages
Published December 6th 2010 by Penguin Books (first published 1861)
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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeePride and Prejudice by Jane AustenJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëLes Misérables by Victor HugoThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Best Classic Literature Ever
40th out of 284 books — 363 voters
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Oprah's Book Club Picks
71st out of 74 books — 1,181 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Katherine
I have a confession. I have never read a classic. Yes, never. I've always found them intimidating and hard to read. I thought I wouldn't understand them and they would be boring. But I figured they had to be called "classics" for a reason. I just finished A Tale of Two Cities which is divided into 3 sections. I started out thinking "see this is why I never read classics" but by the end I was thinking "I can't believe it's taken me this long to read a classic, it was brilliant!" It did take me ti ...more
Kelly
Put Off
-noun
1....also, set aside. to put out of the way; place to one side: Put aside your books and come for a walk.

This book has always put me in such a...well. One thing before I start on my before review..who says I cannot walk and read? 6 miles a day, every day. Hah!

This book has always put me in such a tremor since the day I encountered this gothic Yahoo, this towering Hun (yes, they all mean the same thing in the Thesarus). There is no other dead white male who bothers to cool my coffe
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Tracey
I have just finished A Tale of Two Cities and I am in awe of the story and the man that wrote it.
The story of love, revolution, friendship,and sacrifice.It is a relevant today as it was on publication in serial form in 1859.
Some things shouldn't be forgotten and this story is one of those things. The idea that the oppressed came to be the oppressors is a frighteningly real one. The power mad woman whose very words can bring someone to there death, The beautiful and loving wife one so far remove
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Tiffani
Charles Dickens! I hardly knew ye. . .
I only read A tale of two cities from this edition (will save Great expectations for another time) and was astounded! My previous readings of Dickens must have been wrong book/wrong time, because I loved his writing. I was simultaneously caught up in the story, the style, the tempo, and vocabulary such as: 'tergiversation' and 'accoutred' and 'incommodiousness'. Perhaps I shall read critique by the by, but upon completion of this novel, I am enamored. It wi
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Sarah
Aug 20, 2011 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who can read old English
::::::::::::::Review for 'A Tale of Two Cities'::::::::::::::::

This book was fantastic!! It's on my new top ten list. It's so intricate! Dickens weaves together the characters, places, and events flawlessly, like a beautiful tapestry. Or better yet, knitted together. ;-)

I can't recommend this book highly enough. The plot is absolutely wonderful. Nothing is lacking from this book.


:::::::::::::Review for 'Great Expectations' :::::::::::::::::

This book was good, but nowhere near as good as "A Tale
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Emily
I first read Dickens in high school and when Oprah named it her book club pick, I thought I'd try it again.

A favorite passage in Great Expectations, Pip to Estalla:

"Out of my thoughts! You are part of my existence, part of myself. You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough common boy whose poor heart you wounded even then. You have been in every prospect I have ever seen since--on the road, on the sails of ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light,
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Chelsea
So I just finished A Tale of Two Cities and started Great Expectations but thought I'd write my review of the first while it was still on my mind. I had previously attempted to read this book twice but found it very trying to get past the first few chapters. The writing is true to it's time period and to Dickens in that it is flowery and the vocabulary is archaic. I confess I had to look a few words up. There were so many characters and plot lines started at the same time I found it hard to foll ...more
Miles Zarathustra
"Tale" is a good read, especially the later chapters.

This is a review of "Tale of Two Cities." I have not (yet) read 'Great Expectations.'

I found the first part was somewhat slow and confusing, though still enjoyable. The whole thing seems random and haphazard at first, but it all fits together in the end ... every last bit, though it wasn't until I read the Cliff notes that I was able to piece together how.

The last third or so of the story was in the "couldn't put it down" category. Dickens' pe
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Stacey
Great Expectations:
I liked this book MUCH more than the other although it wasn't until the last 100 pages that I really didn't want to put it down and needed to know how the story concluded.

A Tale of Two Cities:
Reading other people's reviews, I feel the same way - that it took me almost halfway through the book to understand who everyone was and what was going on (maybe I should have read a synopsis of the book first). I found the language difficult and the rhythm offbeat. Maybe if I'd read thi
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Donald Crane
For some reason, I was never required to read A Tale of Two Cities in high school, and 35 years later, I picked it up. It was educational - although it is a novel, I learned a lot about the French revolution - and eventually captivating. It did, however, take awhile to get to the point of "I can't put this down."

It has been awhile since I've read Dickens; perhaps the last time was Great Expectations a few years ago. (That one, I read in high school, again in college, and probably twice more sinc
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Sierra
It never crossed my mind that I gonna hate this book ever or even Dickens himself.For me Great Expectations in particular had memories for me ,since I studied it before at a boring place we called it school nowadays.What I had read now was just one of the most boring & shallowest thing I've ever read in my entire life.

The thing is Dickens doesn't have it when it comes to writing about details,narrating or even describing the characters.The only thing he has got is the plot, the idea rather t
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Elizabeth Turnage
In Barnes & Noble last night I noticed these two were packaged together and part of Oprah's Book Club....who woulda thought? I used to devour Dickens as an 11- 13 year old...when i read Dickens, Thackeray, Austen, Bronte, and Hardy. I would choose one of the Classics series at the library that had the list of all in the series on the back, take it to my Dad, who would suggest one to read next. Little did I realize he had me read almost every great 19th century British novel until years later ...more
Marian Mcclellan
I schlepped myself through this book in high school and wondered what all the fuss was about. Only grandmothers should read this book to discover the unforgettable characters he paints and the way he makes descriptions of places feel like characters. He's a poet as well as a story teller. I loved reading Great Expectations second because it's much lighter feeling with more humor and less melodrama. It makes me want to re-visit all the other assigned classics that bored me in high school.
Bridget Thelen
If Dickens had the constants forced by today's readers the story would be much more favorable to the common audience.

Because of dense descriptions, most readers discard the book before the story begins.

When opened with a patient, interested mind, readers will be consumed by the romantic tale and fall in love with radically complex characters and the story will consume their mind, as well as their heart.

Anna Michel
This is a story of turbulent times and the bonds between friends and families. In the period just before the French revolution two British men, Darney, and Canton profess their love for the same woman. She marries Darney, they settle down in London and start a family. Carton remains friends with Darney despite this. Meanwhile the French revolution begins and several of Darney’s friends have been imprisoned in Paris. One of them, Gabelle, is very important to Darney who leaves for Paris on hearin ...more
Emily Turner
I read this book for the first time 20 years ago and still have my original copy with all its lovely scribbling and highlighting intact. Truth be told, I think that this book was one of the first that really got me thinking about studying literature in college.
Ashley
Bought this edition even though I already owned both books because it's just so dang pretty.
Kat
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrew Hu
So glad the first sentence explains everything, saved me a ton of time ;)
Ellen November
Well, this book takes a lot of concentration, but I'm giving it a go.
Adam B.
In A Tale of Two Cities, one of Charles Dickens's many focuses is about the atrocities of the French Revolution. This book is set in 1775, 1783, and 1789, the first part of the book is set in 1775, the second 1783, the third 1789. The events in this book take place in one of two cities, London or Paris. Paris and France are described as being extremely dark, dreary, and depressing, while London is given a brighter mood. This book is told in a third-person, omniscient point of view. The main char ...more
Geoff
I don’t want to boil this down to a love story, because it is so much more, but we all know my responses generally focus on one theme that really strikes me and the love of Pip for Estella definitely overwhelmed everything else (with the exception of his learning to love Magwitch). But seriously, how can you not be bowled over by the following quote?

“Out of my thoughts! You are part of my existence, part of myself. You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough
...more
Dayna Smith
A Must Read Book! Tale of Two Cities: The classic tale of love and sacrifice set during the French Revolution. Charles Darnay is wrongly accused of treason and is sentenced to the guillotine. His wife, daughter, and father-in-law come to France to attempt to save him. But his fate will ultimately depend on Sydney Carton, the debauched, yet heroic man who loves Darnay's wife. It includes, arguably, the most famous beginning and ending lines in literature. Great Expectations: Miss Dayna's All-Time ...more
John Roskelley
I found "A Tale of Two Cities" and "Great Expectations" in the same volume at my library, so I read both over the course of about four weeks. My only real exposure to Dickens had been TV movies of "Oliver Twist," so I wasn't prepared for the English manner of speaking in the period. It took some "getting used to" and I was finally able to cruise through many verrrry long spoken sentences or thoughts, even keeping track of phrases set off as explanations. In "Tale" I didn't fully comprehend who o ...more
Adam Baray
I read these two books over the course of summer 2012 and winter 2012-13 so one memory is fresher than the other. With that in mind...

I was drawn to "TTC" because of its use in the world of LOST (LOST fanatic here). It was used as a tittle and used theme wise. "TTC" is at heart a love story that takes place in the time leading up to the French Revolution. Dr.Manette is held prisoner in the Bastile and eventually is freed and is taken in to the care of his beautiful and perfect daughter Lucie who
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Buthina Almahbashi
A Tale of Two Cities (1859) was first serialized. A Tale of Two Cities delineates imprisonment of individual citizens. This novel engaged with major social problems Dickens’ view of social commitment deep and as his art matured. His structure differed and he relied more and more on metaphor rather than reported fact.
In A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens portrayed skillfully how poor people of the lower class suffered from oppression and injustice then they strove fiercely to get rid of that heavy b
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Madhu
Mar 22, 2011 Madhu is currently reading it
Shelves: on-hold
Bought this at Border's last night! Our French teacher told us we should read A Tale of Two Cities so I decided to. But it happened to be a 'two-books-in-one' thing so it comes with Great Expectations too. I'm reading A Tale of Two Cities first though. It was published in 1859 so the English is really different. I'm only on the 2nd page and I'm already confused. (I know it says that I'm on page 6 but that's just counting all those blank pages before the book actually starts. I hate how those are ...more
Cheryl Wedesweiler
I only listened to the first audio book-"A Tale of Two Cities". I will get to "Great Expectations", at a later date.

This is one of Dickens masterpieces. The “two cities” are Paris, at the time of the French Revolution, and London. As the story begins, Dr. Manette has just been released from the Bastille, where he was imprisoned unjustly for 18 years. His daughter, Lucie, and the family banker, Mr. Lorrey, bring him to live in London.
But, the events in Paris will linger in their lives.
I listened
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Nina
Mar 18, 2012 Nina added it
Finished A Tale of Two Cities a week or so ago. What a charming book. Although the characters are a bit overdrawn, that is just Dickens' style. Some of the characters are caricatures. But, you can understand his characters and see their humanity by the things mostly that they do in the book- the shoemaking linked to Dr. Manette's grief. The symbolism of the wine casket breaking in the street and the wine/blood foreshadowing (along with the other symbols) were really great images that said so muc ...more
Theodosia of the Fathomless Hall
Phillip Pirrip the Second, or Pip, is a young boy in the Kent Marshes. Simple plot, simple characters that are naturally not so simple as it goes on.

(Quick note: No, I didn't read A Tale of Two Cities in this edition, I only borrowed it from the library for the cover).

In essence a Dickensian tale lesser so about expectations than about how outer trappings are immaterial compared with honest kindness and kindheartedness. Quite difficult to read, incidentally, but almost totally good. Plus we've
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What is your favorite Dickens novel? 3 12 Apr 23, 2013 11:13AM  
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A prolific 19th Century author of short stories, plays, novellas, novels, fiction and non-fiction; during his lifetime Dickens became known the world over for his remarkable characters, his mastery of prose in the telling of their lives, and his depictions of the social classes, morals and values of his times. Some considered him the spokesman for the poor, for he definitely brought much awarenes ...more
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A Tale of Two Cities Great Expectations A Christmas Carol Oliver Twist David Copperfield

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