Set in France and England during the troubled times of the French Revolution. There are many travels by the characters between the two countries. Most of the action however takes place in Paris France. The wine shop in Paris is the place for French revolutionists, mostly because the owner Ernest Defarge and his wife are leaders and officials of the revolution. The action unfolds in many places such as the Bastille and Tellson’s Bank, but most takes place on the streets of London. Mrs. Defarge is one of the main antagonist of the story. She spends most of her time knitting and plotting her revenge against the Evermode family. Charles Darnay, one of whom Mrs. Defarge is plotting against, is constantly being put on the stand and wants no part of his own lineage. He has is constantly being arrested and bailed out by his friend and look alike Sydney Carton. Dr. Manette, a prisoner of the Bastille, cannot escape the memory of his imprisonment and sometimes relapses to cobbling shoes. While his daughter Lucie, who is loved by many, marries Darnay. There are many trials and tribulations of all the characters ending with Mrs. Defarge seeking her revenge and Carton giving his all for not only his friend, but for his one true Lucie. Carton is the example of a true hero. He himself goes to the guillotine not for a sense of pride or recognition, but for love. His love for his friend and for Lucie. He spends years loving her and never acting on his love. He watches her marry his friend and is happy for her. He watches as she has a child and when Darnay is in trouble it is Carton that helps and cares for Lucie. It is Carton that provides the family a way to be together and to leave France once and for all.
Dickens is one the best writers of all time. The story is timeless. While you have to really spend time reading the language you find yourself wanting to know what happens. Most people already know the basis of the story. If you saw any of the movies you will know what it is about. None of that does this book justice. My favorite part in the whole book is when at the end the female prisoner, who has watched what Sydney Carton has done, asks him to hold her hand. She feels that his strength in choosing to die will possibly give her the strength to hold her head high as she herself dies. It is one of the finest pieces of literature I have had the pleasure to read in a long time. People no longer talk, think, or act this way anymore. In a world where we have become so materialistic, it is refreshing to get lost is a world of time gone by and realize that our struggles are trivial. Taking the time to read this classic novel is well worth it. Although you must truly slow down and read each and every word to appreciate it.