Book Reviews of A Far Better Rest

A Far Better Rest
A Far Better Rest
Author: Susanne Alleyn
ISBN-13: 9781569471975
ISBN-10: 1569471975
Publication Date: 7/2000
Pages: 353
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.

4.1 stars, based on 5 ratings
Publisher: Soho Press
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

3 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed A Far Better Rest on + 143 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Sydney disappeard during the Yale of Two Citites by DIckens. He reappeared late to make the ultimate sacrifice. Allelyn does a superb job of develpoing Sydney's character as he journey's through manhood to explain the person he becomes when he reenters A Tale. SHe make it beleiveable and captures the times in this thrilling story.
reviewed A Far Better Rest on + 63 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
"A Far Better Rest" revisits the story of "A Tale of Two Cities," Charles Dickens' classic novel of the French Revolution, retelling that saga through the eyes of Sydney Carton.

It's a wonderful idea. Carton is easily the most interesting character in Dickens' novel, a bitter man who believes he has wasted his life until he finds redemption at the guillotine by giving his life to save not the woman he loves, but the man whom she loves. Susanne Alleyn brings a sense of history and research to the French Revolution and the Terror that is lacking in Dickens' work, and what's more, she gives a history and a credible story to Carter that Dickens never developed.

With those additions adding muscle to such an idea, "A Far Better Rest" by all rights should be an excellent novel; unfortunately, it's not. Alleyn builds on Dickens' characterization of Carton, and she fills in the French history, but she never pulls her story together in a way that compels readers to keep turning pages, never provides that vital spark that sets the imagination afire, and never takes readers to the point that they begin to appreciate "A Tale of Two Cities" in a new way. And while it does provide needed French history about the Revolution, it fails to communicate enough of that history for readers less familiar with it than Alleyn. The result is a book that is easy to pick up, but also too easy to put down.

That's not to say the book doesn't distinguish itself. The backstory Alleyn provides not only explains why Carton is so jaded and bitter, it also provides a satisfactory explanation for his improbable likeness to Darnay. Other highlights include three of the women Carter loves: Sarah, whom he was engaged to; Molly, an Irish prostitute he was involved with; and Eleonore, a French noblewoman he becomes involved with during the Revolution. Even Lucie, brief as her appearances are, benefits from deeper characterization than Dickens ever favored her with.

Is it worth reading? As someone who had just re-read "A Tale of Two Cities" and who enjoys seeing new interpretations of familiar stories, I thought so. But it's not a book I'll be holding onto for very long.
reviewed A Far Better Rest on + 16 more book reviews
An excellent retelling of A Tale of Two Cities from the anti-hero Sydney Carton's point of view. It's his story during the missing years and tells why he became the man he did. This provided all the emotion with none of the melodrama of the original.