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A Tale of Two Cities (audio CD)

Retold by Jim Weiss
Greathall Productions Inc.

PO Box 5061
Charlottesville, VA 22905-5061

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is brilliantly retold by master storyteller Jim Weiss. This is a single CD with a running time of 76 minutes. All you need is a CD player and eager listeners to enjoy this hour of delight and intrigue! The story takes place during the turbulent years of the French Revolution. The opening lines summarize the story quite well: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us." Indeed, this is a story of contrasts in every way. The story follows an elderly Doctor who is released after decades of unjust imprisonment and nursed back to health by his lovely daughter. They then flee to England for safety and two men fall in love with the daughter, one a descendant of French aristocracy, the class hated by the common people; the other, a dissolute lawyer's clerk. After the French aristocrat marries the daughter, he is tricked into returning to France, where hateful citizens desire revenge on his family. He is then sentenced to death unjustly--innocence matters little to the angry mob! When loved ones in England discover his fate, they hurry to rescue him, but to no avail. What will happen?

Jim Weiss's stories are for young and old alike, homeschooled or otherwise. He successfully introduces his audiences to many of the great authors of the past and encourages them to read further to become even more acquainted with their works. This product could be used in the car during long travels or at home on a rainy day. Younger children might want to color or do some activity to busy their hands. Because of the more mature themes in A Tale of Two Cities, this CD would be more suited to junior high and up.

The most difficult factor in Dickens's works is his varied and complex characters. A Tale of Two Cities is no exception. Sometimes all the names get muddled together, and a reader might have trouble figuring out what is happening. Mr. Weiss does an excellent job simplifying this timeless story without taking away any of its central themes or characters. From the famous opening lines, to Madame Defarge's knitting, to Sydney Carton's heroic last speech, Mr. Weiss's voice for each of the characters is distinct, and his inflections captivating! I would highly recommend purchasing Jim Weiss's A Tale of Two Cities.

Product review by Kathi Van Der Linden, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, October 2009

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