A Far Better Rest

A Far Better Rest

by Susanne Alleyn

The French Revolution is vividly brought to life in a brilliant retelling of the classic story that has captured the imagination of readers since the 1850s.

In Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, Sydney Carton is an almost ancillary character. Dickens’ novel tells us the stories of Charles Darnay, Lucie Manette, and Alexandre Manette. Carton disappears from the story for eleven chapters and several years, reappearing without warning to bring the novel to its chilling and heartbreaking end. Yet Dickens is silent about the circumstances that transformed Carton from a promising youth to an embittered alcoholic and finally to the man who makes the ultimate sacrifice for love. A Far Better Rest imagines his missing personal history and makes him the center of this tragic tale.

Born in England of a wealthy, unloving father and a French mother, Sydney is sent to study in Paris, where he meets Charles Darnay and the other students—Robespierre and Camille Desmoulins among them—who will have enormous influence on his life and alter the course of French history. Years later, when Sydney, disinherited, is living a lonely and purposeless existence in London, Charles reenters his life. The beauty and kindness of Charles’s wife, Lucie Manette, affects Sydney so deeply that he secretly devotes his life to her happiness.

At last abandoning London for Paris, Sydney becomes a witness to the formation of the French Republic at the end of the eighteenth century and also to one of the most turbulent periods in history. A Far Better Rest is a novel of passion, identity, and history that stands fully in its own right.

(112,000 words; ebook $4.99 USD, paperback $14.95 USD)

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Reviews of A Far Better Rest

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Alleyn’s insightful storytelling and assiduous historical research create a richly textured, tragic tale that, in the tradition of the best historical novels, brings an era alive through the depiction of human drama. —Publishers Weekly

This well-written historical romance is recommended for all readers, especially those who have read the Dickens classic. —Library Journal

Alleyn’s novel gives a vivid picture of the development of the French Revolution through the eyes of that wonderful hero despite himself, Sydney Carton. —Booklist

In the hands of a less skilled writer, this book could have been a disappointment or worse, yet Ms. Alleyn succeeds admirably… I highly recommend A Far Better Rest, not only for fans of Dickens wanting to see the story told in a different way, but for anyone interested in the French Revolution and how it affected the lives of so many people. Though literary in nature, this novel appeals to the heart and soul and left this reader haunted by its wonderful characters, most notably its hero, Sydney Carton. —The Historical Novels Review