A Tale of Two Cities takes place during the French Revolution when peasants, led by the owner of a wine shop, revolt against the aristocrats. A young girl named Lucie ties the characters together and through her love she brings life to those around her, and motivates one to freely give his life away out of love for her.
“Some people called it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed fell, it made a tree which struggled to reach the sky. It grew in boarded-up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps and it was the only tree that grew out of cement. It grew lushly, but only in tenements districts.”
Like the Tree of Heaven, Francie Nolan is a young girl growing up poor in Brooklyn in the early 1900s determined to thrive and make a better life for herself.
A terrifying encounter with an escaped convict in a graveyard on the wild Kent marshes; a summons to meet the bitter, decaying Miss Havisham and her beautiful, cold-hearted ward Estella; the sudden generosity of a mysterious benefactor—these form a series of events that changes the orphaned Pip’s life forever, and he eagerly abandons his humble origins to begin a new life as a gentleman. Dickens’s haunting late novel depicts Pip’s education and development through adversity as he discovers the true nature of his ‘great expectations’.
Jane Eyre is the story of a young woman’s struggles to uphold her convictions despite her painful upbringing and the strictures of society and religion. Jane does not compromise, even at risk to her own happiness and health, that which she holds as truths. She is an ageless heroine for all young girls today.
Penned by Charlotte Brontë under a pseudonym in 1847, Jane Eyre, at the time, was criticized as having an anti-Christian slant. Today this semi-autobiographical novel is considered one of the top literary classics of all-time.
Narrator Nick Caraway tells the story of Jay Gatsby’s pursuit of wealth, and of his long lost love Daisy during the Jazz Age. Everybody who is anybody is seen at Jay Gatsby’s glittering parties. Day and night his mansion on West Egg buzzes with bright young things drinking, dancing and debating his mysterious character. For Gatsby – young, handsome, fabulously rich – always seems alone in the crowd, watching and waiting, although no one knows what for. Beneath the shimmering surface of his life he is hiding a secret: a silent longing that can never be fulfilled. And soon this destructive obsession will force his world to unravel.
In a strange New York City at the turn of the nineteenth century, Peter Lake is being pursued by the murderous Pearly Soames and his Short Tails gang, when he is rescued by Athansor, a beautiful and extraordinary white horse that becomes his companion. Peter burglarizes the wealthy homes on the Upper West Side and comes upon the consumptive and dying Beverly Penn.