While I wait to hear from the publisher about my own book, I now have time to give a shout-out to my friend and fellow indie author Eileen Granfors, whose novel, Sydney’s Story, has been published in paperback this past week. Over twenty years in the making, Sydney’s Story, a prequel to Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, recounts the formative years of Dickens’s Sydney Carton in London. Granfors tells me she wrote the book to fulfill a promise to her high school students back in the 1980s, who struggled to understand Sydney’s character. “My students thought Sydney was either a loser or a dupe for his final actions in Tale,” she told me in an e-mail. “Few saw him as heroic. I told them there had to be more of the story, but Dickens hadn’t given it to us.”
So using Dickens’s scant references to Sydney’s previous life in Tale as a starting point, she thoroughly researched life in London in the late eighteenth century to present us with a lively and vivid portrayal of what Sydney’s life might have been like in the years before he makes his entrance in the Dickens classic. For Granfors, though, all that research appears to have been a labor of love, and a product of her teaching years. “Any book I taught,” she told me, “I researched as much as possible from the historical view. I thought it was interesting that Dickens wrote A Tale of Two Cities as a warning to Britain about the excesses of revolution. That’s one reason that Lucie Manette-Darnay is such a typical Victorian girl. She is strong, but she also faints a lot and cries a lot.”
“I am in touch with a lot of my former students on Facebook,” she added. “I can’t wait for them to see the dedication of the book to them.”
As I’ve written before, when Granfors isn’t writing books, she’s reviewing them on Amazon. And you can read more about her and her fiction on her website, here.