The Battle of Life by Charles Dickens

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Title: The Battle of Life
Author: Charles Dickens
In: A Christmas Carol and Other Holiday Treasures (Charles Dickens)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: ChristmasClassics
Pace: Slow
Format: Novella
Publisher: Word Cloud Classics
Year: 1846
5th sentence, 74th page: But, as I have observed that Time confuses facts occasionally, I hardly know what weight to give to his authority.

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The Battle of Life: A Love Story is a novella by Charles Dickens, 1st published in 1846. It’s the 4th of his five “Christmas Books”, coming after The Cricket on the Hearth, followed by The Haunted Man & the Ghost’s Bargain.

The setting is an English village that stands on the site of a historic battle. Some characters refer to the battle as a metaphor for the struggles of life, hence the title.

Battle is the only one of the five Christmas Books that has no supernatural or explicitly religious elements. (One scene takes place at Christmas time, but it isn’t the final scene.) The story bears some resemblance to The Cricket on the Hearth in two aspects: it has a non-urban setting & it’s resolved with a romantic twist. It’s even less of a social novel than is Cricket. As is typical with Dickens, the ending is a happy one.

It’s one of Dickens’ lesser-known works & has never attained any high level of popularity, a trait it shares among the Christmas Books with The Haunted Man.


This is mostly in my Christmas shelf because it is one of Charles Dickens’ Christmas stories. There’s not really much of a Christmas theme to it, nor is it specifically set around the holiday season. Yet, somehow, it does feel that it belongs within this collection regardless.

As far as stories go, this is a pretty easy and quaint one. Two sisters take centre stage alongside their matrimonial plans. Marion is the one who is to marry, and it is from here that things spiral out of control. All throughout the love story, it seems to be a completely predictable journey. Until the third part, the part in which a quite unexpected twist takes place. One that highlights the love between sisters and makes you view the entirety of the first two parts in an entirely different light.

 <- The Cricket on the Hearth ReviewThe Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain Review ->
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