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The Battle of Life: A Love Story with illustrations (Christmas Books)

3.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  406 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
Check out ngims Publishing's other illustrated literary classics. The vast majority of our books have original illustrations and navigable Table of Contents. Browse our library by type in ngims at bn.com (or Kindle Store) or ngims plus the title you're looking for, e.g. ngims Gulliver's Travels.

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Published December 17th 2010 by ngims Publishing (first published 1846)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,203)
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Jason
Nov 17, 2015 Jason rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Romance
Recommended to Jason by: The Dickens Christmas Books
Shelves: christmas, dickens
Why do I continue to write reviews for everything I read when nobody reads the bloody things?

Emily Baldwin Homecoming photo EmilyBaldwinHomecoming.jpg
"Just because there's nobody there is no reason not to carry on the conversation."

Well, I suppose you're right, Miss Emily. Thank you. This was read in this compilation: A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Classics

This is not Dickens' best work. It's the fourth of his Christmas books, and doesn't live up to the expectations I set after reading the first three. It's considered a Christmas book because
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Laura
Opening lines:
Once upon a time, it matters little when, and in stalwart England, it matters little where, a fierce battle was fought. It was fought upon a long summer day when the waving grass was green. Many a wild flower formed by the Almighty Hand to be a perfumed goblet for the dew, felt its enamelled cup filled high with blood that day, and shrinking dropped. Many an insect deriving its delicate colour from harmless leaves and herbs, was stained anew that day by dying men, and marked its fr
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Thom Swennes
Size is a question of perception. Published as a novella in 1846, The Battle of Life by Charles Dickens came into the world boasting a mere three chapters. One may think, after hearing this that such a short book could hardly be worth the paper and ink. The fact that the chapters are of hefty dimensions should hardly play a role. What should, however, influence a potential reader is quality. The three pregnant chapters of The Battle of Life are brimming with quality. Any author would be proud an ...more
Stephanie Martin
Meh. The beginning was so promising, but the end was lame. It made me ultimately dislike all the characters but Clemency the ding dong servant. She was the most fully sketched, agreeable character. The teary young misses were total bores.
John
Jan 06, 2014 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was not impressed early on in reading this and was on the way to giving this a 2 star rating. I did enjoy it about midway through and would definitely recommend it to Charles Dickens fans.
Cinzia
Apr 13, 2015 Cinzia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ottocento, classics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emily
Interesting little story about two sisters and their loves. It didn't have a strong plot or make a lot of sense as to the moral of the story. But it had a lot of Dickens flair in it and his excellent and amusing perceptions and characterizations of people.
Laura
Apr 01, 2012 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book wasn't terrible. There were absolutely beautiful passages and nice scenes; however, I would never recommend this book unless nothing else to read and you needed a few hours to kill. There were parts in the beginning when I wanted to stop reading, but it started to flow better and was then a quick read.
Veronica
Dec 21, 2015 Veronica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book didn't really satisfy me. Although not all the Christmas books by Dickens actually happen or talk about Christmas, this one seems to be particularly far away from the sense of holidays or of that familiar feeling that Dickens is so good at portraying. Moreover, the story is not very engaging. There is a sort of mystery which is not a mystery, a love story which is not a love story and the tempo is rather slow. It is Dickens, hence the writing style is sufficient to get the reader throu ...more
Jon
Dec 04, 2008 Jon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The least popular of Dickens' Christmas books, and justifiably so.
Howard
Apr 21, 2010 Howard rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Memorable only as an unremarkable story by Dickens.
Nadyne
First sentence: "Once upon a time, it matters little when, and in stalwart England, it matters little where, a fierce battle was fought."

Last sentence: "I hardly know what weight to give to his authority."

After reading 'A Christmas Carol' and the disappointing 'A Christmas Tree' I wanted to stay a bit longer in the Christmas atmosphere, so I looked in my (extensive) e-book list to see if Dickens had some more stories set in this period of time. And of course he did. There were mentioned 5 so-cal
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Polly Clarke
I have mixed views on this, the fourth Christmas story. Difficult to read in parts but beautifully written in others. A peculiar plot with characters acting pretty peculiar too. My favourite character was Clemence and I especially liked Dickens description in the way that she moves. The ending was unsatisfactory leaving us with the notion that the couple may or may not have married and settled. All in all it was ok hence the two star.
Jackie
I didn't like the beginning much. The battle field, the people dying in battle... many years before the actual story takes place... Although all of that might have an important symbolic value, it just doesn't really fit in my opinion. However, I liked the course of events, and I loved getting to know more Dickens characters. So, all in all, it's a lovely little story. Oh, and since it's not very Christmassy, you could read it throughout the year.
Ronan Doyle
Such a fine conceptual conceit, and so very little of any great note done with it. Reading the Christmas books in sequence, I think, was not a very good idea. They're ill-distinguished in such close proximity. Can't say much more than I've said already: sweet and simple sentiments that likely meant much more to a contemporary audience than they ever really could to us now. Not hanging around here for anything but the language.
Mike Blaha
After Great Expectations this was a let down.. There was no "hook" to grab my attention. It felt like an accounting in a log rather than a gripping tale.. Only thing that saved it was my respect for Dickens and Mr Smiths interpretation ..
Chris
Apr 26, 2015 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the last of the Dickens Christmas novels. It's not my favorite, but I think it had the simplest and most believable plot. Maybe a bit hard to believe someone could/would be as selfless as Marion, but a nice story nonetheless. And another one that's short (for Dickens)!
Thom Swennes
Mar 04, 2013 Thom Swennes rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
To have loved and lost it only to find love again; in someone else is the main theme of this novella by the master of characterizations, Charles Dickens. While I read this book I had to constantly remind myself that it wasn’t a work of Thomas Hardy. I am always happy to read Victorian love stories as they take such a round-about way of approaching the subject. This short story is generally grouped with Dickens’ Christmas stories but I have never considered it so and that this categorization is a ...more
Katherine Holmes
A novella by Dickens and I like reading minor works of authors. The book brought me in with the quintessential Dickens qualities, going into a scene with Dr. Jeddler, his two daughters, the intended of the younger one, odd servants, and two lawyers. Their outdoor luncheon was almost like a Mad Hatter scene. The hint that the younger daughter doesn't return her lover's exuberance is developed through other characters until she disappears. Dickens was economical in resolving all this, except for t ...more
Paul Taylor
Included as one of his five Christmas stories the Christmas element seems to be missing from a tale of star crossed lovers and Hardyesque self denial in the face of true love.
CadyCan
Read as part of the entire works of Charles Dickens.
Managed to read this one quite quickly as it was a short story. It was also faster paced in the telling than Barnaby Rudge was which made it an altogether better tale. I can't decide if the story is lame or quite beautiful. Hmmm, I think the unselfish sacrifices of the sisters, one in particular, that the entire tale centres upon, is the beautiful part, the over dramatisation of it, is the lame part, but then perhaps the two go hand in hand....
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Karen Chung
I downloaded the (very well done) Librivox audio reading of this work after skimming a few reviews of it on Goodreads. This is probably my least favorite Dickens so far. A convoluted plot full of confusion and contrived surprise. I found the first chapter really dull and hard to get through, and almost gave up, but fortunately things picked up in chapter two. On the whole, corny, maudlin, and peppered with baroque Dickensian prose, but if you want another view of Dickens, or to get through all h ...more
Atlantis
Jan 30, 2013 Atlantis rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Luke
Dec 04, 2015 Luke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5/5
da-wildchildz
Dec 24, 2014 da-wildchildz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves:
After a little angst, Dickens delivers his happy ending and shows he is a romantic!
Will
Dec 20, 2013 Will rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The fourth Dickens "Christmas book" that has very little to do with Christmas. They decorate the house with holly and mention that it is "near", but that is about it. 3 stars primarily for the very funny descriptions of the clumsy but loveable servant, Clemency Newcome, and the lawyers, Snitchey and Craggs. However, that may be generous. I felt its un-Dickens-like brevity was an act of mercy.
Iain
Dec 28, 2013 Iain rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
All the elements of a good Christmas Dickens' story except it doesn't really take place during Christmas, it is set in a small country village opposed to the usual urban London storyboard and there are no ghosts to haunt the pages. A nice story nonetheless.
Mike Jensen
The best of Dickens is sublime; the worst of Dickens is the worst of times. This book is miserable. It is one of his Christmas books (which are so called because they were released during the holidays; they did not always have holiday content), but it seems designed to bring down your spirits rather than bring them holiday cheer.
Heather
Sep 05, 2015 Heather rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-group
Every year around Christmastime, our book group reads one of Dickens' "Christmas" stories. I've enjoying learning about these lesser known ones. They are quirky gems.

I ended up reading this one on my computer, drawing a diagram of the characters, listening to a free recording of this story, while crocheting. It was cozy.
Jon
May 12, 2015 Jon rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Battle of Life by Charles Dickens is considered one of his five Christmas books. I have no idea why, since there's nothing to do with Christmas in the novella. In fact, there's really nothing to do with anything. I'd say there's a good reason this isn't one of Dickens' better-known stories.
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Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the twentieth century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and sho ...more
More about Charles Dickens...

Other Books in the Series

Christmas Books (5 books)
  • A Christmas Carol
  • The Chimes
  • The Cricket on the Hearth
  • The Haunted Man

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“A kind and generous man by nature, he had stumbled, by chance, over that common Philosopher`s stone (much more easily discovered than the object of the alchemist`s researches), which sometimes trips up kind and generous men, and has the fatal property of turning gold to dross and every precious thing to poor account.” 3 likes
“We count by changes and events within us. Not by years.” 2 likes
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