The Battle of Life: A Love Story is a novella by Charles Dickens, first published in 1846. It is the fourth of his five Christmas Books , preceded by A Christmas Carol (1843), The Chimes (1844), The Cricket on the Hearth (1845) and followed by The Haunted Man and the Ghost s Bargain (1848). The setting is an English village that stands on the site of an historic battle. Some characters refer to the battle as a metaphor for the struggles of life, hence the title. The Battle of Life is the only one of the five Christmas Books that has no supernatural or explicitly religious elements. The story bears some resemblance to The Cricket on the Hearth in two respects: it has a non-urban setting, and it is resolved with a romantic twist. It is even less of a social novel than is Cricket. As is typical with Dickens, the ending is a happy one. Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world s most memorable fictional characters and is generally regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period. During his life, his works enjoyed unprecedented fame, and by the twentieth century his literary genius was broadly acknowledged by critics and scholars. His novels and short stories continue to be widely popular. Dickens was regarded as the literary colossus of his age. His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, is one of the most influential works ever written, and it remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. Set in London and Paris, his 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, is the best selling novel of all time. His creative genius has been praised by fellow writers - from Leo Tolstoy to George Orwell and G. K. Chesterton - for its realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterisations, and social criticism.