Hard Time (Paperback)
Hard Times is unusual in several respects. It is by far the shortest of Dickens' novels, barely a quarter of the length of those written immediately before and after it. 1] Also, unlike all but one of his other novels, Hard Times has neither a preface nor illustrations. Moreover, it is his only novel not to have scenes set in London. 2] Instead the story is set in the fictitious Victorian industrial Coketown, a generic Northern English mill-town, in some ways similar to Manchester, though smaller. Coketown may be partially based on 19th-century Preston.