Bleak House, published in monthly parts Mar 1852 - Sep 1853, Dickens' ninth novel. This is considered to be one of Dickens’ finest novels, containing vast, complex and engaging arrays of characters and sub-plots. Bleak House has a strong and obvious theme whose point may, in fact, be more debatable than Dickens realized; yet the book is not a thesis novel, or at least not a clear example of one. Foremost, Bleak House is a romance — affairs of the heart for Esther, Ada, and Caddy figure very prominently — and it is a murder mystery, as well. This novel, like many other works of Dickens, balances themes of social criticism with motifs dealing with the truths of personal experience. Esther Summerson, one of the principal characters, is relatively little affected by the deplorable workings of the Chancery Court. In the main, her story centers around her initiation into life — her discovery of her own identity, and the development of her emotional relationships with Lady Dedlock, John Jarndyce, Allan Wood-court, and others.