Like most of Dickens's early works, the novel has a contemporary setting. Much of the action takes place in London, with several chapters taking place in Dickens's birthplace of Portsmouth, as well as settings in Yorkshire and Devon. Nickleby is the first of Dickens's romances, an immediate and complete success establishing Dickens's lasting reputation. Mr Ralph Nickleby's first visit to his poor relations Nicholas Nickleby's father dies unexpectedly after losing all of his money in a poor investment. Nicholas, his mother and his younger sister, Kate, are forced to give up their comfortable lifestyle in Devonshire and travel to London to seek the aid of their only relative.