Kipps is the story of Arthur “Artie” Kipps, an illegitimate orphan raised by his aunt and uncle on the southern coast of England in the town of New Romney. Kipps falls in love with neighbor friend Ann Pornick but soon loses touch with her as he begins an apprenticeship at a drapery establishment in the port town of Folkestone. After a drunken evening with his new friend Chitterlow, an aspiring playwright, Kipps discovers he is to inherit a house and sizable income from his grandfather. Kipps then struggles to understand what his new-found wealth means in terms of his place in society and his love life.
While today H. G. Wells is best known for his “scientific romances” such as The Time Machine and The Island of Doctor Moreau, Wells considered Kipps his favorite work. Wells worked closely with (some say pestered) his publisher Macmillan to employ creative promotional schemes, and thanks to a cheap edition sales blossomed to over 200,000 during the first two decades of publication. It was during this period that his prior futuristic works became more available and popular with American audiences.