Hard Times is a story written about Ellen Tinkle, an 'obey the rules', responsible middle class girl whose life suddenly changes due to her families financial hardship. Thrust into the uncouth world of Buckman Estates, a trailer park where her aunt and cousins live, she is introduced to all sorts activities that clash with her suburban sensibilities. Attempting to keep a stiff upper lip and do all she can to 'be a good girl' and help her family, she gradually finds herself participating in things the she never would have dreamed of doing back in Cherry Lawn.
The tags for Hard Times can give you the impression of a dark tale filled with beautiful women being forced against their will to perform acts of debauchery beyond the imagination, but nothing could be further from the truth. While these acts of debauchery are still there, what makes Hard Times so different from other stories like this (and at the same time makes it so good) is that each character gradually chooses to participate in each of these acts as he/she confronts their situation, feelings, desires and relationships in a most believable way and leaving your panting for the next one.
Ms Serve has crafted a wonderful tale, filled with vivid and colorful characters each of which is so interesting they could be written into stories of their own. The characters and imagery are so compelling that for years now I have been continually visiting watching for progress so I can find out what happens next. There are several chapters that I find myself reading and rereading because the images are so life like and yet so astonishing. (Read chapters 129 and 130 to get a feel for the story but it might be a spoiler - amazing that their can be a heart to heart talk in the midst of that situation).
I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed Hard Times and I am looking forward to seeing more great work from Ms Serve. I hope she continues to write like this.