Bertha Ley comes of age, inherits her father's money, and promptly marries a handsome, calm, and unimaginative man. Bertha is wildly in love with Edward and believes she can be happy playing the role of a dutiful wife in their country home. But, intelligent and sensual, she quickly becomes bored by her oppressively conventional life, and finds her love for her husband slipping away.
Originally rejected by publishers, Mrs. Craddock was first published only on condition that certain "shocking" passages were removed. It was 30 years before the full text could be published.
Public Domain (P)2012 Audible Ltd
"He is a decade ahead of D.H. Lawrence in his portrayal of a woman with a passionate sexual attraction." (Washington Post)
"Maugham's best work as a novelist.... Ahead of its time." (New York Times)
"An absorbing picture of a marriage"
What made this book enjoyable was the strong identification I felt with the main character, sharing in particular her claustrophobia and frustration in her marriage with her dreadful husband and his obdurate ignorance. It does of course reflect the mores of the time in terms of the power relationships between husbands and wives, but has a modern sensibility in relation to a woman's physical passions. In fact it is interesting to note that it some passages were censored for nearly 30 years.
Aunt Polly was in some ways my favourite character because of her acerbic wit, and perceptive insights into the actions and characters of others
This is the only one I listened to
It made me quite angry at times, sharing in Bertha's frustration, but this helped engagement in the book.
The book is not unflawed. I would have liked a little more insight into the husband's motivations, and the character of Aunt Polly could have been developed further, but overall and enjoyable read.
Maugham is writing here tediously long and repetitive passages of his version of the over-emotional and trite sentimentality of 'woman'. Completely without any depth, it has little or no story, poor character development, no humour and no justification except to illustrate that this author had a long way to go in his perception of character to achieve his later greatness.
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