Assertive and sensual, Bertha Ley finds herself carried away by a passion for Edward Craddock, a young man she has known since childhood. She sees in marriage to him a chance to escape from the quiet life she leads with her aunt - and to experience true love.
But, passionate and full of life, she discovers that little in her marriage to the dutiful and sensible Edward meets her expectations. And as passion dies, she finds herself trapped in an oppressively incongruous marriage.
Rejected by publisher after publisher, Mrs Craddock was finally published only on the condition that various 'shocking'
passages were removed. Maugham, unable to sec what was so offensive, was delighted when the book was reissued thirty years later in its original form.