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Mrs. Craddock

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  486 ratings  ·  51 reviews
It is the end of the 19th century and Victoria's reign is coming to an end. It is also the end of an era, but no one knows. The landed gentry, so soon to lose their power, are the last to suspect.

Bertha Ley is mistress of Court Ley, a great spread of land. She marries Edward Craddock, a man beneath her station, but quite the essence of new order. A gentleman farmer, he is

Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 1st 2002 by Diogenes (first published 1902)
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“La signora Craddock” è la storia (che sempre si ripeterà, non per tutti fortunatamente, ma per molti sì) di un rapporto tra un uomo e una donna, sul quale si erano riversate molte speranze, ma che si rivelerà essere molto diverso da quel che i due protagonisti dello stesso avevano creduto.

Scritto molto bene, sebbene non sempre del tutto riuscito, amaro, ironico e spesso pungente, il romanzo ci rammenta quel che fondamentalmente siamo, ossia degli egoisti e, potendolo eventualmente fare, dei de
The story of a marriage, seen mainly through the eyes of the young wife. She brings alot of unrealistic expectations into the relationship, then feels frustrated when her husband doesn't meet them. Although Bertha can seem whiney and needy at times, the author still can make us feel sympathetic towards her. The husband isn't portrayed as an awful ogre, but simply a man whose emotions are more subdued than his wife. An interesting and realistic look at marriage during that time.
"If love dies--" Don't ask, what if. It always dies.
Get your second wind and go on.
Benjamin Duffy
"Between any two lovers there is always one who loves, and one who lets themself be loved. It is the one who loves, that always gets hurt."

This quote from Mrs. Craddock (I've rendered it as best I can from the original French) sums the book up well. The theme of unrequited love, or less-requited love at least, is also central to Maugham's superb Of Human Bondage (in fact, I believe a character in that book says it as well, only in English).

While Mrs. Craddock is definitely not up to the snuff of
Dec 19, 2014 Wanda marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wanda by: Laura
19 DEC 2014 -- spied on Laura's update feed. Sounds super.

Free download here --

Thank you, Laura! You ALWAYS read the best books!
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

In this book, Maugham describes the English society by the end of the 19th century.

Through the marriage of Bertha Ley and Edward Craddock, the author seems to approach to the masterpiece written by Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary.

A splendid book. We never expect the way the plot develops itself wit always with an unexpected end. That is why I do love his books.

5* The Razor's Edge
5* Of Human Bondage
4* The Painted Veil
4* The Narrow Corner
4* The Moon And
Maugham wrote a great deal about unequal love affairs, and this is a particularly infuriating one. Mrs. Craddock tells the story of an intelligent, educated, tasteful young woman who falls in love with a very provincial, limited young farmer. She stubbornly resists her guardians’ well meaning attempts to break the attachment, and marries him as quickly as she can. Edward Craddock is a good man by his peers’ standards, but his narrow, self-satisfied mind precludes any understanding between the lo ...more
Alexander Arsov
W. Somerset Maugham

Mrs Craddock

Vintage Classics, Paperback, 2000.

8vo. xi+292 pp. Preface for The Collected Edition, 1955 [v-xi].

First published by Heinemann, 1902 [bowdlerized].
The original edition first published by Heinemann, 1928 [with minor revisions and a new preface].
Preface further expanded for The Collected Edition, 1955.


From a historical point of view, Mrs Craddock is Somerset Maugham's most important novel after Of Human
William Somerset Maugham was once one of the most popular authors in the world, but he’s now in the somewhat awkward position of being neither very widely read by the general public nor a favourite of the academic world. But then he always was one to drift between the worlds of high and low culture: his books often seem to revel in depravity, being so frequently concerned with our most unpleasant, masochistic yearnings – and I don’t only mean sexual. I wonder if there’s still in our culture the ...more
Antes de ‘La señora Craddock’, de William Somerset Maugham sólo había leído un cuento perdido en una antología de autores ingleses y unas cien páginas de la ‘Servidumbre humana’. Aunque mi primer contacto con él, aún antes de todo esto, fue con la magnífica película ‘Of human bondage’ con Leslie Howard y Bette Davis. Y ya desde este primer encuentro intuía que iba a ser un escritor que me iba a gustar y, claro, cuando me enteré que era tímido y tartamudo aún me cayó más bien. Y ahora que, por fi ...more
This is not Maugham's best book but as I love everything he writes, I thought it deserved 5 stars all the same.
In this novel, Bertha, a young, idealistic, aristocratic girl, falls in love with a rather unimaginative but friendly and hard-working farmer, Edward Craddock. This is the story of marriage.
Her first mistake: She proposed to him. De La Rochefoucauld said "Entre deux amants il y a toujours un qui aime et un qui se laisse aimer." et Miss Leys added "et celui qui aime a toujours tort".
Mrs. Craddock is the story of a marriage, but is not a typical romance—the engagement and marriage take place within the first few chapters. The novel is about what happens after Bertha and Edward are living together and learning about one another. Neither character is idealized or even particularly likeable, but both are rich and well-drawn, seeming believable in their different ways.
As the third-person narrator follows Bertha throughout the entire novel, her varying feelings for Edward colo
I really admire this book. I have read a few of W. Somerset Maugham's stories and they are all good but this one is so relevant to today's world even though it was written in 1902. It is the story of a woman who marries for love and how the marriage unravels. It takes place mostly in the English countryside. All the emotions are so well described. All the steps in each little detail. From the first crush to the final acceptance. As a woman who has gone though it all myself I can very much relate ...more
When I finished Mrs. Craddock a strange sense of dizziness invaded me; the last few words and pages of the book melted into themselves, and suddendly I couldn't remember them; I could only remember that what I held in my hands is a really, really good book.

Is it a masterpiece? Maybe not; the greatest fault that I saw in "Mrs. Craddock" is that it is painfully obvious. Nothing in this book suprised me. Also, I was sad to see many similarities with "Of Human Bondage" which is Somerset Maugham's
Mrs Craddock è il racconto di una storia d'amore, o, nelle parole dell'ironica linea d'apertura, 'this could be called the Triumph of Love'. La giovane Bertha torna in Inghilterra (nel Kent) dopo la morte del padre, con cui ha viaggiato per molti anni in tutta Europa, per vivere con la zia Polly nella proprietà di famiglia, Leys Court. Qui ritrova l'amico d'infanzia Edward Craddock, e se ne innamora. Nonostante la differenza di classe (Bertha appartiene alla landed gentry, la piccola nobiltà di ...more
Everett Darling
Finished Mrs. Craddock in record time, ended serenly with the central characters pronounced emotional turbulence being tamed. Not only by herself, not simply-at first glance, and maddeningly so- by her husband, but a myriad of factors, notably Miss Ley, Gerald, her neighbors, but also travel, books, nature and most importantly, time. 30 seems to mean something different here than what I am looking at-though I do study the mirror on occasion for visual signs of aging, bald patches, frown lines, a ...more
I had never read Maugham. I had heard of him. Razor Edge and more recently The Painted Veil because of Edward Norton's film adapted from it. I came upon a rec for Mrs Craddock in Jessica Crispin's Blog of a Bookslut in January. This blog usually gives out there, sometimes underground recs. So I put in a request to have the book transferred from one of my library branch. It's a very ironic, somewhat darkish look at a dying class of people. We are at the end of the Victorian period and on the edge ...more
A bit more than halfway through this novel, the main character, Bertha Craddock, has this exchange with her husband, Edward:

"Oh, it drives me mad to think of the devotion I waste on you," she cried. "I'm a fool! You are all the world to me, and I, to you, am a sort of accident; you might have married anyone but me. If I hadn't come across your path you would infallibly have married someone else."

"Well, so you would you," he answered, laughing.

By the time I got to this passage, I was extremely ti
Maugham is an author I have always been meaning to read. I discovered that he actually wrote few novels (Of Human Bondage being the most famous) but was one of the most successful playwrights and short story writers of his time. The Goodreads synopsis really doesn't capture the true meaning of this novel. In many ways, it seems a very contemporary and cautionary story, and reminds me in some ways of Revolutionary Road (another tale of love and marriage gone wrong). What really appealed to me is ...more
Angie Fehl
One of my favorite of Maugham's. A great lesson in what happens when you get caught up in fantasy and ignore your reality. Bertha Ley, a girl from a privileged family, marries farmer Edward Craddock for the "fantasy" of marriage she has. She assumes life will be quiet bliss with her baking and raising sweet children while her husband lavishes attention on her. Over time she finds that her husband is not as romantic or passionate as herself, and spends all his time working on their lands and his ...more
A very interesting novel about relationships between men and women in the 1900s. Maugham is an intriguing writer. In Mrs. Craddock we meet Bertha Ley a 21 year old wealthy young woman in love with the idea of marriage, who marries a tenant on her land, Edward Craddock. Bertha learns that marriage to Edward Craddock is not exactly what she envisioned and she begins to hate her husband. The two are so incompatible it's a wonder how they were ever physically attracted! Maugham challenges social not ...more
Portia S
Bertha has always been in love with Edward, a man not only below her station, but her steward. As most relationships, it's rather beautiful in the beginning, where she and Edward get married and are happy and stuff, and then it withers away. Bertha realises there is no more emotion between her and Edward, and it haunts her. She finally recognises why she was warned against marrying him, he's a farmer, not a socialite, not an intellect, she remains unfulfilled. Leaving him for a short holiday, sh ...more
alessandra falca
Secondo libro di W.S. Maugham terminato agli inizi del '900. Esce nel 1902 e, per conto mio, è avanti.
E' avanti non tanto per la storia ma per come affronta la "crisi del matrimonio piccolo borghese", per come fa interagire la protagonista Bertha Craddock rispetto ai fatti della vita. Rispetto ad una condizione femminile che in quel periodo non doveva essere delle migliori. Non lo è tutt'ora. Trovo la scrittura di Maugham molto fluently, il libro ha una sua maniera e un suo stile che poi Maugham
Anna Semenova
An amazing book for women who are lost in their "loves". Maugham showed all the sides of love and affection. I truly enjoyed every line of the book devoted to a young girl who went through all the difficulties still waiting for her husband's feelings to show up. I strongly recommend reading it to those who like romantic novels and want to see bright things in life. 5 out of 5. Brilliant
Interesting as a picture of a particular place (Kent, UK) and time (the transition from Victorian to Edwardian). The book is a character study, and the characters are formed to a large extent by their surroundings. The pace of the writing is slow as befits the period, and so I found the development of the characters to be a bit repetitive. With the exception of Aunt Polly, who I quite liked, I found the main characters (Bertha and her husband Edward) to be unsympathetic. I suspect that Maugham d ...more
Ann M
I loved the character of Miss Ley. Otherwise, the writing was not very good here, unlike most of Maugham's work. The characters were well done, but there seemed to be a lot of uninspired padding.

Kudos to Maugham for portraying his main character, Bertha Craddock, sympathetically from the very beginning. A sensitive, imaginative, intelligent girl who chooses to marry badly... I was rooting for her. Her husband turns out to be a decent, hardworking sort, but not at all interesting or interested in
Обалденая книга! На одном дыхание. Не понимаю как такое смог написать мужчина.
Natxo Cruz
Una novel·la solvent que critica de manera ferotge la societat anglesa de finals del XIX i a la que la protagonista és incapaç d'adaptar-s'hi. A diferència d'Oscar Wilde, l'autor (segurament un ressentit que detestava tot el que l'envoltava i de qui fins i tot l'autor del pròleg diu que en sentiria "antipatia immediata" si el conegués) no té tants recursos per explicar la hipocresia i encorsetament victorians sense haver de prendre part directament - i interrompre - en la història, però malgrat ...more
Vj Krishnan
Write a review...Spoiler alert!

Its a very insightful book for its time. I can only say, it's best read before you think about getting married, or long after you have been married. Not the best book to calm your nerves before the wedding day, but provides unbiased view of how this one relationship had turned out for a woman swept off her feet by love.

Maugham's style of writing remains as acute as ever and it is a pleasure to read this particular work.
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William Somerset Maugham was born in Paris in 1874. He spoke French even before he spoke a word of English, a fact to which some critics attribute the purity of his style.

His parents died early and, after an unhappy boyhood, which he recorded poignantly in 'Of Human Bondage' , Maugham became a qualified physician. But writing was his true vocation. For ten years before his first success, he alm
More about W. Somerset Maugham...
Of Human Bondage The Razor's Edge The Painted Veil The Moon and Sixpence Theatre

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“Happily men don't realise how stupid they are, or half the world would commit suicide. Knowledge is a will-of-the-wisp, fluttering ever out of the traveller's reach; and a weary journey must be endured before it is even seen. It is only when a man knows a good deal that he discovers how unfathomable is his ignorance. The man who knows nothing is satisfied that there is nothing to know, consequently that he knows everything; and you may more easily persuade him that the moon is made of green cheese than that he is not omniscient.” 6 likes
“With old and young great sorrow is followed by a sleepless night, and with the old great joy is as disturbing; but you, I suppose, finds happiness more natural and its rest is not disturbed by it.” 2 likes
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