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Mrs Craddock

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,007 ratings  ·  103 reviews
A young woman, carried away by passion, sees a chance to escape a dull life and to experience true love. But 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 a loveless, oppressive marriage.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published December 1st 1992 by Penguin Classics (first published 1902)
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Warren Very much so. You will not find anything explicit or inappropriate in Maugham's work, even though he often delves into the dark realms of human nature…moreVery much so. You will not find anything explicit or inappropriate in Maugham's work, even though he often delves into the dark realms of human nature.(less)

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Ahmad Sharabiani
Mrs Craddock, W. Somerset Maugham

Mrs Craddock, is a novel, by: William Somerset Maugham, first published in 1902.

The story of a rich woman Bertha, who falls in love with a peasant named Edward, marries him with a thousand wishes, but soon realizes that he loves his wife, and there is no reciprocal love. Life becomes a hell for Bertha (who wants love and that's it), the story of Bertha's suffering to the reader, the struggles, the love turning into hatred, And then there is indifference, and ind
Paul Bryant
Nov 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
Of the five possible ratings we give books here, three stars is the most irritating. It looks like a hmmm yeah okay blah blah not bad, didn’t rock my world kind of statement but it in fact hides complexities other ratings don’t have. You know where you are with one, two, four and five stars. But three can be 2.5 rounded up – it was bad but I love this author so I will be kind, or, it was horribly written but the main idea was great, etc, or on the other hand it can be 3.5 rounded down, kind of w ...more
Excerpt from Wiki:

"Maugham had some difficulty finding a publisher (for this book). Completed in 1900, the novel was eventually published in 1902 by William Heinemann, but only on the condition that the author took out passages which, according to Heinemann, might have offended the readers. A successful and popular book, Mrs Craddock was reissued in 1903 and again in 1908. In 1938 the first non-Bowdlerized version, stylistically improved by Maugham, came out."

Non-Bowdlerized means a non-censored
May 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
"If love dies--" Don't ask, What if? It always dies.
Get your second wind and go on.
Richard Seltzer
Dec 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
This novel begins with terse and memorable ironic wit like Oscar Wilde, like George Bernard Shaw. The British caste system and its related prejudices and pompous tomfoolery are easy targets. The author might very well have hammered home obvious messages of social justice, with the characters as pawns in a game of moral social-consciousness. But, miracle of miracles, the main character, Bertha AKA Mrs. Craddock comes alive and does what she will, and falls in and out of love, matures and falls in ...more
Benjamin Duffy
Nov 27, 2009 rated it liked it
"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
Nov 22, 2017 rated it liked it
W. Somerset Maugham is one of my all time favorite writers but I was very disappointed in Mrs. Craddock. I’m still sorting why I didn’t like it but one thing that grated was the exaggerated emotions of the main character. Even taking into account her extreme age, eighteen when the story opens, her lost in puppy love gushing about a local farmer named Edward Craddock did not ring true or I suppose teenagers do have such feelings but they continue into her twenties and we have to hear about them u ...more
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
Dec 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  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!

10 DEC 2017 - a realistic novel of marriage. Bertha brought her unrealistic expectations of marriage and person into her relationship and marriage to Mr Craddock. She gave in to her carnal feelings and married the best looking specimen of man she found - something that does not always work out. Also, Craddock was a man of simple nee
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Dec 22, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bettie by: Laura
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Smitha Murthy
Would it be a wee bit scandalous if I say that I liked ‘Mrs Craddock’ even better than Maugham’s classic bildungsroman ‘Of Human Bondage?’ Perhaps. I fell in love with the uneven pace of ‘Mrs.Craddock.’ There was something that I could relate to in the slow unraveling of a marriage that Maugham paints here. It’s not his best work, yes, as the narration is unwieldy and Maugham tries a bit too hard to be Oscar Wilde. And he almost succeeds. In Bertha’s aunt, he has created a character for the ages ...more
May 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
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
Amanda Brookfield
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When Somerset Maugham first presented the manuscript of 'Mrs Craddock' to his publishers it was deemed too shocking to publish. When the book finally did see light of day, in 1902, it was on the condition that the 'shocking' sections were removed. Knowing this, it is impossible not to embark on a reading of the novel in its current unedited form without speculating on what had been judged too terrible to appear in print, while at the same time marvelling that any publisher would want to leave ou ...more
Aug 10, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 0-dl, 2020
I initially enjoyed reading this, but as the story progressed I lost interest. Bertha's over-the-top drama became tedious and unbearable. ...more
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An intimate and intuitive character study. I loved the exploration of the shifts of feelings that different relationships experience. Individual characters, too, like Bertha, Miss Ley, and Gerald were finely drawn. Miss Ley had me chuckling quite a few times with her wry, sarcastic wit.

One of Maugham's lesser known (?) but definitely worthwhile reads.
Po Po
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nadia Zeemeeuw
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first “early” Maugham I’ve read - and it was good. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this book, though can clearly see that such prolific author as Maugham was definitely got somehow repetitive in his latest works. There are quite a lot parallels you can see between “Mrs Craddock” (1902) and “Theatre” (1937). Apparently some themes were quite important for the author through all his live. The writer even put in his characters’ mouths the same quotes. Anyway “Mrs Craddock” is a fascinatin ...more
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a great book. It was written in 1900 but was deemed too naughty. It was however published two years later with all the naughty bits removed By today's standards this is nothing. Thirty years later it was however published from the original manuscript. It hasn't dated too much and is very readable today. He is one of my favourite authors. I have read about seven of his books and none have disappointed ...more
May 17, 2021 rated it liked it
3.5 really. I didn't like Bertha, Mrs. Craddock, very much. And the story was exasperating and sad. But I found I couldn't put it down. I wanted to know how this marriage mismatch was resolved. Maugham really handles sarcasm and irony well and some of the descriptions of behavior by Bertha, Edward, and some of the other characters were so spot on they could have been written about people in today's world albeit in more stilted language. ...more
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I found this book difficult to get into at times, but when it’s good, it’s really good. It’s difficult to like either Bertha or Edward, and they are both infuriating and ridiculous, but also occasionally relatable. It’s an odd book, but I love Maugham’s writing so it won me over.
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
Everett Darling
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Finished Mrs. Craddock in record time, ended serenly with the central character´s 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, ...more
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Maybe it was the writing, maybe it was the prime insight into life during this period of time...but most likely it was because of its relevance. There is love, passion, sadness, frustration, and indifference. Mrs. Craddock is about human nature, and how in every relationship there is one who is loved and one who loves; a feeling that all of us have felt in a relationship at one point or another. Maugham masterfully guides us along the relationship of Mr. and Mrs. C
Sep 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my favorite Maugham novel, but still a very enjoyable read. Maugham is amazing with this novel, in that he makes Bertha Craddock both despicable and pitiable. Edward never really changes throughout the novel. He's the same goofy oaf from beginning to end. But the reader's conception of him changes as Bertha becomes more and more sympathetic through the novel. It's really kind of genius on Maugham's part. But the story ...more
what I found most interesting were the amount of errors in this book. the introduction said that the author found this original manuscript and did his best to correct the authors punctuations and such but it seems to me he did very little to really find the mistakes. but for this reason it also made the reading of the book quite interesting. I times I enjoyed the story but often I was bored or angry with the situations.
Apr 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: i-own-it
This one had the familiar pangs of a doomed love affair not unlike the protagonists in Of Human Bondage. While the characters and their circumstances greatly differ, the futility and despair that one goes through in impossible pursuit of an unrequited love are remarkably the same. But this did not feel like a Somerset Maugham novel. Had I been made to guess the identity of the author, and in spite of the story's Blackstable setting, I would have pointed to Jane Austen. ...more
Steve Payne
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
An early novel from the master which doesn't have the full flair of his later novels, but still has enough fun to recommend it. A rich woman marries one of the men working the land her father once owned. The love she feels for him dwindles after marriage. There are some moments of repetition, but enough funny and moving sections to pull you in for the ride. There's an entertaining party scene full of typical Maugham characters! ...more
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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 almost l

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