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    A woman's plight

    When Bertha Leys wants to marry Edward Craddock, her family and friends are scandalised. Women did not marry into a social class beneath them in 1880s Britain. But Bertha, not yet 20, had made up her mind. She is intensely in love with Edward which leads to unrealistic expectations and demands. Bertha eventually believes her love is unrequited. But he is just the same; attentive and living in his own way. She is a frustrating character which is one of the book's strengths. By the end I was sympathising with her. When she has a baby her life changes. She has time away CEO. She has time away from Edward and meets Gerald and falls in love. But she returns to Edward and lives an unhappy life. Mrs Craddock was published in 1902. The choices for a woman who wanted to leave her marriage were limited if not non-existent. This love exposes the restrictions women faced. Maugham maintains tension throughout the novel. The characters are engaging, imperfect and at times frustrating. But that's what well written characters do.
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