Berta 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 thirty years before the full text could be published.