I could easily say that W. Somerset Maugham’s “Cakes and Ale” is not the powerhouse novel that was “Of Human Bondage” or “The Magician” or “The Razor’s Edge” and I feel quite sure that quite a few readers might agree with me and, to a large extent, it is not but it has a character, Rosie Driffield, who is so unique, so seductive, enchanting, and mysterious that she carries this book to the heights of the previously mentioned novels by Mr. Maugham. That a writer could create such a truly fascinating character is a tribute to the author. Even when she is not mentioned during parts of the book, her presence hangs over the book like beautiful California sunshine. She is a gem that shines everlasting.
The book is about writers and the real and fake legacies they leave behind depending on the likes and dislikes of the time and place they are being discussed, but if there is one thing that is true it is that despite the period “Rosie” transcends both space and time and she makes this a magnificent book.