The Painted Veil is the story of Kitty Garstin, a young woman living a high social life, who marries Walter Fane, a man that’s declared his love for Kitty, just to avoid being upstaged by her younger and less attractive sister getting married first. Shortly after the marriage, they depart England and head to China where Walter, a bacteriologist and physician, is stationed.
Once in China, Walter discovers that his wife Kitty is having an affair and gives her an ultimatum, accompany him to a remote region of China that is stricken with an outbreak of cholera or face a humiliating divorce that will expose her affair. It is there that she embarks on a journey of self-discovery that leads to an unexpected chance of redemption for her unborn child.
W. Somerset Maugham was born in Paris, France, as the son of a British embassy official, and later grew up in England. He studied medicine and officially qualified as a doctor before turning to writing full time. He became one of the 20th century’s most popular novelists, as well as a celebrated playwright and short story writer. He also served as an agent for the British Secret Intelligence Service during the first world war, where he traveled to India, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific. Many of his novels and short stories were influenced by his travels during the world war.