"Cakes and Ale" (1930) tells about the life of Edward Driffield in whom the contemporaries of the writer easily recognize another great English writer - Thomas Hardy. Somerset Maugham fills the story with splendid dialogues and charming wit, typical of him. He does not hide his cynical attitude to human ambitions and weaknesses. The tension, seeped through the novel, slowly reveals the secrets of the characters and keeps the reader in suspense until the last page.
The title of that novel the author drew from the remark of Sir Toby Belch to Malvolio in William Shakespeare's comedy, “Twelfth Night”, or “What You Will”: “Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?".
In one of his interviews, in 1958, Somerset Maugham stated that „Cakes and Ale“ was his favorite of all his novels.