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A Room With a View (Great Love Stories) PDF, ePub eBook "But you do," he went on, not waiting for contradiction. "You love the boy body and soul, plainly, directly, as he loves you, and no other word expresses it ..." Lucy has her rigid, middle-class life mapped out for her until she visits Florence with her uptight cousin Charlotte, and finds her neatly ordered existence thrown off balance. Her eyes are opened by the unconventi "But you do," he went on, not waiting for contradiction. "You love the boy body and soul, plainly, directly, as he loves you, and no other word expresses it ..." Lucy has her rigid, middle-class life mapped out for her until she visits Florence with her uptight cousin Charlotte, and finds her neatly ordered existence thrown off balance. Her eyes are opened by the unconventional characters she meets at the Pension Bertolini: flamboyant romantic novelist Eleanor Lavish, the Cockney Signora, curious Mr Emerson and, most of all, his passionate son George. Lucy finds herself torn between the intensity of life in Italy and the repressed morals of Edwardian England, personified in her terminally dull fiancé Cecil Vyse. Will she ever learn to follow her own heart?

30 review for A Room With a View (Great Love Stories)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Fionnuala

    There is a great line in A Room with a View about a book that has been abandoned in a garden: The garden was deserted except for a red book, which lay sunning itself upon the gravel path. The author then describes what the main characters are doing in various locations adjacent to the garden, but meanwhile the red book is allowed to be caressed all the morning by the sun and to raise its covers slightly, as though to acknowledge the caress. The description of the book seems very innocent but the There is a great line in A Room with a View about a book that has been abandoned in a garden: The garden was deserted except for a red book, which lay sunning itself upon the gravel path. The author then describes what the main characters are doing in various locations adjacent to the garden, but meanwhile the red book is allowed to be caressed all the morning by the sun and to raise its covers slightly, as though to acknowledge the caress. The description of the book seems very innocent but the reader’s attention is immediately caught. What is the significance of this book within a book, we wonder, and why does it have a 'red' cover. As it turns out, the immediate purpose of the red-covered book on that sunny English morning is to move the story along, quickly and dramatically. The red book causes certain things to happen that wouldn't otherwise have happened as if it were in fact a character in the novel with a voice of its own. The plot is really very neat and makes for an entertaining read. The backdrops Forster uses for the action are interesting too: the shifting class structure and the new ideas on religion and politics which were emerging in England in the last decades of the nineteenth century. But my favorite aspect of this beautiful novel is 'Art'. Even when everything else is in flux, Art is a constant and reliable reference which Forster returns to again and again. The first half of A Room with a View takes place in Florence. The characters meet and avoid each other in a number of locations throughout the city: at the Santa Croce church adorned with frescos by Giotto; in the Piazza Della Signoria where Michaelangelo's David stares across at Benvenuto Cellini's bloody Medusa under the Loggia dei Lanzi; at the San Miniato church, its beautiful facade visible from the very room of the title. Practically every scene in the Italian half of the book features some work of art or another, directly or indirectly. When the characters take a trip into the hills, landscape artists are recalled. When they view Giotto's frescos, their different reactions mirror their approaches to life and living. Forster continually uses the adjectives 'michaelangelesque' and 'leonardesque' to describe the opposing facets of the characters. Once I began to notice that pattern, I recorded it in the status updates but there were more examples than I've listed there. All of this is by way of explaining that Forster creates a juxtaposition of two modes of being in this novel, the cool and sedate versus the sublimely passionate, as if he himself is involved in some balancing act between sedate predictable prose and wildly unpredictable romanticism, between his own rational leonardesque qualities and his more michaelangelesque tendencies, between the English half of the novel and the Italian half. Two of the characters are symbols of those two extremes. Lucy Honeychurch's entourage, especially her cousin Charlotte Bartlett, would like to keep Lucy on the side of the sedate. George Emerson and his father would like Lucy to step over into their own more dynamic world. I was reminded of Virginia Woolf's Night and Day which offers similar contrasts and challenges and a similarly nuanced resolution. I was unsure about what destiny Forster actually wanted for his main characters. According to the introduction, he wrote two different outcomes though only one exists today. However, in the end, it is as if the characters resolve the situation for themselves. Charlotte Bartlett emerges as a curious and unlikely deus ex machina, and the title of the innocent-looking book, sunning itself in the English garden, turns out to be ‘Under a Loggia’, nicely connecting the two halves of the novel and helping to resolve the dilemmas of the characters. .........……………………………………… I've chosen two images that I think illustrate Forster's adjectives 'leonardesque' and 'michaelangelesque'. Leonardo's 'Annunciation' (in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence): and one of Michelangelo's unfinished 'imprisoned slaves' (now in the Academia Gallery, Florence): For some further thoughts on how Forster merges his story with the art of Florence, see my review of The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini. I read both Forster's and Cellini's books while visiting the Tuscan capital last month and found interesting parallels between them.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Candi

    4.5 stars "Italians are born knowing the way. It would seem that the whole earth lay before them, not as a map, but as a chess-board, whereon they continually behold the changing pieces as well as the squares. Any one can find places, but the finding of people is a gift from God." Ah, there is nothing like a vacation to rest the body and soothe one’s soul… well, this would be the ideal holiday in any case. Family trips to Disney World would not fall in this category. Nor would my latest adventures 4.5 stars "Italians are born knowing the way. It would seem that the whole earth lay before them, not as a map, but as a chess-board, whereon they continually behold the changing pieces as well as the squares. Any one can find places, but the finding of people is a gift from God." Ah, there is nothing like a vacation to rest the body and soothe one’s soul… well, this would be the ideal holiday in any case. Family trips to Disney World would not fall in this category. Nor would my latest adventures – college visits. Even last year’s escape to a gorgeous beach resort to celebrate my 20 year anniversary could not be termed serene or inspiring or meditative; after all, two teens tagging along on that momentous occasion changes the entire tone of a trip as well. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a lovely celebration, and who better to spend it with if one can’t go alone than with the two greatest accomplishments of your twenty years of marriage?! Apparently, what I am in desperate need of, however, is a trip to Italy. Or someplace that will infuse me with such a feeling of life as it did Lucy Honeychurch in this unforgettable novel! I first read this book at the tender age of 17 when I was assigned E.M. Forster as ‘my author’ to delve into for an AP English project. I successfully completed the task, but I can tell you that there is no way this book had the same effect then as it did now. This book was brilliantly written and such a joy to read. I commend Forster for his progressive feminist views. While in Florence with Charlotte, her much older cousin and chaperone, Lucy meets the Emersons. The elder Mr. Emerson and his son George are not the ‘typical’ tourists of this new Edwardian society, nor are they your average English gentlemen. This is quite evident from the start when they offer to change rooms with Lucy and Charlotte. While the ladies have simple rooms with a view of a courtyard, the Emerson’s view is a marvelous one that takes in both the Arno and the Apennines. It also becomes quite apparent early on that these men offer not just a different view of Italy, but perhaps of societal norms, love, and life itself. "… she had an odd feeling that whenever these ill-bred tourists spoke the contest widened and deepened till it dealt, not with rooms and views, but with—well, with something quite different, whose existence she had not realized before." Trapped between the old Victorian mores and the developing and less constricting Edwardian values, Lucy’s world is shaken up as she struggles with the conflict between her own true desires and the more rigid expectations of her gender and her place in society. A chance encounter with the young, tender and tragic George Emerson leaves Lucy feeling alternately awakened and yet sincerely confused. The second half of the novel shifts the setting to Lucy’s home at Windy Corner in England. Here it becomes perhaps easier to accept the social codes without the ‘threat’ of the Emersons or the seductive allure of Italy. Or does it? Soon it becomes quite clear that Lucy’s soul-searching has not come to a halt. "… she reflected that it is impossible to foretell the future with any degree of accuracy, that it is impossible to rehearse life. A fault in the scenery, a face in the audience, an irruption of the audience on to the stage, and all our carefully planned gestures mean nothing, or mean too much." I hesitate to give away any real details of the plot any further as not to spoil it; you really just need to pick this one up and observe Lucy’s struggles and transformations for yourself. Forster also introduces us to Lucy’s brother, Freddy, who is rather refreshingly unconventional, as well as the puffed up prig, Cecil Vyse. In fact, Forster introduces an array of characters that you will not soon forget, and I love the various names attached – Mr. Beebe, Miss Lavish and Mr. Eager. The character development of each and every one is brilliant. I highly recommend this as a very accessible classic novel. Not too heavy yet very forward-thinking. The romance is endearing without being sappy. There is some wonderful satire about social conventions that I very much appreciated. I seem to need a bit of humor in these classic works to lighten the mood just a bit, so well done Mr. Forster. The book is simply enchanting and I can’t wait to watch yet another highly regarded screen adaptation. 4.5 stars rounded up since I just can’t stop thinking about this one. "I must get away, ever so far. I must know my own mind and where I want to go." "The world is certainly full of beautiful things, if only I could come across them."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    Considered by many to be Forster's sunny day, and most optimistic novel, would start off in Italy, an Inn in Florence to be precise. Two sweet Edwardian females, Miss Lucy Honeychurch (adorable name) and her cousin, Charlotte the chaperone have a bit of a dilemma whilst holidaying, the silly Inn keeper promised them rooms with a view looking out onto the Arno River, but they end up facing the courtyard. (I would have gladly faced the courtyard if it meant being a Tuscan tourist, would have even Considered by many to be Forster's sunny day, and most optimistic novel, would start off in Italy, an Inn in Florence to be precise. Two sweet Edwardian females, Miss Lucy Honeychurch (adorable name) and her cousin, Charlotte the chaperone have a bit of a dilemma whilst holidaying, the silly Inn keeper promised them rooms with a view looking out onto the Arno River, but they end up facing the courtyard. (I would have gladly faced the courtyard if it meant being a Tuscan tourist, would have even bedded down in the cellar come to think of it, rats and all). But as luck would have it, two budding hero's come to the rescue. Mr. Emerson, an old man seated with them at dinner suggests that Lucy and Charlotte trade rooms with him and his son, George, which, after first being rather offended at the proposal are advised to do by the Reverend Beebe, a clergyman staying in the same place, who is soon to become the vicar of Lucy's Parish back in Surrey, England. The early part of the novel really showcases Forster's use of dialogue, that finds a good balance between beauty and delicacy, between honesty and propriety. When Lucy ventures out into Florence with the romantic novelist Eleanor Lavish, she runs into the Emersons at the church of Santa Croce. Speaking bluntly, Lucy is torn between accepting kindness and taking offense of the attention, when asked by Mr. Emerson to befriend his son George, Lucy becomes uncomfortable, and hides any emotion, could it be that she is already prematurely in love with someone she only recently met? Especially after she witnesses an altercation, which ends up with her falling into George's arms after a fainting episode. The novel's second half picks up some months later in Surrey, in a house named Windy Corner. The house belongs to the Honeychurch family. And it now appears Lucy has gained entry to an even better society, with that of the sour Cecil Vyse, who has been granted Lucy's hand in marriage (no, Lucy, don't do it!!). Cecil is an imbecile, and sees Lucy as nothing more than a work of art, something to show off, like a fancy antique painting. At heart he is a snob, he just doesn't realize it. It also becomes apparent Cecil has two so called friends, yes, the Emersons!, who arrive back on the scene after a property becomes available on Summer Street, all to the fury of Lucy, who would go on to call off the engagement (good girl!), but not for the love of George. Er..of course not my dear. The acutely observed characters feel so real in this novel and he breathes life into them in such a humane way, although I didn't like them all, it was a pleasure to be in their company. Lucy is quite possibly the most fully fleshed, so much so that even when she lies to herself and to those around her, I found myself sympathizing with her situation instead of condemning her actions. Among many things, A Room with a View is a coming of age story about one young woman's entry into adulthood, and the struggles that face Lucy as she emerges as her own woman, growing from indecision to fulfillment. She is torn between strict, old-fashioned Victorian values and newer, more liberal morals. In the tussle her own idea of what is true evolves and matures. George, troubled by an existential crisis at such a young age, doesn't understand how life can be truly joyful and fulfilling, and seemed shadowed by a dark enigma and a has a question mark above his head. The two are united by a shared appreciation for beauty, which might be captured in their love of views: Lucy adored the view of the Arno, whilst George remembers a time of with his parents gazing at a view. Each possesses what the other needs, it just takes some soul-searching for them to realize it. George finds simple pleasure in the company of the Honeychurchs, Lucy finds an inner courage to recognize her own individuality through time spent with the Emersons. The story did meander here and there in places, but the novels strength definitely lies in its vivid cast of characters, especially the deep exploration of Lucy's attitude towards life and love. With some great humorous dialogue, and a playful nature, I was impressed, very.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    The Pensione (pension) Bertolini, in Florence, Italy, has everything for the visiting tourists, Miss Lucy Honeychurch and her older, poorer cousin, Charlotte Bartlett, a rather overbearing chaperon, fine food, (not really) wines not too bad, this is Italy and a room with a view. Unfortunately not for the cousins, their promised accommodations went to Mr.Emerson and his quiet, gloomy son George. If you can't trust the Signora Bertolini, the Italian owner of this establishment , more English, than The Pensione (pension) Bertolini, in Florence, Italy, has everything for the visiting tourists, Miss Lucy Honeychurch and her older, poorer cousin, Charlotte Bartlett, a rather overbearing chaperon, fine food, (not really) wines not too bad, this is Italy and a room with a view. Unfortunately not for the cousins, their promised accommodations went to Mr.Emerson and his quiet, gloomy son George. If you can't trust the Signora Bertolini, the Italian owner of this establishment , more English, than one in London, the late Queen Victoria's picture is still on the wall, with a strange Cockney accent, who can you? But chivalry is not quite dead, in the early 20th century, the ill mannered Mr.Emerson, offers in front of all the other British tourists, while they consume their dinner, to exchange rooms, two for two , the men don't care, as long as they have a good bed, after hearing Charlotte's complaints. Of course , Miss Bartlett turned it down, the unseemly idea, such a vulgar man, he is not a gentleman, no English reserve . Looking around, she sees that confirmed on the faces of the other boarders. Then again, Florence is so beautiful, the Arno River flowing nearby, (not too dirty ) the Apennine Mountains, Cypress trees of San Miniato, she will never be here again ... A half- hour later, the two cousins open the windows, ( the British love to do this) the new rooms... with a view. A great country to stare at the exotic attractions, if only the Italians were more civilized, Charlotte thinks, but all is well with the world now. Miss Eleanor Ravish, a new flighty friend, at the pension, and future bad novelist, takes Lucy on a sightseeing trip, of the real Italy. And promptly deserts her, for an old friend, on the streets of the city, she enters the church alone, they both, were to view. How is she to get back to Bertolini ? Not to worry, the Emerson's are there, Mr. Emerson the old "Gentleman", quickly annoys, then disrupts a visiting British clergyman's lecture inside, with his loud disagreeing voice, the unhappy, perturbed flock, leaves. Yet Lucy does get back home safely. Feeling brave and wanting independence, and excitement, she receives more than Lucy can handle, Miss Honeychurch goes out by herself. While looking at a palace tower, she is a witness to a gruesome murder, the stabbing of one Italian man, against another , at close range, blood on her photographs, she just had bought , in a shop, and faints ...George, in love, and in the same vicinity, spying ... Picks Lucy up, revives her and takes the lady to safety, the Arno river is near, throwing the messy photos in the stream. She can't believe he did it ... At a later date, descending a mountain road after viewing gorgeous Florence, from above, the weather turns bad, the two carriages full of the British visitors from the pension, including Lucy, Charlotte and the old Mr.Emerson, even Miss Lavish. George, the cad , had kissed Lucy, when she fell on the ground full of exquisite violets, Charlotte luckily comes to the rescue, before who knows, what George would do next. He runs away, the coward, and vanishes, nobody knows where. But soon Lucy, will meet the perfect, ideal, respectable man, Cecil Vyse... In the wet darkness, the rains heavy, lightning strikes, women scream, slowly the party travels, more flashes of lightning, the clouds coming down, the road a liquid mess, the storm gets more violent, they stop for a short rest. A lightning bolt hits the road just below them ...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Samadrita

    Romantic comedy this is not. The rosiness of a woman stumbling upon convenient fantasy fulfillment by marrying into privilege and bourgeois wealth do not tinge the themes of this classic. Rather this aspires to the novelty of a sort of female bildungsroman. A woman who is roused into the acknowledgement of her desires and self through the unwitting intervention of men considered unworthy of being even good travel companions - how many male authors/poets/dramatists of Forster's generation have ca Romantic comedy this is not. The rosiness of a woman stumbling upon convenient fantasy fulfillment by marrying into privilege and bourgeois wealth do not tinge the themes of this classic. Rather this aspires to the novelty of a sort of female bildungsroman. A woman who is roused into the acknowledgement of her desires and self through the unwitting intervention of men considered unworthy of being even good travel companions - how many male authors/poets/dramatists of Forster's generation have cared enough about class distinctions and gender inequality to fashion such a narrative? I can think of G.B. Shaw- a dramatist unlike Forster, but contemporaneous in stature and rise to fame - who did wean a generation away from the romanticism of war and the burnish of social affluence and forced them into acknowledging the foolishness of prejudices. Shaw, who gave a working class flower girl an indestructible sense of self-worth and a right to reject the suave, much older, educated benefactor in favor of the younger man who loved her without reservations, should be mentioned in the same breath as Forster in my eyes. Both looked upon women as humans and not as passive accessories meant to magnify the worth of the men in their lives and that's reason enough for me to be an unabashed fangirl for life. "He had robbed the body of its taint, the world's taunts of their sting; he had shown her the holiness of direct desire." Sexually and emotionally inhibited young woman savoring personal liberty for the first time through the love of a man of inferior social standing who assumes a consciously passive role in earning her affections - this was, perhaps, Forster's way of contradicting and affirming Austenian values at the same time. The very possibility of the intersection of marital bliss and lack of wealth and connections in a prospective husband and disregard for societal approval lay well outside the limits of Austen's imagination but she did endow her many women characters with enough dimensions to be keenly distinguishable from each other. "They have sinned against passion and truth, and vain will be their strife after virtue. As the years pass, they are censured. Their pleasantry and their piety show cracks, their wit becomes cynicism, their unselfishness hypocrisy; they feel and produce discomfort wherever they go." What else is there to say? Here's to the unexpected joy of discovering another male author of the last century, who was effortlessly free of the abysmal sexism that is so regrettably palpable in the work of many novelists (of all genders) of the present. Here's to a great story-teller who ventured beyond the narrow horizons conferred on him by his times. I foresee much more Forster in my future.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Glenn Sumi

    Edwardian-era propriety meets Italian passion with entertaining results in E.M. Forster’s sunny, slight, but ever so charming comedy of manners. Well-known from the sumptuous Merchant-Ivory adaptation (which I rewatched immediately after finishing the book), the novel tells the story of Lucy Honeychurch, a proper English girl who, while on vacation in Florence with her cousin/chaperone, Miss Bartlett, meets George Emerson, a handsome but odd philosophical soul, who’s travelling with his eccentri Edwardian-era propriety meets Italian passion with entertaining results in E.M. Forster’s sunny, slight, but ever so charming comedy of manners. Well-known from the sumptuous Merchant-Ivory adaptation (which I rewatched immediately after finishing the book), the novel tells the story of Lucy Honeychurch, a proper English girl who, while on vacation in Florence with her cousin/chaperone, Miss Bartlett, meets George Emerson, a handsome but odd philosophical soul, who’s travelling with his eccentric, truth-telling father. All four are staying at the Pension Bertolini, and the others they meet there – the lady novelist Eleanor Lavish, the two older, unmarried sisters (dubbed the Miss Alans), and someone from Lucy’s village, the very accommodating Reverend Arthur Beebe – will cross paths with them later in unexpected ways. As in the other books by him I’ve read, Forster’s narration is delightfully genial. He’ll remind us, for instance, that we haven’t really spent much time with a particular character, tell us that we know more about Lucy’s actions than she does herself, hint at plot developments to come, and generally treat his characters with a satiric, gently chiding tone. At times that tone can seem trivial; midway through the book I felt it was all just so much upper-middle-class flim flam. (More quibbles: George’s physical treatment of Lucy, especially in light of today’s sensitivity around consent, seems less romantic than troubling. And I know we’re meant to be at a remove from the authentic Italians in the first half of the book, but I wish we got more than just clichés about tempestuous murderers and horny carriage drivers.) But there is so much to enjoy in the book: the tart dialogue, the grand themes of love, country vs. city life, fate and coincidence… there’s even a comment on the idea of novels and writers themselves. Lucy’s mother, a fine comic creation, has a preposterous attitude towards female writers that I’m sure Forster, a friend and admirer of Virginia Woolf’s, for one, didn’t share. I also like that the book’s stuffiest character, Lucy’s fiancé, the pretentious aesthete Cecil Vyse (a whole review could be written on the book’s beautifully suggestive names), comes across with his dignity intact in his later scenes. If anything, of the main players only the character of George seems the thinnest, which is perhaps why he’s given some intriguing actions in the film (otherwise he might be a cipher). And I like how a significant scene near the end makes us reflect on the nature and motivation of Charlotte. But above all, I’ll remember this book for its knowing glimpse into the life of a girl discovering her voice, freedom and strength – even in a restrictive society. It’s suggested early in the book that Lucy, a pianist, plays Beethoven in a way that is surprising; if she could apply that same passion to her life it would be quite thrilling to watch. By the end of the book, we see her begin to do that, and yes, it’s quite something.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    I'm a sucker for a sweet, kind-hearted, naïve and sheltered heroine. Especially when they slowly learn how to be brave. So this book was perfect for me to read. Lucy Honeychurch (how's that for a name) is a sheltered young Englishwoman in 1908. She lives with her mother and little brother Freddy. She goes on an exciting travel-abroad trip with her stuffy older cousin. There she meets the Emersons - also English - old Mr. Emerson who is loving and honest to a fault. His outspoken ways are consider I'm a sucker for a sweet, kind-hearted, naïve and sheltered heroine. Especially when they slowly learn how to be brave. So this book was perfect for me to read. Lucy Honeychurch (how's that for a name) is a sheltered young Englishwoman in 1908. She lives with her mother and little brother Freddy. She goes on an exciting travel-abroad trip with her stuffy older cousin. There she meets the Emersons - also English - old Mr. Emerson who is loving and honest to a fault. His outspoken ways are considered vulgar and shocking, but Lucy thinks he's sweet and recognizes his good heart. And his son - George Emerson - a dashing, thoughtful, rather melancholy man who soon turns Lucy's world upside-down. Why? Because he's handsome? Because he's charming? No. Because he encourages her to think for herself and introduces her to all sorts of crazy ideas about gender equality. I love this type of old-fashioned romance novel where the hero has actual substance and not just a set of six-pack abs. Lucy slowly, slowly starts to think for herself. She starts to grasp what life is really about - living, people, nature, love - not what she's been trained to think that it's about: gossip, being proper, religion, and society's opinion. She makes a huge mistake in bowing to societal pressure and getting engaged to the priggish, domineering, bossy, judgmental and pretentious Cecil Vyse. He adores telling her how to think, who to like, who to sneer at (he loves sneering). He's training her to be a pompous a**hole, just like he is. Luckily for Lucy, George moves into the neighborhood, setting her mind and heart awhirl for a second time. Will she stay with Cecil? Will she end up with George? ... I'm always worried going into a classic book. Sometimes I love them (Anna Karenina, Gone with the Wind, Little Women, Watership Down, White Fang) and sometimes there are boring and dreary and a total slog to get through (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Two Years Before the Mast). I was pleasantly surprised that this book was a joy to read. It's written in a relaxed, easy style that is fun and relatable. I was completely caught up and swept away by Lucy's problems. Cecil was infuriating me to no end. I was yelling at him and cursing him out. Every time George showed up, I'd hold my breath, waiting to see what liberal philosophies he was going to tell Lucy about and get her mind working again. I felt like Cecil was the most frustrating, anger-inducing character. When an author writes an "evil" character, let's say a rapist or a murderer or a child-abuser or a slaver, it's obvious this person is bad news. You (the reader) hate him, the protagonist hates him, and you only have to worry about what evil he'll wreck on people's lives. "Villains" like Cecil are much more insidious. They don't commit crimes, or physically hurt anyone. Instead, they take great delight in putting other people down in subtle ways, controlling others, and caring only about themselves and their own needs. Cecil doesn't KNOW he's a jerk - he's very insecure about his masculinity and therefore takes out his doubt and frustration by pretending to be the "big man," telling others what to do all the time and expressing contempt for people that he sees as 'beneath him.' He uses Lucy as a prop for his own ego - she is such a sweet, innocent, sheltered woman that he makes the mistake in thinking she's also docile. Having someone like this at his side makes him feel like a big, strong man. Putting others down and making them feel small is also a way he makes himself feel better. But he is proper and has money and good standing in society, so Lucy thinks he must be right in his opinions - and everyone around her encourages her to marry him. Lucy herself impressed me a lot. I could see that a lot of people would just see her as a sheltered girl who is rather stupid. But I don't. She's being raised in a society where being proper is everything. Women aren't supposed to think, they're supposed to get married and have children. Lucy is someone I admire because even though she's sheltered, she hungers for a world greater than the one she's living in. She doesn't even realize it, but there's a big hole in her life that afternoon tea with gossipy ladies can't fill. Going to Italy and seeing the beauty and different society there starts to open up her eyes - aided by a kiss from George. After moving back to England, she finds herself again bowing to the constraints and demands of proper English society. She makes a mistake in getting engaged to Cecil. But when George shows up again, the gears in her head start turning again - and she (view spoiler)[ realizes that Cecil is annoying and tiring to be around. She bravely goes to him and breaks off their engagement. She tells him straight out that his behavior is appalling and she doesn't appreciate him telling her what to do and think. She expresses anger that he looks down at her mother and brother with contempt. I thought she was so brave and strong to be able to do this. I really admired her. In the end, she STILL doesn't want to admit that she loves George, but a heart-to-heart talk with George's father soon straightens her out. She elopes with George but has to accept estrangement from her family and friends for her 'scandalous,' 'improper' behavior. (hide spoiler)] I love that, not only does she stand up to Cecil, but she stands up to George. He's always putting down Cecil as a man who likes telling her how and what to think - and she calls George on doing the same thing. Touché. He realizes that he himself is trying to bring her around to his way of thinking, and apologizes. Lucy turns into a very brave and outspoken woman, and I really like that she calls "bullshit" not only on the "bad guy" - Cecil - but on the "good guy" George as well. In fact, the best, most attractive guy to me is old Mr. Emerson - a man who truly seems to understand the world and to understand what is important. He is also honest and has a huge heart. But I can see that George is more attractive and more her age - I'd never expect for her to end up with the old widower. But (view spoiler)[ she gets the best of both worlds - George as a husband and Mr. Emerson as a father-in-law. I was rather sad that she ends up estranged from her family and friends - they may be a bit silly and shallow, but I feel like Lucy really loved them. (hide spoiler)] Tl;dr - One of the better classics. I really enjoyed reading it and was completely caught up in the characters and plot.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    3.5 I am in a classics mood, but after my recent completion of War and Peace I decided to try something a little lighter and less than one tenth of the size. This is how I found my way towards E. M. Forster's 130 page novel about a woman who is forced to make a decision between marrying a wealthy man she will never love and a man of lower class who she knows she can be happy with. Funnily enough, I think it was this story's length that slightly let it down for me, had it been a longer book I'm su 3.5 I am in a classics mood, but after my recent completion of War and Peace I decided to try something a little lighter and less than one tenth of the size. This is how I found my way towards E. M. Forster's 130 page novel about a woman who is forced to make a decision between marrying a wealthy man she will never love and a man of lower class who she knows she can be happy with. Funnily enough, I think it was this story's length that slightly let it down for me, had it been a longer book I'm sure I would have fallen in love with George as everyone else seems to. This book was published in 1908 - a time somewhat between eras for British society. Women could own property and were becoming increasingly free, authors like Jane Austen, George Eliot, Charlotte Brontë(&Co.) had taken the nineteenth century by storm, and yet women still did not have the vote and they would be expected to get married young, stay at home, and have babies for decades to come. Into this world strolls Lucy Honeychurch, at first a very naive and typical young woman of the time period. But a woman who, as the book progresses, eventually challenges societal conventions and limitations. E. M. Forster is famous for his stories about British society and class and hypocrisy. He was a gay man who spent his entire life hiding his sexuality from an unforgiving world made up of expectations and a very black and white view of what was right and wrong. Though his personal struggles weren't made clear until after his death with the publication of Maurice, it is obvious (to me) that A Room with a View is just one of his various attempts to poke fun at the rigidity of class, gender and sexual boundaries. Lucy longs for independence, freedom from the constrictions of being a woman in 1908, being upper middle class, being a label with a set of rules that she is expected to follow. She wants to live as she goes and define herself in that way, not in a predetermined fashion that stems from centuries of inequalities and the desire for "appropriateness". I cannot tell you just how much I loved this idea, I only wanted a longer story to make it perfect. Lucy is such a charming and interesting character that she could have easily held my attention for double the amount of pages in this incredibly short book. Also, I wasn't quite sold on George and I think I was supposed to be, that the point was that the reader would come to love the man who wasn't as wealthy, who wasn't as well-educated. A little more time to get to know George would have made me happy.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joe Valdez

    Love is in the air--or maybe anxiously repressed--in February and my romantic literature jag begins with A Room with a View, the 1908 novel by E.M. Forster. Like a candy store, this book offers a bounty of treats that I found irresistible. There's a holiday in Italy. There's a boarding house with much ado. There are young lovers Lucy Honeychurch and George Emerson. There are bridges, summer storms and a hillside covered in great blue violets. There's a return to the heroine's home in Surrey, Eng Love is in the air--or maybe anxiously repressed--in February and my romantic literature jag begins with A Room with a View, the 1908 novel by E.M. Forster. Like a candy store, this book offers a bounty of treats that I found irresistible. There's a holiday in Italy. There's a boarding house with much ado. There are young lovers Lucy Honeychurch and George Emerson. There are bridges, summer storms and a hillside covered in great blue violets. There's a return to the heroine's home in Surrey, England (dubbed Windy Corner) and intrigue to keep the lovers apart. Experts say that eating too much candy will rot your teeth out, but I left the store with a grin. The story begins with Miss Charlotte Bartlett chaperoning her younger cousin Miss Lucy Honeychurch as they check in to their hotel, the Pension Bertolini, in Florence. Promised rooms overlooking the Arno River, the ladies are booked into rooms facing a courtyard. Charlotte's "peevish wrangling" gets the attention of an old man who announces that he has a view. He offers to swap rooms with the women and is immediately rebuked by Charlotte, who considers the man ill-bred and his proposal untoward. An Anglican clergyman named Mr. Beebe, who Charlotte recognizes from Lucy's parish of Spring Street in the countryside of Surrey, compels her to accept the trade. Once Mr. Emerson and his son George exchange rooms with the women, the guests are seated for dinner. Recalling his parishioner's talent on the piano, Mr. Beebe finds himself much more engaged by Lucy, who only seeks to please, and maybe enjoy herself on her holiday, over the fussy Charlotte. At dinner, a little old lady drops into the conversation offering unsolicited tourist advice; her name is Miss Eleanor Lavish. The next morning, while Charlotte rests, Miss Lavish offers to escort Lucy on an adventure. The old lady demands Lucy shut her Baedeker guidebook, which she believes touches only the surface of things. Accordingly, they drifted through a series of those gray-brown streets, neither commodious nor picturesque, in which the eastern quarter of the city abounds. Lucy soon lost interest in the discontent of Lady Louisa, and became discontented herself. For one ravishing moment Italy appeared. She stood in the Square of the Annunziata and saw in the living terracotta those divine babies whom no cheap reproduction can ever stale. There they stood, with their shining limbs bursting from the garments of charity, and their strong white arms extended against circlets of heaven. Lucy thought she had never seen anything more beautiful; but Miss Lavish, with a shriek of dismay, dragged her forward, declaring that they were out of their path now by at least a mile. Lucy and Miss Lavish end up in the Basilica of Santa Croce, where the escort becomes distracted by her "local colour box" and abandons Lucy to gab with him. Lucy enters the Franciscan church and encounters Mr. Emerson, whose son George invites Lucy to join them. Mr. Emerson's theological opinions grow so boisterous that his voice drowns out a tour group led by a fellow guest, a curate named Mr. Eager. Lucy finds Mr. Emerson to be foolish, irreligious and the sort that her mother would not want her to associate with, and she is unnerved by the melancholy of George. Conversely, Mr. Emerson feels sorry for Lucy, so concerned with doing what she thinks will please others. While Miss Lavish and Charlotte pair up, Lucy feels left out. She goes alone to the Piazza Signoria, purchasing photographs and other objects of beauty she comes across. Lucy stumbles into an argument between two Italian men which turns violent, with one stabbing and killing the other. As she swoons, George Emerson comes to her rescue. Escorting Lucy back to the pension, George returns to the square upon her request retrieve her photographs, which he awkwardly disposes of in the Arno, explaining that they had blood on them. Discussing the murder they've witnessed and how to move forward, George replies cryptically, "I shall want to live, I say." Lucy agrees to join Charlotte, the Emersons, Mr. Beebe, Miss Lavish and Mr. Eager on an excursion by carriage to the summit of the Torre del Gallo. She learns that Miss Lavish aspires to write a novel about Florence. Lucy is pelted with questions by the little old lady about the murder she witnessed. Mr. Eager joins Charlotte in his contempt for the widowed Mr. Emerson, who the curate blames for the death of Mrs. Emerson. Since her brush with death, Lucy has begun to see through the pretensions of her fellow travelers. The carriage party splits up and when Lucy stumbles in a field of deep-blue violets, she is kissed by George Emerson. Her cousin witnesses the act. "Well, I am no prude. There is no need to call him a wicked young man, but obviously he is thoroughly unrefined. Let us put it down to his deplorable antecedents and education, if you wish. But we are no further on with our question. What do you propose to do?" An idea rushed across Lucy's brain, which, had she thought of it sooner and made it part of her, might have proved victorious. "I propose to speak to him," said she. Miss Bartlett uttered a cry of genuine alarm. "You see, Charlotte, your kindness--I shall never forget it. But--as you said--it is my affair. Mine and his." Rather than speak to George Emerson, Lucy buckles under her cousin's will and departs for Rome in the morning. Three months later, she has returned home with a fiancé named Cecil Van Vyse. From her family home in the Surrey hills, a country district developed by her late father they call Windy Corner, Mrs. Honeychurch and Lucy's teenage brother Freddy discuss the engagement. Freddy doesn't hate Cecil, but doesn't much like him, while Lucy's mother finds her son-in-law "clever, rich and well-connected." A man of high ideals who sees through Lucy as if she were a work of art rather than a woman, Cecil is contemptuous of the local society affairs his bride drags him to. Cecil decides to have some sport with a neighbor in Windy Corner who seeks to let a cottage. Though Lucy makes overtures to a pair of dear old English ladies she met in Florence called the Miss Alans to take the house, Cecil brokers the cottage for a father and son he meets in a London art museum, the Emersons. Freddy invites George Emerson for a swim in a hidden pond he knows well, with the vicar Mr. Beebe reluctantly tagging along. When she is reunited with George, Lucy struggles to keep her composure, even though her Florence affair is half-naked and wet. His relationship with Lucy known only to George and to Charlotte, Freddy invites George for tennis at Windy Corner. The intrigue rises when Lucy learns that her mother has invited Charlotte down from London to repair at Windy Corner while her plumbing is being fixed. Cecil becomes obsessed with an awful novel he's discovered and as he reads the prose aloud, Lucy discovers it to be Miss Lavish's book. The account of Florence contains a thinly veiled version of Lucy's brief encounter with George, which she is forced to relive with George present as her fiancé reads it aloud. Lucy confronts her cousin about betraying her confidence to Miss Lavish and confronted by George alone, is again kissed by him. George urges her not to marry Cecil and Lucy is torn between who she will elect to disappoint. The contest lay not between love and duty. Perhaps there never is such a contest. It lay between the real and the pretended, and Lucy's first aim was to defeat herself. As her brain clouded over, as the memory of the views grew dim and the words of the book died away, she returned to her old shibboleth of nerves. She "conquered her breakdown". Tampering with the truth, she forgot that the truth had ever been. Remembering that she was engaged to Cecil, she compelled herself to confused remembrances of George: he was nothing to her; he never had been anything, he had behaved abominably; she had never encouraged him. The armour of falsehood is subtly wrought out of darkness, and hides a man not only from others, but from his own soul. In a few moments Lucy was equipped for battle. A Room with a View is divided into two parts--Florence and Windy Corner--and I was twittering (in the 20th century sense) through part one. Lucy Honeychurch is such a passive character initially, bullied by her cousin, hounded by her mother's values and introduced to outspoken men she has been told to disapprove of. Forster devotes a great deal of attention to Lucy's henpecking and I was struck by how long the poor girl put up with it. The author's sumptuous prose and travelogue kept me engaged, and when he moves the story to England, it takes off. Freddy Honeychurch is quite a pinball, while Lucy's fiancé Cecil Van Vyse is a dickhead for all times. He saw that the local society was narrow, but instead of saying, "Does this very much matter?" he rebelled, and tried to substitute for it the society he called broad. He did not realize that Lucy had consecrated her environment by the thousand little civilities that create a tenderness in time, and that through her eyes saw its defects her heart refused to despite it entirely. Nor did he realize a more important point--that if she was too great for this society she was too great for all society, and had reached the stage where personal intercourse would alone satisfy her. A rebel she was, but not of the kind he understood--a rebel who desired, not a wider dwelling-room, but equality beside the man she loved. For Italy was offering her the most priceless of all possessions--her own soul. While Lucy's thoughts and passions are masked in Florence, once the story moves to Windy Corner, Freddy and Cecil show no decorum and through those characters, Forster's wit is unbound. There's a wonderful comedy of manners in which the boys harangue Charlotte Bartlett to accept reimbursement for her cab ride over, with neither side willing to lose face by taking money when that is exactly what each side wants. Lucy does slowly assert herself and finds her own voice amid all the henpecking, but the young lovers are eclipsed by Freddy and Cecil and the novel, despite Forster's delightful writing and seasonable insights, comes up just short of complete satisfaction. The furor stirred up by a woman simply kissing a man on holiday was difficult for me to relate to, but by the end of the book, I came to appreciate the awakening Lucy experienced. E.M. Forster wrote six novels, five of which have been adapted to film, including A Room with a View in 1986, which was nominated for eight Academy Awards. Produced by Ismail Merchant and directed by James Ivory, it features Helena Bonham Carter as Lucy Honeychurch, Maggie Smith as Charlotte Bartlett, Julian Sands as George Emerson, Daniel Day-Lewis as Cecil Van Vyse, Denholm Elliott as Mr. Emerson and Judi Dench as Miss Lavish. Forster's character names sing and so does this novel.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Madeline

    What happens in Florence, stays in Florence. Unless this is the early 1900's and you're visiting the city with your annoying spinster cousin, then you kiss some boy in a field of violets for like two seconds and nobody ever lets you forget it. Jeez, people. This is a brief, sweet little novel about Lucy Honeychurch (winner of the prestigious award for Most Adorable Name Ever), who goes to Florence with previously-mentioned spinster cousin. Despite lack of A ROOM WITH A VIEW, Lucy has a very nice What happens in Florence, stays in Florence. Unless this is the early 1900's and you're visiting the city with your annoying spinster cousin, then you kiss some boy in a field of violets for like two seconds and nobody ever lets you forget it. Jeez, people. This is a brief, sweet little novel about Lucy Honeychurch (winner of the prestigious award for Most Adorable Name Ever), who goes to Florence with previously-mentioned spinster cousin. Despite lack of A ROOM WITH A VIEW, Lucy has a very nice time, sees some artwork, does some self-discovery, and smooches a very unsuitable boy (escandalo!) who might be a Socialist (double escandalo!). Then they go back to England and she gets engaged to a schmuck. For this part of the novel, I was mostly coasting along, having a reasonably good time reading about well-off English people and their Well-Off English People Problems ("Our Italian pension is owned by a Cockney lady! So-and-so isn't the right kind of blandly religious! And for the love of God WHO WILL YOU MARRY?!"). It was mildly entertaining, and I was a huge fan of Mr. Emerson from the get-go. George, sadly, never quite did it for me, and Lucy I found to be kind of boring until, UNTIL, the glorious moment when she breaks up with her lame fiance and gets awesome. Here's part of her breakup speech: "When we were only acquaintances, you let me be myself, but now you're always protecting me...I won't be protected. I will choose for myself what is ladylike and right. To shield me is an insult. Can't I be trusted to face the truth but I must get it second-hand through you? ...you wrap yourself up in art and books and music, and would try to wrap up me. I won't be stifled, not by the most glorious music, for people are more glorious, and you hide them from me. That's why I break off my engagement." Bella Swan, are you paying attention? Because this concerns you. After that moment, I was suddenly 100% invested in Lucy and her attempts to figure herself out. Maybe I imagined it, but it seemed like the writing became so much more beautiful after that, and I was reading the story more carefully and with more interest than I had before. It was a slow start, but Forster's fantastic characters managed to win me over in the end (yes, even the annoying spinster cousin).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    I was overjoyed to discover that this book I had liked when I was in high school was even more charming and lovely than I remembered. I'm not sure what impelled me to suddenly reread this novel about a young Englishwoman, Lucy Honeychurch, whose life is transformed after she visits Italy, but I'm glad I did. Forster's language is so inviting and engaging that as soon as I started reading, I didn't want to put down the book. The story opens at a hotel in Florence, and Lucy is being chaperoned by h I was overjoyed to discover that this book I had liked when I was in high school was even more charming and lovely than I remembered. I'm not sure what impelled me to suddenly reread this novel about a young Englishwoman, Lucy Honeychurch, whose life is transformed after she visits Italy, but I'm glad I did. Forster's language is so inviting and engaging that as soon as I started reading, I didn't want to put down the book. The story opens at a hotel in Florence, and Lucy is being chaperoned by her meddling and fussy cousin, Charlotte Bartlett. The two ladies are upset that their rooms don't have a view of the Arno, but at dinner, a loud Englishman, Mr. Emerson, offers to switch rooms with them. After some awkward exchanges, the ladies finally agree to the deal. (Since this was the early 1900s, delicate things were not discussed and caused much embarrassment among gentlefolk.) Over the next few days, Lucy often crossed paths with George, Mr. Emerson's son, and during an outing to the country, George surprised her by kissing her passionately. While Lucy didn't realize it at the time, that kiss ended up changing her life. OK, I hate writing summaries of classic novels because it feels like I'm writing a high school book report, so I'm going to assume that anyone who takes the time to read this review is already familiar with the rest of the plot, thanks to the popularity of the Merchant-Ivory film. (Oh, how I loved that movie when I was young! It was definitely one of the things that set me on the path to becoming an anglophile.) If you are reading this review and don't know the rest of the story, well, golly, I'm not going to ruin it for you here! Besides being gorgeously written, this book is endearing for how Forster gave Lucy a chance to be her own person. There are several quotes about women that showed how progressive Forster was, and that was refreshing. Lucy was also so passionate about music that her parson was fond of saying he hoped she would learn to live as vibrantly as she played. When Lucy gets into a muddle over her whether or not to marry the uptight Cecil, she makes a grand speech about not wanting to be locked up, and wanting to have her own thoughts. Brava, Lucia! I loved this book so much that I will keep it on my shelf for future reads. Highly recommended. Now I need to reread Howard's End and see how that holds up. Funniest Quote by Cecil "All modern books are bad ... Every one writes for money in these days." Funniest Quote by Lucy's Mother "[N]othing roused Mrs. Honeychurch so much as literature in the hands of females. She would abandon every topic to inveigh against those women who (instead of minding their houses and their children) seek notoriety by print. Her attitude was: 'If books must be written, let them be written by men.'" Favorite Quotes "Let yourself go. Pull out from the depths those thoughts you do not understand, and spread them out in the sunlight and know the meaning of them. By understanding George you may learn to understand yourself. It will be good for both of you." "It so happened that Lucy, who found daily life rather chaotic, entered a more solid world when she opened the piano. She was then no longer either deferential or patronizing; no longer either a rebel or a slave. The kingdom of music is not the kingdom of this world; it will accept those whom breeding and intellect and culture have alike rejected. The commonplace person begins to play, and shoots into the empyrean without effort, whilst we look up, marveling how he has escaped us, and thinking how we could worship him and love him, would he but translate his visions into human words, and his experiences into human actions. Perhaps he cannot; certainly he does not, or does so very seldom. Lucy had done so never." "Why were most big things unladylike? Charlotte had once explained to her why. It was not that ladies were inferior to men; it was that they were different. Their mission was to inspire others to achievement rather than to achieve themselves. Indirectly, by means of tact and a spotless name, a lady could accomplish much. But if she rushed into the fray herself she would be first censured, then despised, and finally ignored. Poems had been written to illustrate this point." "Life, so far as she troubled to conceive it, was a circle of rich, pleasant people, with identical interests and identical foes. In this circle, one thought, married and died. Outside it were poverty and vulgarity for ever trying to enter, just as the London fog tries to enter the pinewoods pouring through the gaps in the northern hills. But, in Italy, where any one who chooses may warm himself in equality, as in the sun, this conception of life vanished. Her senses expanded; she felt that there was no one whom she might not get to like, that social barriers were irremovable, doubtless, but not particularly high. You jump over them just as you jump into a peasant's olive-yard in the Apennines, and he is glad to se you. She returned with new eyes." "A rebel she was, but not of the kind [Cecil] understood — a rebel who desired, not a wider dwelling-room, but equality beside the man she loved. For Italy was offering her the most priceless of all possessions — her own soul." "[S]he reflected that it is impossible to foretell the future with any degree of accuracy, that it is impossible to rehearse life. A fault in the scenery, a face in the audience, an irruption of the audience on to the stage, and all our carefully planned gestures mean nothing, or mean too much."

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Ansbro

    "She knew that the intruder was ill-bred, even before she glanced at him." -Charlotte Bartlett. I was reminded of this, an old favourite of mine, when a Goodreads' review of the book, by @Apatt, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... had me instantly searching bookshelves for my own battered copy. E. M. Forster writes in a way that would seem archaic now (natch), but the same codes of conduct and social divisions still apply in our modern age. In pre-WWI England, travel to sunny Euro destination "She knew that the intruder was ill-bred, even before she glanced at him." -Charlotte Bartlett. I was reminded of this, an old favourite of mine, when a Goodreads' review of the book, by @Apatt, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... had me instantly searching bookshelves for my own battered copy. E. M. Forster writes in a way that would seem archaic now (natch), but the same codes of conduct and social divisions still apply in our modern age. In pre-WWI England, travel to sunny Euro destinations was largely the province of the Edwardian upper classes. Rebel-in-waiting, Lucy Honeychurch takes the Grand Tour to Florence, chaperoned by her snobby Aunt Charlotte, whose 'manners' get in the way of good common sense. Uptight spinster, Auntie Bartlett, attempts to counterbalance the nothingness of her frigid life by looking down her nose at people who possess far better qualities than she. Forster does a great job of lampooning the superciliousness and the haughtiness of an old-money Brit abroad, something that he, a man from a privileged background himself, observed at very close quarters. His deadpan wit is recognisably reminiscent of Oscar Wilde's and should even have the modern reader "LOL"ing out loud!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ted

    It was Phaethon who drove them to Fiesole that memorable day, a youth all irresponsibility and fire, recklessly urging his master's horse up the stony hill. Fiesole, in the hills northeast of Firenze 9/2/2007 I read this lovely little novel about three months after taking the picture above. I was so thrilled that I had actually been in Florence, where a part of the story takes place. The "main event" of the Florence episode occurs when the English ladies take a chaperoned carriage ride into the hi It was Phaethon who drove them to Fiesole that memorable day, a youth all irresponsibility and fire, recklessly urging his master's horse up the stony hill. Fiesole, in the hills northeast of Firenze 9/2/2007 I read this lovely little novel about three months after taking the picture above. I was so thrilled that I had actually been in Florence, where a part of the story takes place. The "main event" of the Florence episode occurs when the English ladies take a chaperoned carriage ride into the hills near Fiesole. Don't dismiss this "romantic comedy". As noted in Wiki, Modern Library has ranked the book on its list of the 100 greatest English-language novels of the 20th century. And the "comedy" aspect is not a laugh-out-loud variety, rather a gentle, mildly mocking satire of manners. It could probably be compared to some of Jane Austen's novels - not as great a work as Pride and Prejudice, but in a similar vein. A few months after reading it I saw the 2007 ITV1 adaptation of the story on PBS. This tacked on a very poignant, and different, ending to the novel, I thought very well done. This is available on Netflix (DVD)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Apatt

    A couple of days before I started to read this book I have just read and reviewed E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops an excellent science fiction short story first published in 1909 which is very well written, clever and prescient. Forster is of course not known for his sci-fi as he wrote only the one story (as far as I know). However, he is known for several classic novels including A Passage to India, Howards End and Where Angels Fear to Tread. All of which have been adapted into films. A Room w A couple of days before I started to read this book I have just read and reviewed E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops an excellent science fiction short story first published in 1909 which is very well written, clever and prescient. Forster is of course not known for his sci-fi as he wrote only the one story (as far as I know). However, he is known for several classic novels including A Passage to India, Howards End and Where Angels Fear to Tread. All of which have been adapted into films. A Room with a View is his most widely read and popular work. I decided to read it after reading The Machine Stops. Room is superficially a romance and a comedy of manners, but it is also a social satire a character study and an exploration of the human mind. The protagonist Lucy who has been living a sheltered life meets a seemingly plebeian English father and son while on holiday in Florence with her snooty cousin Charlotte. Initially she shares her cousin’s disdain for those of the lower classes until repeated encounters show her that there is more to these people than meets the eye. A Room with a View is a pleasant, amusing and thought provoking book. I particularly like the theme of self-denial, people (myself included) often do not admit even to themselves when they like something they imagine will lower their peers’ opinions of them, basically nobody likes to look uncool! Sometime this is justifiable but as this novel shows it can leads to life changing error of judgment. A couple of quotes from this book that deal with this particular theme: “Let yourself go. Pull out from the depths those thoughts that you do not understand, and spread them out in the sunlight and know the meaning of them” “Passion should believe itself irresistible. It should forget civility and consideration and all the other curses of a refined nature. Above all, it should never ask for leave where there is a right of way.” (I always pad up my reviews with quotes when I can’t think what to write!). The romcom theme of “The course of true love never did run smooth” is prevalent for people who like that sort of thing. For me it is a less interesting aspect of the book due to its commonplaceness. I do tend to get a little frustrated with the heroines of romcoms when they acting out their self-denial. There is also a satire of people who like to act the martyr for the purpose of emotional blackmail which had me chuckling. The characters are all believable and the central characters are quite complex, probably too complex for their own good. The prose and dialogue, as I expect from [author E.M. Forster], is beautifully written. This is one of his lighter novels and there are amusing scenes and dialogues scattered throughput the book. As I read this in audiobook format it is more difficult to make notes and highlight favorite lines. Speaking of which, the audiobook is superbly read by Elizabeth Klett who is an American lady but reads all the dialog in a convincing English accent; the narrative parts are read in her natural accent, which makes for an interesting contrast and serves to highlight her skills. (Audiobook download link) I prefer novels where the stakes are higher than a couple’s relationship so a 4.5 stars rating seem appropriate as a gauge of my appreciation (rounded up to 5 because GR doesn’t allow halves!). Any way, lovely book, time well spent!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Piyangie

    A Room with a View is a story of love; a story of self-realization of a young woman; and a story of the Edwardian English society still governed by strict Victorian values. This is my first experience with E.M. Forster and I’m well rewarded. Written in the beginning of Edwardian era, Forster critically exposes the cultural restrictions, class difference and rigidly maintained social status that had swallowed the English society. The story is set up in England and Italy and Forster with his craft A Room with a View is a story of love; a story of self-realization of a young woman; and a story of the Edwardian English society still governed by strict Victorian values. This is my first experience with E.M. Forster and I’m well rewarded. Written in the beginning of Edwardian era, Forster critically exposes the cultural restrictions, class difference and rigidly maintained social status that had swallowed the English society. The story is set up in England and Italy and Forster with his crafty and witty writing style, draws comparison between English cultural rigidity and Italian cultural relaxation. The opening of the book is a scene in a pension in Italy, where a group of English tourist who, being in a foreign country, were still divided by class. There was the assumption of George Emerson being a porter just because he works in the railway, although he actually is a clerk. And he is out rightly considered a cad because of his “lower” class and somewhat relaxed behavior to those who are stifled by convention. The old Emerson who speaks out his mind freely is considered vulgar by the “respected” English. Although civility is maintained on the face of it, the Emersons are ignored and isolated for the most part because of the highly revered concept of “class difference”. I was really struck by the severity of this division and enjoyed Forster’s exhibition of displeasure through his witty writing. The focus of the story is a young woman named Lucy and her journey of finding both herself and love. It is not an easy journey, as she has to hurdle through strong social barriers. The inner struggle that she goes through is the struggle of young men and especially young women in the Edwardian society, being torn between strict conventions and emerging modern opinions. Forster is a radical. He mocked the Victorian perceptions in the old generation that still held strong and supported the view of mixed class marriages in the wake up of a new middle class which was steadily brought forth by industrialization. However after finishing the read, there is this nagging feeling in me that perhaps, I have not pealed all the layers that were laid out; perhaps I had missed out something, for Forster has this astonishing ability (which I can only compare to that of Virginia Woolf) to keep you wondering whether you really, really understood it. Overall, I enjoyed the read very much. It is short but complete; it is not perfect yet heartfelt; hence the five stars and a promotion to “my favorite classic shelf”.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Phrynne

    One of those classics which I always felt I must have read at some time in the past but apparently had not, so meeting Lucy Honeychurch for the first time was a great pleasure. A Room with a View is a very enjoyable humorous critique of society, much in the style of Jane Austen. Lucy's travelling partner, Charlotte, could have come straight from an Austen novel. It is also a romance with, of all things, (view spoiler)[an unexpectedly happy ending. (hide spoiler)] (Spoiler alert there in case you h One of those classics which I always felt I must have read at some time in the past but apparently had not, so meeting Lucy Honeychurch for the first time was a great pleasure. A Room with a View is a very enjoyable humorous critique of society, much in the style of Jane Austen. Lucy's travelling partner, Charlotte, could have come straight from an Austen novel. It is also a romance with, of all things, (view spoiler)[an unexpectedly happy ending. (hide spoiler)] (Spoiler alert there in case you have not read it yet) I think I have likened it to Austen because it is light hearted and fun, not deep, dark and melodramatic. It is a short book, easy to read and definitely a good choice for anyone who wants lay claim to reading the classics without having to try too hard. I am pleased I have read it at last:)

  17. 5 out of 5

    MsAprilVincent

    This is the first book that I've just tipped over in love with in a long time. Having seen the movie Howard's End, and knowing that E.M. Forster wrote in the late 19th/early 20th century, and having watched that episode of The Office where the Finer Things Club discussed this book, I fully expected it to be a dull, dry slog. But it was not. It was a pleasure. Lucy Honeychurch learns that the rules of society can--and sometimes should--be broken. She learns that she doesn't have to love a man just This is the first book that I've just tipped over in love with in a long time. Having seen the movie Howard's End, and knowing that E.M. Forster wrote in the late 19th/early 20th century, and having watched that episode of The Office where the Finer Things Club discussed this book, I fully expected it to be a dull, dry slog. But it was not. It was a pleasure. Lucy Honeychurch learns that the rules of society can--and sometimes should--be broken. She learns that she doesn't have to love a man just because everybody else tells her he's right for her. And she finally follows her own instincts to find happiness. Some of the best parts: Upon hearing Lucy playing the piano ("...she loved to play on the side of Victory," Forster writes, though "she struck no more right notes than was suitable for one of her age and situation," the vicar Mr. Beebe says,"If Miss Honeychurch ever takes to live as she plays, it will be very exciting--both for us and for her." While on vacation in Italy, Lucy and her annoying older cousin/chaperone Charlotte are staying at this place that caters to British tourists. There, they meet the old Mr. Emerson and his son George, who are sort of lower class, or at least other people think they are, when really Mr. Emerson just says what he thinks, which is never appreciated. Several in the group take a road trip out to a famous landscape, and Lucy finds herself alone. She goes looking for the vicar when she falls into a little violet-covered terrace: "George had turned at the sound of her arrival. For a moment he contemplated her, as one who had fallen out of heaven. He saw radiant joy in her face, he saw the flowers beat against her dress in blue waves. The bushes above them closed. He stepped quickly forward and kissed her." After this, Charlotte quickly whisks Lucy off to Rome, where she meets Cecil Vyse, who is one of those people who thinks he knows everything and, on top of that, thinks he is very funny. He is not. Lucy returns home and Cecil follows her and asks her to marry him (for the third time) and she says yes. She's happy for a while, until George and his dad move into town. That leads to this: "She led the way up to the garden, Cecil following her, George last. She thought a disaster was averted. But when they entered the shrubbery it came. ...Cecil must go back for [a book:]; and George, who loved passionately, must blunder against her in the narrow path. "No--" she gasped, and, for the second time, was kissed by him. This next is my favorite part, when George is trying to convince Lucy that Cecil is wrong for her, that Cecil just wants someone to talk the ears off of, with all his stupid "witticisms" and holding forth on various profound subjects that he doesn't know anything about. But Lucy is tired of being talked at, and tells George that he is doing exactly the same thing. And he says, "This desire to govern a woman--it lies very deep, and men and women must fight it together ... But I do love you--surely in a better way than he does." He thought. "Yes--really in a better way. I want you to have your own thoughts even when I hold you in my arms." Gah! That is a good line there, a surefire way to talk a woman into anything. But Lucy holds fast--I don't know how she does it--and George goes away. What follows next is probably the most gracious broken engagement ever recorded, which may be the redemption of Cecil Vyse (who turns out to be sort of interesting, when he's not a giant prat). And then a happy ending that may have been brought about by the person you'd least expect it from. Obviously, what I've written here is just the surface of the story. There's tons of deeper analytical stuff about the role of women in society, class divisions, Fate vs. God, the probably gay vicar, and how Italy makes everything better. But you can ignore all that, if you want, and stay in the shallow end of the pool with me ... and my new boyfriend George Emerson.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    I imagine that in the early twentieth century, this book could have been marketed as a "beach" read. It's fast-paced, romantic, endearing, funny, dramatic and even fulfills a little bit of that wanderlust feeling we all get in the summer months. Frankly, I couldn't stop smiling throughout this entire novel. This is one of those books in which the setting (though it may be as stunning as Florence, London, or the English countryside) takes a back seat to the vibrant and highly entertaining charact I imagine that in the early twentieth century, this book could have been marketed as a "beach" read. It's fast-paced, romantic, endearing, funny, dramatic and even fulfills a little bit of that wanderlust feeling we all get in the summer months. Frankly, I couldn't stop smiling throughout this entire novel. This is one of those books in which the setting (though it may be as stunning as Florence, London, or the English countryside) takes a back seat to the vibrant and highly entertaining characters. Miss Lavish, Mr. Emerson, Miss Bartlett, Freddy (!!!), Mrs. Honeychurch, Mr. Eager, Mr. Beebe - all such unique and large personalities. I absolutely adored this novel and really recommend it to anyone who finds the idea of reading classics in their spare time daunting or tiresome... this book reads like a fancy YA novel, and apparently that's exactly my cup of tea.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Perry

    "When I think of what life is, and how seldom love is answered by love, it is one of the moments for which the world was made." E.M. Forster, A Room with a View A splendid novel centered on the young Lucy Honeychurch, both criticizing the restrained Edwardian era culture of England in which she lived and providing a romance with the passion of Italy infused in juxtaposition. Forster masterfully and perceptively reviews the structure of society, and the imperfections and merits of each of its spher "When I think of what life is, and how seldom love is answered by love, it is one of the moments for which the world was made." E.M. Forster, A Room with a View A splendid novel centered on the young Lucy Honeychurch, both criticizing the restrained Edwardian era culture of England in which she lived and providing a romance with the passion of Italy infused in juxtaposition. Forster masterfully and perceptively reviews the structure of society, and the imperfections and merits of each of its spheres. He cleverly contrasts conservative thoughts (Medieval, static, dark, rooms) and progressive reasoning (Renaissance, forward or modern, light, views). To Forster, Italy represents the force of true passion, freedom and sexuality, as opposed to the societal constrictions of England at the time. Her trip to Florence opened Lucy to a new world of sensuality, and in a way this novel is a Bildungsroman. Forster's novel, I think, should be applauded for the forward thinking views, in 1908, on feminism. This is the type of fiction I especially admire, literature that through cunning comparisons "reveals truth" about society "that reality obscures." (Jessamyn West).

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chrissie

    Published in 1908, this is a classical romance novel with humorous satirical bite. Love stories such as this have been told a million times, but the mordant wit with which Edwardian society is drawn is what makes it special. You read it to laugh. You know how it will end right from the start, but who cares? It's fun. It has a sweet, schmaltzy end that will leave you smiling. I really have nothing else to say......... Critique of Edwardian life told through humor. I listened to the audiobook narr Published in 1908, this is a classical romance novel with humorous satirical bite. Love stories such as this have been told a million times, but the mordant wit with which Edwardian society is drawn is what makes it special. You read it to laugh. You know how it will end right from the start, but who cares? It's fun. It has a sweet, schmaltzy end that will leave you smiling. I really have nothing else to say......... Critique of Edwardian life told through humor. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Steven Crossley. Both the novel and the narration are good.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anthea Syrokou

    I was always curious about this book. The title is so well-known and I’ve heard the movie mentioned so many times. I wondered what was so special about this “room with a view”. I was pleasantly delighted when this room was introduced to me, literally and figuratively, in Florence Italy, where the protagonist, Lucy, along with her chaperone, her cousin Miss Charlotte Bartlett, holiday together. The reader, however, senses that Lucy would rather holiday by herself instead of with her uptight, judg I was always curious about this book. The title is so well-known and I’ve heard the movie mentioned so many times. I wondered what was so special about this “room with a view”. I was pleasantly delighted when this room was introduced to me, literally and figuratively, in Florence Italy, where the protagonist, Lucy, along with her chaperone, her cousin Miss Charlotte Bartlett, holiday together. The reader, however, senses that Lucy would rather holiday by herself instead of with her uptight, judgemental and, at times, clueless cousin. Lucy is a free-spirit who has been told that she cannot be free and fly, by society and its expectations. She was taught how a lady should carry herself back in the day, in 1908, when the story was written. A lady must behave a certain way, and Charlotte makes sure she reminds her quietly rebellious cousin, Lucy, on numerous occasions. In the beginning of the novel, Lucy clearly has no mind of her own. Her true self: her desires, her opinions, her values are repressed. The reader sees that she wants to be told how to respond or act by her cousin or the reverend, Mr Beebe. However, we also get a glimpse of Lucy’s “real self” — her rebellious nature, when we see that she also detests the company of those that have been instructed to guide her. Miss Bartlett seems to not only be a constant reminder for Lucy in regards to what she “should” or “shouldn’t” do as a respectable woman amongst refined and proper society, but she seems to be a constant reminder to the reader as well; almost like a warning. It is as though her character warns the reader about what could happen if we don’t listen to our own instincts, and what happened to women at the time, when they instead followed oppressive expectations that were obviously placed to keep women in line. The author depicts and taps into this attitude towards women so beautifully and masterfully. It appears that he actually really understood the plight of women during those times. We see Lucy evolving into a woman of her own choosing — one who begins to have confidence in following her own instincts, and a woman who no longer listens to advice from her cousin who suddenly appears as she truly is: a somewhat nuisance, someone who pathetically hangs on to society’s expectations to the point that she herself has no direction in her thinking, and becomes a walking mess as every thought or decision seems to have no clear or steady guidance. She becomes a walking disaster because she herself represents what a society of “oughts” can do to someone’s mind; how it can plague one’s mind with self-doubt and indecisiveness. Fortunately, towards the end we see this character also evolving and the truth about Charlotte Bartlett is revealed. We begin to see that perhaps she isn’t as clueless and pathetic — that she may see more than the reader expects her to see and know. The room with a view is the room that Charlotte and Lucy stay in at the beginning of the novel in Florence. Two rather odd and unrefined but clever men, a father and son, insist that they should swap their rooms as they overhear that the women wanted a view, and that they themselves don’t mind these things. Miss Bartlett’s dedication to adhering to the rules of society is immediately witnessed in this scene — we ourselves get a view of how messed up she has become in her thinking and how she guides her younger cousin, Lucy to do the same. It’s as though the reader gets a “view” of how one's life can become if the view isn’t one we choose for ourselves. The father and son represent the freedom to follow our own instincts; that inner voice that knows what’s right for the individual. They seem to be rebels because they are not swayed by society’s repressive and unhealthy ways. They are the opposite of what Miss Bartlett stands for. When they insist that the women take the room with the view, it is almost like they are telling them to be themselves; like they are giving them permission to follow their hearts and see things for what they truly are, to liberate them from Edwardian society’s restrictions. As a reader, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Lucy grow and felt her irritation as she began to realise how foolish everyone was when she begins to really look at them. It was as though she had uncovered a secret — that no-one really knows what the rules are in life, and one set of rules cannot be for everyone. Everyone plays a role in life — and they begin to lose their credibility in playing that role because they were not made for the part — it is too difficult to maintain it because the expectations are too high and repressive to the human spirit. Overall, this novel was such a delightful read. Even if it didn’t happen from the onset, I began to slowly feel that I wanted to get to know the characters and see where they were heading. The author really tapped into what it was like to be a woman with oppressive restrictions placed upon her. I also relate to the theme of "being true to yourself" and not listening to the “shoulds” and “musts” and following our instincts and values, both as a writer and as one who has studied psychology and counselling. Forster understood the danger of giving your mind to someone else to mould; the danger in creating a world of “Miss Bartletts” running around spreading neuroticism to anyone left in their care. The actual room with the view is like a microcosm of society at large. We begin to understand that there are those who would rather watch the view from inside and those who would rather be outside — those who are young and free at heart, and who want to truly feel life as opposed to pretending to feel it. This is very clear in a scene with Lucy and her fiancé, in the middle of the novel, where there is a comparison of the two characters. Her fiancé is compared to a room, and she to nature and the outside. Although I found the ending slightly abrupt, as I felt I would have liked to see more of what unfolded and how it unfolded, I then realised that perhaps that story would not belong in this novel. It was perhaps more emphatic to leave things as they were. Art and nature played a great part in this novel and the author cleverly uses images from nature and art to depict society, and to make a point, and to even show a turning point in the novel. The red book being caressed by the sunlight is an example of this clever use of imagery. It perhaps symbolises that Lucy is changing and will be more true to her own desires — to become aware and feel and see the light perhaps. Overall, it was an entertaining and lovely reading experience. The writing was rich in metaphors and symbolisms and I appreciate the author’s ability to see the realness in people and his respect for not only women, but the individual. He was obviously a man who believed in equality for both women and men. He gives characters wings to be themselves and a “view” of who they can evolve into; an awareness that if they allow themselves to truly feel, they can finally be free and live a life that’s true and pure in spirit.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    Absolutely amazing. I love E.M. Forster - his writing is beautiful, his dialogue perfectly pitched, and the way he writes about love just amazing. I also love the way this novel looks at "respectability" and the position of women in Edwardian society.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Aubrey

    I don't deal with romance much. It's a trait that's bled over from real life experiences into my tastes for a very long time, but it wasn't until recently that I started vivisecting it for more credible reasons than "I don't like chick flicks/soap operas/other degenerating names for lovey dovey things that females are supposed to like". If there's one thing I've learned, it's that something is always wrong at the heart of things whenever the word "female" is incorporated into an instinctive disl I don't deal with romance much. It's a trait that's bled over from real life experiences into my tastes for a very long time, but it wasn't until recently that I started vivisecting it for more credible reasons than "I don't like chick flicks/soap operas/other degenerating names for lovey dovey things that females are supposed to like". If there's one thing I've learned, it's that something is always wrong at the heart of things whenever the word "female" is incorporated into an instinctive dislike. The word "female" is also a major hint. Now, I don't socialize with as often or with as many people in real life as the average person, but even I've picked up on myriad tropes of conversation that are ubiquitous for females in their twenties, aka me: Do you have a boyfriend? No? Oh, are you looking for one? No? Oh, you're not interested in a boyfriend? Don't you want kids? Now take that and apply it to every form of media aimed at women, from book to movie to television commercial and everything in between. Being someone with far greater interests in more important issues than the future of my womb, this omnipresent intrusiveness is annoying enough without actively seeking it out in entertainment centered around romance, or rather the series of male fantasies society likes to pretend is acceptable for anyone and everyone. In short, if you want to sell me a romance, it either needs to avoid the problematic tropes or subvert them entirely, period. Life is short and made even shorter by the majority of others you converse with constantly bringing up a problematic version of love and sex and all that jazz, and as consequence I have no time for that shit in my literature. The issue's insidious enough that even female authors don't realize it most of the time, so let me get to the point already and explain just what I'm doing with this book that all signs say should be putting me off forevermore. Had it not been for reading Howards End immediately previous, I would have spent the majority of A Room with a View expecting Forster to fail. It's obvious why the latter is far more popular than the former: lots of comedy, lots of twists and turns, lots of outrageous characters, and a minimal amount of the juicy expoundings of thought and form and Big Ideas that I so adored in the previous. Both works operate through a female main character, but in ARwaV it is not until the very end that Forster is giving said character credit for her own intelligent autonomy, thereby showing me that he did indeed know what he was doing. It's not perfect. I could bring up the usual Edwardian White English Male excuse, but seeing as how this work does romance magnitudes better than the majority of modern day works by both sexes (don't be lazy and consign it to Nora Roberts/50 SoG, that's instinctive dislike based on the word "female" and you know it), I'll forgo the easy "sign of the times" classification. What interests me more is how Forster handled his balance between social justice and individual happiness, less masterful here than in HE but all the more potent for its seeming conformation to the stereotypical "happy ending". (view spoiler)[True, Lucy running away from George to would have unequivocally demonstrated her refusal to be defined by a man, but in exchange she would be defined by a society with an inherently problematic view of relations between women and men. (hide spoiler)] Love is a human thing that is only achieved through mutual respect and complete lack of defining the other party by their respective parts; Forster's awareness of this, as well as his acknowledgement of the efforts men need to make as consequence of their ideology based privilege, won the day. Also, he did make me giggle a few times. That's always worth something.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Puck

    “It is fate that I am here," George persisted, "but you can call it Italy if it makes you less unhappy.” Now, my art history-excursion to Italy hasn't been as life-changing as the one Lucy took, but it was definitely made better by taking this book with me. A Room with a View is a nice, sweet story about a young woman coming into her own, wherein she learns to stand up for herself, her rights as a woman, and her true love. Take note, this story was written in 1908, but the lessons that Lucy l “It is fate that I am here," George persisted, "but you can call it Italy if it makes you less unhappy.” Now, my art history-excursion to Italy hasn't been as life-changing as the one Lucy took, but it was definitely made better by taking this book with me. A Room with a View is a nice, sweet story about a young woman coming into her own, wherein she learns to stand up for herself, her rights as a woman, and her true love. Take note, this story was written in 1908, but the lessons that Lucy learns actually translate pretty well to our age, which show the modern and progressive views of its author Edward Forster. The story is divided into two parts: the first one takes place in the city of Florence, and the second part in London, a few months after the vacation. The first part is filled with great descriptions of the churches and streets of Florence (which brought back memories), and with soft-mocking lines about the upper-class English men and women vacationing in the city. They all walk around with their nose stuck in their guidebook and look down upon the Italian citizens, and admidst them we meet Miss Lucy Honeychurch. Lucy is a naive, young woman who has an open mind, but who gets restricted by her overbearing older cousin Charlotte, and the stiff customs and social rules of English society. Out of that suffocating group of people old Mr. Emerson and his son George emerge, who live without faith (gasp!), polite words, and who have a strong believe in 'heart over head'. George especially gives Lucy a lot of trouble when one day in the Italian hills, he gives her a passionate kiss. In distress and disarray over her own feelings, Lucy flees to London, where her boring fiancé Cecil Vyse is waiting for her. Who to choose? Who is the right man for her? Or a better question: will Lucy allow herself to choose? Because although romance plays a major part in this book, it's main focus is on Lucy, who grows from an unenlightened girl into a mature woman. For a male writer, Forster is a good understander of the doubts and troubles of a young woman, and with his sharp observations of old English behaviour, he shows his readers how wrong it is to ignore your own feelings. Still, how nice and refreshing Forster's writing style and main character were, I wasn't blown away by the novel. At the end of the book, Forster tells us that he wrote Part One early in his writing-career, and Part Two much later. This shows: in Part Two the lines and descriptions are much sharper and accurate. The character's actions make sense: for example, the romance between George and Lucy in Part One came out-of-the-blue and felt unrealistic to me. You can see in Part Two how Forster has grown as a writer: he isn't writing something nice, he's writing because he has something to say. He wants us to learn something, just like Lucy does. So if you want to read a short story about a woman discovering her own heart's wishes while living in 19th Century England, this book is certainly one for you. While not perfect, Forster shows with this novel his writing skills, and a promise that his later books will have the same class. For myself, I enjoyed having "A Room" with me while I visited Rome, Ravenna and Milan, and made me curious to read more of Forster's work.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    Youth, love and time on your hands...whatever does one do with it all? What an upper class English lady of the early 20th century does with it is the basis for E.M. Forster's A Room with a View. I expected more of a Death in Venice kind of languishing prose, but instead it felt, for the most part, more akin to Austen...except when it slipped into a borderline Bronte-esque melodrama. There was the snobbish principles and philosophy du jour as well as serious melancholy to be had in plenty, but to Youth, love and time on your hands...whatever does one do with it all? What an upper class English lady of the early 20th century does with it is the basis for E.M. Forster's A Room with a View. I expected more of a Death in Venice kind of languishing prose, but instead it felt, for the most part, more akin to Austen...except when it slipped into a borderline Bronte-esque melodrama. There was the snobbish principles and philosophy du jour as well as serious melancholy to be had in plenty, but to my surprise Forster wedged in enough levity to lighten it all up, not allowing it to sink into a mire of self-righteous platitudes and those all too earnest yet often misguided youthful yearnings. The writing was smart, though not too clever for its own good, aside from one gripe. Knocking down of the 4th wall and addressing the audience once every fifty or so pages was a distraction. Either utilize the technique through out consistently and force the reader to accept it or don't use it at all. Okay, I lied. I have two gripes. The grounds upon which the love affair between Lucy and (view spoiler)[George (hide spoiler)] is based on could've used more developing. I didn't fully buy into it. By the end I was okay with their relationship, but the start of it needed something more. Goodreads' dang 5 star doesn't allow it, but if I could, I would actually rate this 3.5 stars.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bloodorange

    4,5 stars rounded up. I wish I could say something more intelligent about it other than that it's lovely, a praise of humanism and feminism. A lighter fare than Howards End, but still beautiful and not to be dismissed.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    I find comedies of manners and WASP dramas about one's place in society so tiring... last night we finally got a true plot development and I woke up a bit. I'm such a bad "girl" reader this way. Cue some action, PLEASE. UPDATE: I can't keep reading this. Taking it off the bedside table. I am such a bad girl!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction)

    Originally posted on A Frolic Through Fiction Update: review bumped up from 4.5 stars to the full 5 stars! You know when you love a book but can’t even explain why? THAT. End of review. No, I’m joking of course. Although I really am going to have a hard time explaining what it is about this book that stole my heart so easily. Because right from the first few pages I was in love. But it’s not even like anything really happens in the book. Like a lot of classics, the littlest thing is a massive drama o Originally posted on A Frolic Through Fiction Update: review bumped up from 4.5 stars to the full 5 stars! You know when you love a book but can’t even explain why? THAT. End of review. No, I’m joking of course. Although I really am going to have a hard time explaining what it is about this book that stole my heart so easily. Because right from the first few pages I was in love. But it’s not even like anything really happens in the book. Like a lot of classics, the littlest thing is a massive drama of deceit, betrayal and humiliation in society. Meaning compared to the books/movies/TV shows/stories/news we hear of…well, they’re pretty uneventful. But somehow, I adored this book. It honestly made my heart sing. Whether it was because I was suddenly in the mood for it, or because this is the sort of classic I like to read, or if it was just E.M Forster’s writing…but something just clicked in exactly the right place for me. A lot of it was just the general atmosphere of the book. It made me feel like Lucy, wanting to travel to Italy and learn everything she can while there. It gave almost a whimsical glaze over the idea of travelling and discovering new things, and really hit that sense of wanderlust in me. Especially when the surroundings were described so beautifully. I’m telling you: this book is responsible for my future trip to Italy. But it’s not just Italy. Even the little countryside style town Lucy lives in made me want to go rambling around amongst fields and woodland. I don’t know. I just wholeheartedly wanted to live inside this book. Everything about it was so lovely. That’s exactly the word I’d choose for this book – lovely. It’s quaint. Charming. Picturesque. And just outright LOVELY. The characters were all quite quirky too. There were certainly a fair few that annoyed the hell out of me. But just like Lucy – and most classic characters really – I learned to grin and bare them. Put up a front of civilities. It really did feel like I was inside this book, alongside Lucy Honeychurch. Everything was so genuine to the time, I loved it. Anyway, I feel like this review is becoming more nonsensical as I write. But basically – I adored this book in a totally unexpected way, and it’s without a doubt a new favourite classic of mine.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Connie G

    This coming-of-age story shows Lucy caught between the repressive rules of Victorian society and the more liberal values of the Edwardian age. She is vacationing in Italy, and is exposed to various social classes mixing together and acting in a more relaxed manner than in her English hometown. Lucy is admired by two very different men. Upper class Cecil is a snobbish, bookish man who would be more socially acceptable to marry. The more liberal, but lower class, George values Lucy's ideas, is mor This coming-of-age story shows Lucy caught between the repressive rules of Victorian society and the more liberal values of the Edwardian age. She is vacationing in Italy, and is exposed to various social classes mixing together and acting in a more relaxed manner than in her English hometown. Lucy is admired by two very different men. Upper class Cecil is a snobbish, bookish man who would be more socially acceptable to marry. The more liberal, but lower class, George values Lucy's ideas, is more sensual, and is drawn to the natural world. The book is quite humorous as it illustrates the class differences, manners, and customs of the early 20th Century English. Lucy changes as an individual into a more confident woman who has a voice in determining her future. However, her relationship with George seemed a bit rushed. Overall, I found "A Room With A View" to be a light, charming story.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    What a beautiful story! I really didn't know what to expect—would this be a character story, a philosophical one, a romance? It ended up being a lovely mix of all three. The story centers around Lucy, a young woman who realizes, for the first time, that she has ideas of her own. In other words, it's about Lucy learning how to make decisions for herself, and learning what she truly wants out of life. The book is full of delightful characters and beautiful passages. Yet, Forster isn't above seeing t What a beautiful story! I really didn't know what to expect—would this be a character story, a philosophical one, a romance? It ended up being a lovely mix of all three. The story centers around Lucy, a young woman who realizes, for the first time, that she has ideas of her own. In other words, it's about Lucy learning how to make decisions for herself, and learning what she truly wants out of life. The book is full of delightful characters and beautiful passages. Yet, Forster isn't above seeing the humor in life, and many characters are quite amusing, and the chapter with the pond is probably one of my favorites! I was surprised, a little, by the ending, but in looking back I can see where it fits. I'd like to read it again, knowing where the book is headed, because I think there's so much more there that I didn't grasp the first read through. In all, it's easy to see why this is a classic!:D I think it's totally deserving of that status.:) *** I hope to start this today. Get in my "classics" for the year at least.:)

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