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A Room with a View

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This Edwardian social comedy explores love and prim propriety among an eccentric cast of characters assembled in an Italian pensione and in a corner of Surrey, England.

A charming young English woman, Lucy Honeychurch, faints into the arms of a fellow Britisher when she witnesses a murder in a Florentine piazza. Attracted to this man, George Emerson--who is entirely unsuitable and whose father just may be a Socialist--Lucy is soon at war with the snobbery of her class and her own conflicting desires. Back in England she is courted by a more acceptable, if stifling, suitor, and soon realizes she must make a startling decision that will decide the course of her future: she is forced to choose between convention and passion.

The enduring delight of this tale of romantic intrigue is rooted in Forster's colorful characters, including outrageous spinsters, pompous clergymen and outspoken patriots. Written in 1908, A Room With A View is one of E.M. Forster's earliest and most celebrated works.

256 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1908

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About the author

E.M. Forster

531 books3,336 followers
Edward Morgan Forster, generally published as E.M. Forster, was an novelist, essayist, and short story writer. He is known best for his ironic and well-plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society. His humanistic impulse toward understanding and sympathy may be aptly summed up in the epigraph to his 1910 novel Howards End: "Only connect".

He had five novels published in his lifetime, achieving his greatest success with A Passage to India (1924) which takes as its subject the relationship between East and West, seen through the lens of India in the later days of the British Raj.

Forster's views as a secular humanist are at the heart of his work, which often depicts the pursuit of personal connections in spite of the restrictions of contemporary society. He is noted for his use of symbolism as a technique in his novels, and he has been criticised for his attachment to mysticism. His other works include Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905), The Longest Journey (1907), A Room with a View (1908) and Maurice (1971), his posthumously published novel which tells of the coming of age of an explicitly gay male character.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,789 reviews
Profile Image for Fionnuala.
778 reviews
April 9, 2018
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.
September 17, 2022
It took me longest to put across and structure my views, for this Classic. Weighing light as a physical copy, but out-weighing many others thematically, this book delineates complex-sensitive issues of religion, passion, respectability and coming-of-age, without rendering itself into a rebellion or a mundane tone for a wee! It subtly highlights – Experience is the most valuable teacher!! As we witness the prime character of Lucy, growing into a female with grit and determination, from a docile young woman, all through her multifold experiences !!

E.M. Forster’s novel, A Room with a view, in written as an omniscient narration, with Lucy Honeychurch (a young woman living in a restrained culture) as the prime-focused character.

She is the edifice for the coming-of-age theme, and her journey from adolescence into adulthood is beautifully portrayed. In this process of growing-up, she not only affects her own life, but of the people she stumbles into. Lucy has a challenge to find strength and conviction to claim her own happiness, and comes out of the shackles of timidity and subservience. (I may sound too critical and passionate with my words, but this is the side-effect of this sensible, sensitive and passionate novel!).

The novel opens in Florence, Italy, where Lucy along with her chaperone, her cousin, Charlotte Bartlett, has arrived at a Pension. It is here where Lucy's life is set on a spin, and her "coming of age" theme is catalysed and ends up meeting-up many unconventional characters. Charolette , complaining upon not being offered rooms with a prime view, meets a warmly gentleman and his son, George Emerson, who offer to trade their rooms with them, but in a tactless manner.

Charlotte, who subscribes to the rule of social niceties, finding the Emersons “ill-bred”, and for the impropriety of the offer, turns down the offer. The following morning, the two meet, Mr. Beebe, the new vicar from neighbourhood, who convinces them to accept the Emerson's offer without fear of impropriety.

Lucy, as she copes with the repressive Charlotte, the tactless Emersons, and the mildly interfering Mr. Beebe, is described as “bewildered”. Charlotte, in no mood to leave the room, allows Lucy to frolic and explore the city, along with an independent woman, Miss Lavish, whom they met the evening before. Miss Lavish, tells Lucy-
“I will take you by a dear dirty back way, Miss Honeychurch, and if you bring me luck, we shall have an adventure.”

Additionally, she insists Lucy to liberate herself from the travel-guide/ Baedeker and explore Italy by wandering aimlessly.
“I hope we shall soon emancipate you from Baedeker. He does but touch the surface of things. As to the true Italy—he does not even dream of it. The true Italy is only to be found by patient observation.”

Soon giving up on the enjoyable mate, Lucy, all peevish, regretting giving up the Baedeker, attempts finding her way back to the Pension all-alone.

The magical charm of Italy, plays its magic on her, and, instead of acquiring information, she happily puzzles out of the Italian notices, forbading people, introducing their dogs to the church and not to spit in the church, considering the sacredness of the edifice, the church.
Soon Lucy finds herself in close proximity with old Mr. Emerson, as both rush to help a stumbling child. He says , "Here's a mess; a baby hurt, cold and frightened. But what do you expect from a church?" These lines were abominably impertinent for Lucy. The rigid tenets of Christianity are pitted and spouted by Mr. Emerson. Mr. Emerson later in the book, confesses that his resistance to conventional religious beliefs is caused by his own wife's death, and any kind of extreme spiritual dogma can prove dangerous. ( I am neither "in" nor "against" this religious representation by the author, as for me, religion/spirituality is a personal-affair, and the extent to which one follows is again a personal-choice! 😊)

Mr. Emerson remains the centre of the exposition of the religious and moral beliefs, just like Lucy represents themes of “coming-of-age” and “passion”!

Lucy, sets out on a solitary stroll, when upon witnessing a fight/murder, faints, just to wake up in the arms of George Emerson. Embarrassed due to the impropriety of the situation, requests George not to disclose to anyone that she was caught in his arms.

The entire gang, Lucy and her cousin, the Emersons, Mr. Eager (the chaplain who threw Lucy and the Emersons out of the Giotto earlier), Miss Lavish, set out on an excursion. On this trip, George kisses Lucy impulsively and is caught by a horrified Miss Bartlett. After this romantic interlude, Lucy is rushed to Rome, where she ends up meeting a young man named Cecil Vyse. Sharing a lack of passion, yet Lucy and Cecil get engaged. Cecil ends-up meeting the Emersons in a museum (unaware of their connection to Lucy). Lucy decides to endure a platonic friendship with George. In due course of events, George kisses Lucy again, confessing his love for her. He gives reasons to her to stop the marriage. Although Lucy resists George's advice, she soon realizes for herself that she does not want to marry Cecil and breaks off the engagement.

The two get married privately and proceed to the Pension Bertolini in Florence for their honeymoon. (Life comes back full circles!). The outstanding theme of passion concludes the novel. Apart from Lucy’s passion for arts, music and culture, her constant underlying passion for George, helps her to culminate her marriage with George! Lucy starts off as a docile young woman of a decent conservative upbringing in the novel, but grows into an outspoken female, having gained experience through all events in the novel.

A Room with a View, metaphorically alludes to the room Lucy and Charlotte boards in Pension Bertolini, where is she introduced to the Emersons. It is in Italy; she discovers life and marks her journey from adolescence to adulthood. She comes out of the stifling shackles of the polite (the olden reserved)British society, and views the world with a wider-view!

By far this is one the most likeable and sensible stuff in the repository of my brain. This book has taught me a lot, on how to condense and tersely present the overflowing and passionate thoughts and emotions, which the mind and heart, hold! A definite 5-star 😊

Nb- I am not "in" or "against" the subtle condemnation of religious beliefs in the novel, every individual has her/his own belief-set and religious/spiritual journey, and I respect that ! Mr. Emerson, changed his beliefs post his wife's demise and personal experiences, and never enforced his views on anyone, but just expressed!!

Profile Image for Candi.
614 reviews4,631 followers
July 14, 2018
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."
Profile Image for Jim Fonseca.
1,084 reviews6,998 followers
May 22, 2020
A Room with a View by E. M. Forster

A novel of manners by a master. It is set in England in the early 1900’s -- the Edwardian era. As we are told in the introduction, D. H. Lawrence wrote “About social existence, E. M. Forster knew everything.” Christopher Isherwood called him the expert on “My England.” If we switched the setting to the USA, I would think I was reading Edith Wharton. Or Henry James without the subclauses.


We start off with a young upper-middle class British woman visiting Florence. She is chaperoned by a much older cousin. They are disappointed that their room in the pension does not have the promised view. An older man and his son offer to exchange rooms with them. In a private moment the young man, the son, kisses the young woman. She also has another “adventure:” she witnesses a murder in the street.

Such were Edwardian times that the social complexities of the two women accepting or rejecting this offer of the room, and the young woman’s reaction to the kiss, sets the entire plot in motion for 200 pages. Of course in that era the burden of dealing with that stolen kiss falls entirely on the woman. It affects her relationship with her cousin, her mother, her fiancé back in England, her uncle who is a minister and more.

The first half of the story is set in Italy and the second half back at her home in England. We learn a lot about how the British took great pains to avoid (apparently) “getting contaminated” by Italians! The women stay at a pension run by an English woman; they attend services conducted by a British minister. They have a prescribed list of what must be seen. (There were multiple references to Della Robbia babies, so I looked them up – see picture.)


In a remarkable coincidence, the man who kissed her ends up an immediate neighbor back in England, now friends with her brother and fiancé. The young woman has to wrestle with social propriety, gossip and the choice of ‘doing the right thing’ or following her heart. Her fiancé is controlling and she revolts against him trying to shape her into his opinion of what a woman ‘should be.’ So we can also see the story as a feminist text. Here’s some of what the young woman is up against:

“Why were most big things unladylike? Charlotte [her cousin] 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 first be censured, then despised, and finally ignored. Poems had been written to illustrate this point.”

There is good writing, biting social commentary and humor:

“He seems to see good in everyone. No one would take him for a clergyman.”

Of her mother: “…she doesn’t like anyone to get excited over anything…”

Of the father and son duo: “They must find their level.”

Advice to the young woman from her cousin: “…this our life contains nothing satisfactory.”


E. M. Forster was a gay man, publicly in the closet, although open to his best friends. He lived a long life: 1879 to 1970. A Room with a View is his best-known work according to GR, with about twice as many ratings as either Howards End or A Passage to India. Very early in his life Forster wrote a novel about a gay love affair, Maurice, but it was not published until the year after his death. He must hold the record for being nominated for the Nobel prize but never being awarded one: 16 times. The book was made into a Merchant Ivory film in 1985.

Top photo: the apartment in Florence where the author frequently stayed with his mother, from Wikipedia.
Della Robbia babies from

Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.5k followers
February 22, 2022
A Room with a View, E.M. Forster

A Room with a View is a 1908 novel, by British writer E. M. Forster, about a young woman, in the restrained culture of Edwardian era England. Set in Italy and England, the story is both a romance and a humorous critique of English society, at the beginning of the 20th century.

Part one: The first part of the novel is set in Florence, Italy, and describes a young English woman's first visit to Florence, at a time when upper middle class English women were starting to lead more independent, adventurous lives. ...

Part two: In Rome, Lucy spends time with Cecil Vyse, whom she knew in England. Cecil proposes to Lucy twice in Italy; she rejects him both times. As Part Two begins, Lucy has returned to Surrey, England, to her family home, Windy Corner. Cecil proposes yet again at Windy Corner, and this time she accepts. ...

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «اتاقی با یک منظره»؛ ‏‫«اتاقی با یک چشم‌‮‬انداز»؛ نویسنده: ادوارد‌ مورگان فورستر‏‫؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز دوم ماه نوامبر سال2017میلادی

عنوان: اتاقی با یک منظره؛ نویسنده: ادوارد‌ مورگان فورستر؛ مترجم: محمد تهرانی، تهران: نشر گستر‏‫، سال1389؛ در263ص؛ شابک9786005883251؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیا - سده20م

عنوان: ‏‫اتاقی با یک چشم‌‮‬انداز؛ نويسنده: ادوارد مورگان فورستر‮‬‏‫؛ برگردان: محمدهادی جهاندیده؛ ‏‫مشهد‮‬‏‫: ارسطو‮‬‏‫، سال1395؛ در356ص؛ شابک9786004320702؛

فهرست: پیشگفتار؛ تشکر و قدردانی؛ شخصیتهای اصلی رمان؛ فصل اول: برتولینی؛ فصل دوم: بدون کتابچه ی راهنمای بایدکر در سانتاکروچه؛ فصل سوم: موسیقی گلهای بنفشه و حرف اس؛ فصل چهارم: بخش چهارم؛ فصل پنجم: احتمال گردشی خوشایند؛ فصل ششم: عالیجنابان آرتور بیپ، کاتبرد ایگر، آقایان امرسون،دوشیزگان الینور لاویش، و شارلوت بارتلت و لوسی هانی و ...؛ فصل هفتم: آنان باز میگردند؛ فصل هشتم: قرون وسطایی؛ فصل نهم: هنرمندی لوسی؛ فصل دهم: بذله گویی سیسیل؛ فصل یازدهم: در آپارتمان خوش نشین خانم وایس؛ فصل دوازدهم: باب دوازده؛ فصل سیزدهم: آبگرمکن دوشیزه بارتلت ...؛ فصل چهاردهم: رویارویی شجاعانه لوسی با محیط بیرونی؛ فصل پانزدهم تا فصل بیستم؛ تصاویر؛ منابع
لوسی، با دختر خاله ی خویش «شارلوت بارتلت» به «فلورانسِ ایتالیا» سفر میکنند، تا از زیباییهایِ آنجا دیدار کنند؛ در هتل، چشم اندازِ پنجره ی اتاقشان زیبا نیست، آقایِ «امرسن»، و پسرِ جوانش «جورج»، اتاقشان را که چشم اندازی زیبا دارد، با آنها جابجا میکنند، و اینگونه «لوسی» و «جورج» با یکدیگر آشنا میشوند؛ و ...؛ کتاب، حول محور تضادهای موجود، میان قراردادهای اجتماعی، عرف رایج، دستورات الهی، خواسته‌ های نفسانی، و کسب هویت فردی می‌چرخد؛ که برای هر خوانشگر، با هر چارچوب فکری، چالش برانگیز است؛ سردرگمی شخصیت اصلی، یادآور بلا تکلیفی‌های انسان سرگشته ی امروزین است، که در دوراهی پیروی از اصول اخلاقی و عرفی عامه پسند، چاره‌ ای جز مماشات، تساهل و تسامح ندارد، نگارنده، در این رمان به اماکن تاریخی، مناطق جغرافیایی، مشاهیر ادبی، چهره‌ های ماندگار هنری، و اساطیر باستانی کشورهای: «انگلستان»، «ایتالیا»، «آلمان»، «یونان» و «ترکیه» اشاره کرده است

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 08/04/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ 02/12/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
457 reviews3,240 followers
May 27, 2020
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) in 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 ...
Profile Image for Steven  Godin.
2,373 reviews2,246 followers
May 17, 2020
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 very impressed indeed!
Profile Image for Kevin Ansbro.
Author 5 books1,393 followers
July 20, 2019
"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!

Profile Image for Madeline.
775 reviews47k followers
July 7, 2011
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).
Profile Image for Piyangie.
517 reviews411 followers
July 29, 2022
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. Written at the beginning of the Edwardian era, Forster critically exposes the cultural restrictions, class differences, 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 a 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 tourists who, being in a foreign country, were still divided by class. There was the assumption that George Emerson was a porter just because he works on the railway, although in fact, he is a clerk. And he is outrightly considered a cad because of his “lower” class and somewhat relaxed behavior toward 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 genuinely 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 Edwardian society, being torn between strict conventions and emerging modern opinions. Forster is radical. He mocks the Victorian perceptions to which strings the old generation still held fast and supports the view of mixed-class marriages in the wake up of a new middle class which was steadily brought forth by industrialization.

Forster’s writing is both poetic and picturesque. He draws us into a world that is beautiful notwithstanding its imperfections, petty differences, and minor annoyances and irritations. There is also irony and humour. And Forster’s use of symbology, subtly or otherwise, is simply marvelous. The sun, the river, the mountains, fields of violets, Italy, the water, the playing of music – everything has its own mystery, its own workings on the human mind. Forster has captured this beautifully and sincerely.

The most important however is the “view”. When the young Lucy who belongs to the upper-middle class arrives at the Italian pension, she finds her room has no view. Forster tells us that that should be just. Overprotected and bound by conventions, chaperoned by an old lady who worships Victorian ideals, Lucy has no “view”. But the Emersons, who represent the newly emerging working class have a “view”. The newly learned working class is slowly adapting themselves to the new modern way of thinking, and they are no longer weighed down by conventions. So, they have a “view.” Lucy, still at the impressionable age, falls for young Emerson with a “view”, but it is nipped in the bud by the Victorian chaperon. And the flower to which Lucy was to be bloomed was handed to the upper-class Cecil who is in a closed room with no “view” whereby the flower slowly withers. But sunlight, water, love, and joys of youth come to the rescue and present Lucy with a solid and lasting “room with a view”.

A Room with a View undoubtedly is one of the masterpieces that I have had the privilege to read. It is complete; it is perfect.
Profile Image for Glenn Sumi.
404 reviews1,529 followers
August 6, 2020
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.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
May 12, 2012
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.
Profile Image for Angela M .
1,284 reviews2,205 followers
August 16, 2021

“Has Italy filled you with the fever of travel ? Perhaps George Emerson is right . He says that Italy is only a euphuism for Fate .”

I have the author Sarah Winman to thank for my finally reading this book. One of the characters in her upcoming novel Still Life which I just finished, tells of her knowing E.M. Forster and the book is read by a character in the novel. While this is a social commentary on Victorian England in many ways, it’s an ode to Florence and it’s art, to Italy and how full of life it is and a nod to women, surprising for the time reflected here. It was lighter than I expected, and it felt slow at times, but nonetheless a good story with a great ending.

My literary travels took me to Italy twice this past week. It will hardly make up for my trip that was canceled last year, but still a beautiful view from any room where I was reading.
Profile Image for Luís.
1,857 reviews511 followers
May 21, 2023
The whole story builds around a great metaphor in the title, that of a view.
The characters are classified gradually into two categories: those attached to rooms, walls, and conventions and those connected to nature, youth, hope, and change.
Lucy, the heroine, is at the crossroads of these two worlds: she has a room with a view. From there, it is easy to understand that the short story will be a story of emancipation, not only from the conventions of its time but from society in general, making a timeless book.
Profile Image for Susan's Reviews.
1,074 reviews490 followers
November 1, 2021

E.M. Forster had me sighing with pleasure as I read A Room with a View for the very first (but certainly not the last) time when I was a naive teenager.

I also loved the 1985 film adaptation with Helena Bonham-Carter. (I've watched bits of the 2008 Masterpiece Theatre version starring Elaine Cassidy, but only Sinead Cusack's performance held my interest. The 2008 version was not very good, and the screenwriter changed the ending! Sacrilege!) The 1985 movie had a stellar cast, remained pretty faithful to the novel, and the colours and scenes were glorious!

This novel had everything: upstart tourists in Florence, Italy complaining about not having a room with a view, a bloody altercation in the market square, and two young people destined to be in love despite the odds and their respective social classes.

I think it is time once again for me to dig out my old copy of this fabulously lyrical masterpiece. I loved the grandiose emotions set loose amongst a group of unsuspecting tourists. Highly recommended!

Profile Image for Samadrita.
295 reviews4,558 followers
August 16, 2014
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.
Profile Image for Carmen.
2,056 reviews1,855 followers
December 20, 2022
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

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

Tl;dr - One of the better classics. I really enjoyed reading it and was completely caught up in the characters and plot.
Profile Image for Mark  Porton.
383 reviews324 followers
May 22, 2023
A Room with a View by E.M Forster what a delight! This is a Wharton-like comedic piece taking a cynical look at the chattering classes, it is also a love story – a magnificent love story!

We start in the beautiful city of Florence in the early 1900s – where a small group of English well-to-doers are sharing a guesthouse – nattering, bickering, gossiping and drinking tea. It seems most of this group were held captive by the suffocating requirements of high-society and all its associated social mores of the times. Our main character Lucy is a likeable but flighty young thing and is being chaperoned by her cousin, Miss Bartlett. Now I found this cousin of Lucy’s particularly unlikable, she is a bit of a ‘stick in the mud’ and sounds like dreadful company and not a good influence on lovely Lucy at all.

To provide some insight into how the English upper crust viewed locals when overseas, read these comments which were particularly discomforting:

”I quite agree with you, Miss Allen, The Italians are a most unpleasant people”

”An Italian’s ignorance is sometimes more remarkable than his knowledge”

There’s a couple of religious blokes along for the ride – Mr Beebe (a rector back home) a good natured and harmless fellow, and then there’s Mr Eager an ex-pat, living in Florence who is particularly detestable. Uuuuurrrgghh – but the most disagreeable of all for me was the poisonous Cecil Vyse. This man, who ensnares the delightful Lucy into engagement – is rich, upper-class, negative, snide, a smart arse, a know all and boorish (and they are his better qualities!).

Any story like this needs a hero – and this spot is capably filled by the old Mr Emerson wonderfully assisted by his son George. These guys are great, particularly Dad – he speaks his mind, is generous of spirit and a very open book. But he tends to offend those around him, which is hardly surprising.

Oh my, what a suffocatingly proper bunch.

So for those who haven’t read this classic, this is a love story – like any good love story, the progression to the desired outcome and be bloody agonising, there were times I felt like jumping into the page and giving those concerned a good shaking (dangerous I know!!!) and making them stop, listen and see – and just follow your feelings and your hearts!

Sometimes love stories are the most suspenseful of all.

This was truly sumptuous. Not only does Forster describe the place of Florence (and Rome – see Baths of Caracalla pic – sorry I tend to relate everything to Rome!) beautifully, but he also creates the scenes making the reader feel like we are there. However, some of the depictions of the Italians were not so flattering. He describes the intricate dynamics between the stuffy characters brilliantly. Very tongue in cheek at times – not quite as biting/funny as Wharton though in my view. Forster also describes the inner-workings of women so well, (Disclaimer – see I am a fella…..”Mark”, so I cannot be 100% sure) and all of their associated dramas.

Lucy was lucky enought to visit the Baths of (that bastard) Caracalla - one of the nastiest Emperors of Ancient Rome, and a complete tool. But this complex was very impressive

This is a page-turner, it wasn’t unusual for me to go to bed at 1am, I read and enjoyed this slowly.

This afternoon I will shut the curtains and blinds, make a cup of tea (grab a couple of Oreos – not English I know), crank up the volume and enjoy. Oh boy the film had better do this story justice!

5 Stars

Movie comments to follow…..The Movie was excellent of course updated 22/05/2023
Profile Image for Julie .
4,025 reviews58.9k followers
July 9, 2021
A Room with a View by E.M. Forster is a 2017 Amazon Classics publication. ( Originally published in 1908)

In the continuing saga of 'taming the TBR', I have found it easier to locate classics on my list that I have been meaning to read for years.

The brevity of this one convinced me to make time for it immediately instead of letting it continue to gather 'virtual' dust on my Kindle.

I had a little trouble with this one- in fact- I almost gave up on it. I was well over halfway in before I felt engaged in it at all. By the time I was finished, though, I was glad I stuck with it.

This is a light story, with some dramatics, terrific locales, fantastic characterizations, and a moral that is timeless, but overall, while I enjoyed it enough, it didn't make a lasting impression on me.
Profile Image for Jean-Luke.
Author 1 book384 followers
May 8, 2021
No Room with No View (2020 Edition)

"They had no business to do it,” said Miss Bartlett, "no business at all. We were promised south rooms with a view close together, instead of which we have no rooms, with no view, and are unable to even enter the country. Oh, Lucy."

"I should have liked to see the dolphins now swimming in the Venice canals," said Lucy (she hadn't yet read the article saying this was not true). "But perhaps it's for the best, given--" But Lucy decided it was wiser not to bring up her cousin's age. "Oh, it is a shame!" She remained awestruck--she couldn't help herself--by the rate at which Mother Nature flourished, given the absence of human beings.
Profile Image for Joe Valdez.
485 reviews808 followers
February 11, 2017
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.

Profile Image for Diane.
1,080 reviews2,652 followers
August 10, 2015
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."
Profile Image for Victorian Spirit.
212 reviews711 followers
November 23, 2022
4,5 ⭐

A pesar de no ser el título que más me atraía del autor (si por mí fuera, hubiera empezado por 'Howard’s End'), la novela terminó por conquistarme y sorprenderme. Y es que diría que la mayor virtud de esta novela es que, pese a tener más de 100 años, podría pasar perfectamente por un libro actual ambientado en la época eduardiana, por lo certero de sus críticas a la sociedad. Me resultó muy agradable y hasta cierto punto reconfortante porque tiene mucho del encanto y el desenfado de las comedias románticas pero sin dejar de lado esa parte más reivindicativa del autor.
Eso sí, leer a Forster tiene más complicación de lo que en un primer momento parece por el uso constante del simbolismo y porque todo, absolutamente todo, está muy pensado, muy medido. Quizá demasiado. Eso provoca en el lector una falsa sensación de 'in medias res', como de estar perdiéndose algo importante, ya que tanto los personajes como sus reacciones tienen una profundidad poco vista desde el mismísimo arranque de la novela.
Es un autor al que hay que leer con atención, ritmo pausado y sobre todo, aprendiendo a leer entre líneas, porque acostumbrarse a esa manera de narrar requiere algo de tiempo... motivo por el cual la novela mejora a medida que avanza.
Seguiré sin duda con su obra porque me despierta mucha curiosidad.

RESEÑA COMPLETA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vm-U0...
Profile Image for Ted.
515 reviews744 followers
May 21, 2015
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)

Profile Image for Gabrielle.
996 reviews1,129 followers
March 18, 2022
They say that travelling builds character. Was it ever more true than in this light, lovely little tale, where a visit to Florence will forever change the young Lucy Honeychurch (what a name!!)? “A Room with a View” seems simple enough at first glance. The young woman falls in love with the charms of Italy and with an unconventional young man, and must ultimately decide whether she will marry him or a wealthy, exasperating douche. Yes, it’s quaint and predictable, and once you’ve seen the exceedingly charming Merchant Ivory movie, you can’t get the beautiful pictures out of your head.

But the writing! Oh my GAWD, the writing! Forster’s prose is lyrical and evocative, not too heavy, just sweet enough to make you lick your lips. Many, many books have tried to convince their readers that being yourself is the right thing to do. But how many have said it as eloquently and as poetically as “A Room with a View”? The Honeychurch family is quite respectable, but they have a well-controlled wild streak. Lucy’s cousin Charlotte tries her best to discourage it, but acquaintance with the fellow boarders of the Pension Bertolini tease out something in Lucy, something she didn’t really know was there to begin with, but shines a new light on her well-ordered, well-mannered world.

Lucy figures herself out slowly, but when she does, she just sheds her shrinking violet skin to become an absolutely awesome, assertive bad-ass: “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? (…) I won’t be stifled, not by the most glorious music, for people are more glorious, and you hide them from me.” Oh, Lucy, I know exactly how you feel… Her evolution and maturing is so impressive: she wants to see the world, know the things and when she finally realizes that she will never be happy with the ordinary life planned out for her by her family and her fiancé’s family, I was so proud of her! She starts out sheltered and naïve and becomes brave and strong: she stands up to both Cecil and George because she decided “Damn you both, I’m going to be me!”.

I must confess that I have a huge book-crush on George Emerson. He is romantic, but also very pragmatic; passionate but practical. And seriously, who wouldn’t swoon for a man who says such things as: “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 then he does. Yes – really in a better way. I want you to have your own thoughts even when I hold you in my arms.” He wants her to think for herself, he has substance, he evolves… And he’s a socialist, to boot! Someone bring me smelling salts!

Seriously, this a wonderfully plotted little book about figuring yourself out and seizing the things that make you happy. Contrasts and challenges pepper the story and make it feels nuanced and balanced. The characters are wonderfully developed, their voices clear as bells and you end up loving even the more nerve-grating ones (I’m looking at you, Charlotte!). Do not dismiss this as simple rom-com despite the fainting spells, kisses at sunset and so on. This is a joyful book to read, but there is so much more to it than the love triangle: there’s a reflection about how society expects you to behave, gender equality and what it really means to be “proper”.

I cannot recommend this book enough! It’s an easy-to-read classic with lovable characters, laugh out loud funny moments and a perfectly satisfying ending.
Profile Image for Carolyn Marie  Castagna.
274 reviews5,754 followers
March 28, 2020
"From her feet the ground sloped sharply into the view, and violets ran down in rivulets and streams and cataracts, irrigating the hillside with blue, eddying round the tree stems, collecting into pools in the hollows, covering the grass with spots of azure foam. But never again were they in such profusion; this terrace was the well-head, the primal source whence beauty gushed out to water the earth."
- E. M. Forster "A Room With A View"
I don't think my feeling of pathos after finishing this book will ever fully go away. The one hard thing about loving books, is leaving them. It feels like leaving a sacred place, a friend, a whole world even! The events, the people, the places found in this book are so special to me. All I want to do in crawl back into it's pages and play lawn tennis with Lucy, George, and Freddy! I want to look out of the Pension Bertolini's window and see the sun gleam off the Arno. I want to have long talks with Mr. Emerson about fate, Italy, and love... E. M. Forster has given us an entirely new (turn of the century) sunny world full of violets, Sacred Lakes, music, and art!
I smiled endlessly while reading this book, although it felt more like living the book than reading it. I can't wait to live among them again!...that's the best thing about books, they can be re-read! 📖
Profile Image for MsAprilVincent.
534 reviews74 followers
May 10, 2009
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.

Profile Image for Snjez.
734 reviews379 followers
February 27, 2023
I love the 1985 film adaptation of this book, I've watched it many times, but this was my first time reading it.

I was happy to see that the film remained quite true to the original story and the cast of characters couldn't have been better. I kept seeing the scenes in my head while reading this, and I might be biased, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thank you for the inspiration, Kirsten! 😊
Profile Image for Diane Barnes.
1,252 reviews451 followers
January 20, 2022
"Life is a public performance on the violin, in which you must learn the instrument as you go along."

I read Sarah Winman's "Still Life" in December, and this book was mentioned several times. I had it on my shelf already and decided that winter is a nice time for a trip to Florence, the setting for the first part of this novel.

We meet Lucy, a young woman on her first trip abroad, being chaperoned by her older, unmarried cousin, along with a varied cast of characters staying in the same boarding house. In Italy, a much more cosmopolitan country than provincial England, Lucy finds, or maybe loses herself, to the beauty and freedom she longs for.

Then it's back home to restrictions and rules and conforming to what society expects. "Muddles" ensue. Misunderstandings abound.

This was a lighthearted but thought provoking novel that was a nice interlude in the bleak month of January.
Profile Image for Apatt.
507 reviews779 followers
October 19, 2016
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!
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