A Room with a View (Dover Thrift Editions)

By E. M. Forster

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
vanessa mayer
E.M. Forster is one of the sassiest, naughtiest writers I've read. His satire is on a par with Chekhov's, and just as poignant. Due to the subject matter I also couldn't avoid thinking of Henry James: although I think James is less skilled, and way more tedious with his language and plotlines, as if he hated his characters, and saw them as nothing more than metaphors. Forster is warmer, rosier, fleshier. The only sad thing about all of this is that I discovered him so late. Where had E.M. Forster been the previous 26 years of my reading life?
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
nicholas thompson
For Christmas, I ordered an mp3 player (Library of Classics) that was pre-loaded with 100 works of classic literature in an audio format. Each work is in the public domain and is read by amateurs, so the quality of the presentation is hit or miss. After sampling about a dozen more well-known offerings, I was left to select those with which I was less familiar. That is how I came across A Room with a View.

The novel is set in the late 19th or early 20th century, first in Florence, Italy and later in the English countryside. A young, naive Englishwoman named Lucy Honeychurch is accompanied by a cousin and clergyman on an Italian vacation where they come across other countrymen and women at an Florentine pension that caters to the English. There she meets a young Englishman named George Emerson with whom she strikes up a brief dalliance.

Upon returning to England, she becomes engaged to a "proper" English gentleman, but is strangely thrown together again, by happenstance, with young Mr. Emerson. The novel explores the struggle between the feelings of Ms. Honeychurch and the societal mores and conventions of English society of the period.

Some of the language and customs of the characters are moderately amusing seen through current eyes, but by and large, the story is terribly boring. Most of the book is taken up with dialogue that quickly becomes tiresome. It is a very simple story, relatively short and of little import. When compared to the author's A Passage to India, this novel is found woefully lacking.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
nita neal
*Spoilers*

Lucy Honeychurch is a sheltered young woman who travels to Florence with her older cousin, Charlotte Bartlett. Her travels awaken her desire for self-knowledge and knowledge of the world. She longs to spread her wings, which are constricted by social mores and taboos. She also encounters love and passion, both of which are so alien and frightening to her that she doesn't know how to react. Her feelings are all in a muddle, as described by one character.

I enjoyed the novel, especially Part One, but felt it was rather short to be fully satisfying. At times, I was confused by some of the characters, who didn't seem developed enough. The twist at the end where Charlotte gives Lucy a chance for happiness was the most moving part for me. Finally, I liked how the story went full circle and returned to Florence in the very same room which had a view.
The Mars Room: A Novel :: Rooms: a novel :: Giovanni's Room :: The Room in Grandma's House: A Fantasy Short :: Author's Cut Special Edition (Dark Series) - Dark Prince
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sashkhen
This is a novel of splendid, anglophilic delights! The story of a young Englishwoman, Lucy Honeychurch, and her illuminating discovery of herself after travelling to Italy where she happens upon a new perspective is written in a style that is light, humorous, subtle, occasionally aphoristic and full of charm. The characters are amusing, passionate, and memorable and the setting sketches English country life in the waning of the Victorian era as its strait-laced values give way to the coming of the Edwardian era with increasing freedoms for women and the working class asserting itself. E.M. Forster shows himself to be an authority on plot as various strands of the story return unexpectedly to guide Lucy along on her growth to adulthood. Beginning and ending with the view of the Arno river out the window of the Pension Bertolini, this is a novel that situates life among music, culture, art, history, travel, gossip, family, and love.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
bobbie ann
This charming little novel which has recently celebrated its centennary can be easily put down as a period piece. E M Forster foresaw it already in his note which he added to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first edition. Yet a prospective reader would be most wrong to disregard it. There is a lesson here which still needs to be learned by many.
The title gives away some of the content - the main heroine, Lucy Honeychurch, needs to get away from the stuffy atmosphere of late Victorian England in which she was brought up - the symbol of which is for EMF the room. Her escape takes place in stages - the first of them is her trip to Italy where she finds landscapes and people most different from those she was accustomed to. It is also there that she meets the man she falls in love with, George Emerson. Yet these changes come too quickly for her. Lucy yields to the demands of her chaperone and escapes back to England, finding on the way a more appropriate suitor, Cecil Vyse.
When the three young people meet again in England, a fight for Lucy's soul begins anew. Lucy has to decide whether she prefers Cecil who will keep her under his protection in his house as a work of art for others to admire, or George with whom she will have to face the challenges of the world but be free.
What is the lesson for us today in a world where there are neither chaperones nor stage-coaches? We also must make similar decisions - choose freedom which always comes at a cost or safety for which we must pay with our soul. We choose between being true to ourselves or satisfying the demands of others. Lucy's adventures may serve as a perfect food for thought for those facing seemingly dissimilar but actually very similar decisions. It is the more valuable as Forster does not show easy decisions or easy solutions. The happy ending never comes free and yet still it is worth striving for.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
heather s
"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." He thought. "Yes -- really in a better way. I want you to have your own thoughts even when I hold you in my arms."

"We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand, and it is no good moving from place to place to save things; because the shadow always follows. Choose a place where you won't do harm - yes, choose a place where you won't do very much harm, and stand in it for all you are worth, facing the sunshine."

Synopsis: the book is a combination of comedy (mild satire variety), adventure and romance. Lucy Honeychurch is an upper middle class young Lady confined by the repressed culture of Edwardian era England. While holidaying in Italy with her overbearing older cousin and chaperone, Charlotte Bartlett (a sexist description would be "repressed spinster"), Lucy encounters George Emerson and his father. When she first sees him, there is a social barrier (he's intelligent and educated but of lower middle class). However, throughout the holiday she encounters him and his father and feelings soon develop. Lucy isn't pleased with her feelings and thus ensues a tale that manifests social parodies, some political philosophizing and romance.

Set in Italy and England, the story is both a romance and a critique of English society at the beginning of the 20th century.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
walter laing
A delightful, romantic, coming-of-age novel set in Florence, Italy and in southern England. It is a very, very BRITISH novel with the mores of British social classes in the pre-war world of 1908. Horses and carriages coexist with motor cars and trains and nobody had any idea that they lived in an idyllic world which was doomed to end in the carnage of two world wars to come. The narrative style is light and breezy and absolutely delightful to read for the first half of the book. I didn't care as much for the second half, and I was a little disappointed with the last two chapters. I was hoping for an ending which would elate me, like North and South. But this is nevertheless a superb short novel with delightful characters and an engaging structure.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
shawnte orion
A classic and unique English novel written with mastery.
It is about love, betrayal, human nature, the overall human condition, the continuing yet fading Victorian values in the Edwardian era, feminism, self-discovery and small touches of humour peppered throughout. But don't think that this is a comedy, because it is not.
It is set in both Italy and England, which makes for a great cultural contrast; they were and are really quite different.
Forster takes on a softly-softly approach regarding subjects that are really of a serious nature. The romance/love aspect of the tale, I believe, might also be mirroring Forester's own battle with sexuality.
As a reader, bear in mind that it was written over a decade ago and so the pace reflects this. It has a slow meandering quality that I enjoy.
The title A Room with a View is a wonderful metaphor about life in general. The room is the confines that civilization has created. Wanting a View can be seen as a desire for a more exciting life... Freedom. The thrill of what is on the other side.
I thought that it was wonderful how the heroines emotional states were expressed, via musical pieces. Beethoven showed her passion and zeal, while Schumann's sad melody revealed her feelings about matrimony.... An intelligent touch.
A great read.
Sergiu Pobereznic (author)
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
tom smith
This story focuses mostly on Lucy as she takes a trip to Italy with the cousin Charlotte. They are displeased with their rooms because they have no view, as promised. A man and his son, The Emersons, volunteer to exchange rooms to make the women happy. Lucy goes on a few adventures while in Florence and witnesses a fight and stabbing. The Young Emerson happens to be there to shield her from further harm. He later kisses her and Charlotte, her chaperone and cousin, tells an author and this indiscretion is later printed in a book. This was a big deal in the early 1900’s.
Lucy goes on and becomes engaged to a young man named Cecil who is quite bookish and chauvinistic. After kissing George on another occasion, Lucy realizes that Cecil is not the right person for her. Mr. Emerson, the father, helps her see that she is in what he calls a muddle. She finally faces that fact that she is in love with his son George. They end up eloping which makes the father and Cousin Charlotte quite happy. They both remember their own past pains so they assist this young couple in uniting.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
michael c
A Room With a View is a well-written and enjoyable novel that blends skilled writing and gentle humor into a comedy of manners set in the very early 1900s (although dates are never referred to in the novel, it seemed to be around the turn of the century). It is the story of a young gentlewoman, Lucy Honeychurch, who must choose between two men: one who is well-connected and well-regarded by her family, and one not of her family's social standing. Although the outcome is predictable, there was a time near the end when I had some doubt and wondered if the author was going to throw in a real twist. Alas, he didn't; I say alas, because books with twists and turns and unpredictable outcomes are much more interesting and memorable.

Even so this is an enjoyable book, and the frequently recurring theme of views and rooms with views makes it no doubt a favorite of high school English teachers, as well. Steven Crossley does an excellent narration; his voice is pleasant and with no distinctive qualities that often make narrators' voices distracting and even annoying.

This was my first book by E.M. Forster, but I plan to read more.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
brooke johnson
"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." He thought. "Yes -- really in a better way. I want you to have your own thoughts even when I hold you in my arms."

"We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand, and it is no good moving from place to place to save things; because the shadow always follows. Choose a place where you won't do harm - yes, choose a place where you won't do very much harm, and stand in it for all you are worth, facing the sunshine."

Synopsis: the book is a combination of comedy (mild satire variety), adventure and romance. Lucy Honeychurch is an upper middle class young Lady confined by the repressed culture of Edwardian era England. While holidaying in Italy with her overbearing older cousin and chaperone, Charlotte Bartlett (a sexist description would be "repressed spinster"), Lucy encounters George Emerson and his father. When she first sees him, there is a social barrier (he's intelligent and educated but of lower middle class). However, throughout the holiday she encounters him and his father and feelings soon develop. Lucy isn't pleased with her feelings and thus ensues a tale that manifests social parodies, some political philosophizing and romance.

Set in Italy and England, the story is both a romance and a critique of English society at the beginning of the 20th century.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
saharam
It really is a short book and seems to drag on like a book that's 5 times longer for some reason that I can't quite put my finger on. It's not that it's outright boring, but I guess it's just not particularly interesting. There's nothing that makes the characters in anyway interesting or endearing. *Days* to finish a book that's only 170 pages? Foster didn't create empathy for the character, but hammers out a constant and obvious theme that's in no way thought provoking these days.

Some books we stick with because of the historical value, but you can find the same in longer books that are more entertaining and consequently much quicker reads.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
ryan mooney
I listened to "A Room with a View" by E.M. Forster on audiobook. Written in 1908, it tells the age old story of a girl who has to choose between the socially acceptable and her heart/mind.

"It is a great opportunity, the possession of leisure."

The story starts in Florence, where the naive young Lucy Honeychurch meets the brutally honest George Emerson, and has a brief moment (and I do mean moment, as lovely as it is) of passion with him.

"The garden of Eden which we say is in the past is yet to come. We shall be equal when we stop despising our bodies."

It then continues to the English countryside, where Lucy decides to marry the stodgy Cecil Vyse (him of good snobby stock) but has all her plans upended by George's arrival and ardent engagements.

"Choose a place where you don't do very much harm and stand there for all you're worth facing the sunshine."

The landscape is beautifully laid out, and the language is precise and hilarious, in that way only the English can describe.

"She gave up trying to understand herself and joined the vast armies of the benighted who followed neither the heart nor the brain and march to their destinies by catchwords."

E.M. Forster skewers society and its stuffy hierarchies and mincing debates, and not a bit of is dated, despite the Edwardian era. If you like this sort of thing - clever funny period pieces that resonate in the modern world, I highly recommend this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jorge at
I've read this book twice for book clubs. First reading, I would have settled on 3*. Second time was on Kindle app, which made it easy to pursue a question: Why was such a point made about the Beethoven Sonata Lucy played in the boarding house parlor? I was able to click through to Youtube to listen to some performances, and voila! I "got" the whole point of the book. It's still not the most riveting Victorian-era novel I've read, kind of like watching paint dry at times, but it's better literature than I'd thought.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
rdbarrett
I listened to this on the Communter Library audio version, read by Wanda McCaddon. I didn't find that listed here at the store so I'm posting my review here. I did, however, want to give special praise to Ms. McCaddon's reading. I've listened to quite a few audio books and I've found that performance of the reader can add or detract from the words. Ms. McCaddon's readings of the old, the young, male or female are wonderful. I completely forgot that an actress was reading the lines.

I had just finished another audio book of Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence. The theme is the same: the choice the protagonist must make between his feelings and his obligation to the social standing of his family. However in my opinion Forster's work is far superior in the sense of its quiet, subtle, gentle tone and its wisdom. He doesn't hit you over the head with the details of the social inequalities that poor Ms. Wharton did. She was certainly justified, given her personal experience but she loads you with so much verbiage that I found it much less interesting than this book.

These characters are well rounded, not just stock types, as Wharton's were. Lucy appears to be a rather ordinary young girl but we see, through the perceptive comments of Mr. Beebe, that there are depths in her of which she is unaware. I appreciated Forster's portrayal of the rector, Mr. Beebe, avoiding all of the stereotypes of the English clergy of the time that one would easily fall into. Her mother, her cousin, Charlotte, and the amazing Emersons are all real people, with their faults as well as their virtues.

There is so much wisdom, inserted in quiet ways in this little story that at times I wanted to pull my car over and write down a sentence. One of the gems that I did remember was Forster's remark that although Lucy's dilemma seemed to be a choice between personal feelings and the dictates of society, that it was really between reality and illusion! I had just this thought when I was listening to Wharton's book and was so happy to hear Forster articulate it.

There is a lot of light hearted humor in the book, too. I loved the scene of the three fellows bathing in the pond. And the scene where George Emerson finds Lucy in the field of violets is amazing! No wonder he was gripped with passion...who could resist all those violets on a hillside in Florence?

I'm sure I'm missing some of the othere virtues of this unpretentious but wise little book. Read some of the other excellent reviews. Better yet, read the book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
hollie
This charming little novel which has recently celebrated its centennary can be easily put down as a period piece. E M Forster foresaw it already in his note which he added to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first edition. Yet a prospective reader would be most wrong to do so. There is a lesson here which still needs to be learned by many.
The title gives away some of the content - the main heroine, Lucy Honeychurch, needs to get away from the stuffy atmosphere of late Victorian England in which she was brought up - the symbol of which is for EMF the room. Her escape takes place in stages - the first of them is her trip to Italy where she finds landscapes and people most different from those she was accustomed to. It is also there that she meets the man she falls in love with, George Emerson. Yet these changes come too quickly for her. Lucy yields to the demands of her chaperone and escapes back to England, finding on the way a more appropriate suitor, Cecil Vyse.
When the three young people meet again in England, a fight for Lucy's soul begins anew. Lucy has to decide whether she prefers Cecil who will keep her under his protection in his house as a work of art for others to admire, or George with whom she will have to face the challenges of the world but be free.
What is the lesson for us today in a world where there are no chaperones or stage-coaches? We also must make similar decisions - choose freedom which always comes at a cost or safety for which we must pay with our freedom. We choose between being true to ourselves or satisfying the demands of others. Lucy's adventures may serve as a perfect food for thought for those facing seemingly dissimilar but actually very similar decisions. It is the more valuable as Forster does not show easy decisions or easy solutions. The happy ending is never free and yet still worth striving for.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jonathan francis
This charming little novel which has recently celebrated its centennary can be easily put down as a period piece. E M Forster foresaw it already in his note which he added to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first edition. Yet a prospective reader would be most wrong to do so. There is a lesson here which still needs to be learned by many.
The title gives away some of the content - the main heroine, Lucy Honeychurch, needs to get away from the stuffy atmosphere of late Victorian England in which she was brought up - the symbol of which is for EMF the room. Her escape takes place in stages - the first of them is her trip to Italy where she finds landscapes and people most different from those she was accustomed to. It is also there that she meets the man she falls in love with, George Emerson. Yet these changes come too quickly for her. Lucy yields to the demands of her chaperone and escapes back to England, finding on the way a more appropriate suitor, Cecil Vyse.
When the three young people meet again in England, a fight for Lucy's soul begins anew. Lucy has to decide whether she prefers Cecil who will keep her under his protection in his house as a work of art for others to admire, or George with whom she will have to face the challenges of the world but be free.
What is the lesson for us today in a world where there are no chaperones or stage-coaches? We also must make similar decisions - choose freedom which always comes at a cost or safety for which we must pay with our freedom. We choose between being true to ourselves or satisfying the demands of others. Lucy's adventures may serve as a perfect food for thought for those facing seemingly dissimilar but actually very similar decisions. It is the more valuable as Forster does not show easy decisions or easy solutions. The happy ending is never free and yet still worth striving for.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
karina
I'm not sure how a voracious reader like me missed this classic novel, but luckily, my book club picked it and I promptly downloaded the audio (narrator: Wanda McCaddon). I found myself immediately transported to Florence, italy, and completely captivated by the travails of young Lucy Honeychurch. Everything about this book is perfect: the descriptions of Florence and the muddy Arno (where I visited long ago and toured with my then-future husband); the stinging digs at tourists who go abroad only to stay clumped together with others of their same nationality (in my experience, tourists have not improved at all since Forster's time); the characters with their personal foibles, dreams and fears. Even the titles of the chapters are wonderful: "In Santa Croce with no Baedeker," "Lucy as a Work of Art," "Lying to Mr. Beebe, Mrs. Honeychurch, Freddy, and The Servants." Many times I laughed out loud, often caught my breath at the beauty of particularly beautifully written passages, and constantly ached with longing to be young and in love again. The narrator was wonderful and I found myself wishing the book would never end.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kipahni
A Room with a View is a great novel that offers insight into society during the early twentieth century. From the beginning of the book, Lucy Honeychurch, the protagonist, is torn between what is socially acceptable. This is illustrated by the love triangle between Lucy, George (her true love), and Cecil (her fiancé). George is of a lower class than her, and yet, he is the one she truly loves. Cecil is her pretentious, upper class fiancé who would rather protect her than be her equal. Will she choose George, whom is of a lower social class than her, or Cecil, the socially acceptable wierdo? The themes of love and social status are forever present in the novel. The book is made even more enjoyable by the dry humor employed by E.M. Forster. He is so serious and sarcastic whenever he makes jokes, it makes the book all the better. I found myself loving the book mainly because of how relatable Lucy is. She is a young women trying to find herself in the midst of social pressures. Overall, I thought the book was amazing and would definitely recommend it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kathrine
This charming little novel which has recently celebrated its centennary can be easily put down as a period piece. E M Forster foresaw it already in his note which he added to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first edition. Yet a prospective reader would be most wrong to do so. There is a lesson here which still needs to be learned by many.
The title gives away some of the content - the main heroine, Lucy Honeychurch, needs to get away from the stuffy atmosphere of late Victorian England in which she was brought up - the symbol of which is for EMF the room. Her escape takes place in stages - the first of them is her trip to Italy where she finds landscapes and people most different from those she was accustomed to. It is also there that she meets the man she falls in love with, George Emerson. Yet these changes come too quickly for her. Lucy yields to the demands of her chaperone and escapes back to England, finding on the way a more appropriate suitor, Cecil Vyse.
When the three young people meet again in England, a fight for Lucy's soul begins anew. Lucy has to decide whether she prefers Cecil who will keep her under his protection in his house as a work of art for others to admire, or George with whom she will have to face the challenges of the world but be free.
What is the lesson for us today in a world where there are no chaperones or stage-coaches? We also must make similar decisions - choose freedom which always comes at a cost or safety for which we must pay with our freedom. We choose between being true to ourselves or satisfying the demands of others. Lucy's adventures may serve as a perfect food for thought for those facing seemingly dissimilar but actually very similar decisions. It is the more valuable as Forster does not show easy decisions or easy solutions. The happy ending is never free and yet still worth striving for.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
grainne
This charming little novel which has recently celebrated its centennary can be easily put down as a period piece. E M Forster foresaw it already in his note which he added to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first edition. Yet a prospective reader would be most wrong to do so. There is a lesson here which still needs to be learned by many.
The title gives away some of the content - the main heroine, Lucy Honeychurch, needs to get away from the stuffy atmosphere of late Victorian England in which she was brought up - the symbol of which is for EMF the room. Her escape takes place in stages - the first of them is her trip to Italy where she finds landscapes and people most different from those she was accustomed to. It is also there that she meets the man she falls in love with, George Emerson. Yet these changes come too quickly for her. Lucy yields to the demands of her chaperone and escapes back to England, finding on the way a more appropriate suitor, Cecil Vyse.
When the three young people meet again in England, a fight for Lucy's soul begins anew. Lucy has to decide whether she prefers Cecil who will keep her under his protection in his house as a work of art for others to admire, or George with whom she will have to face the challenges of the world but be free.
What is the lesson for us today in a world where there are no chaperones or stage-coaches? We also must make similar decisions - choose freedom which always comes at a cost or safety for which we must pay with our freedom. We choose between being true to ourselves or satisfying the demands of others. Lucy's adventures may serve as a perfect food for thought for those facing seemingly dissimilar but actually very similar decisions. It is the more valuable as Forster does not show easy decisions or easy solutions. The happy ending is never free and yet still worth striving for.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
joshbranco
This charming little novel which has recently celebrated its centennary can be easily put down as a period piece. E M Forster foresaw it already in his note which he added to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first edition. Yet a prospective reader would be most wrong to do so. There is a lesson here which still needs to be learned by many.
The title gives away some of the content - the main heroine, Lucy Honeychurch, needs to get away from the stuffy atmosphere of late Victorian England in which she was brought up - the symbol of which is for EMF the room. Her escape takes place in stages - the first of them is her trip to Italy where she finds landscapes and people most different from those she was accustomed to. It is also there that she meets the man she falls in love with, George Emerson. Yet these changes come too quickly for her. Lucy yields to the demands of her chaperone and escapes back to England, finding on the way a more appropriate suitor, Cecil Vyse.
When the three young people meet again in England, a fight for Lucy's soul begins anew. Lucy has to decide whether she prefers Cecil who will keep her under his protection in his house as a work of art for others to admire, or George with whom she will have to face the challenges of the world but be free.
What is the lesson for us today in a world where there are no chaperones or stage-coaches? We also must make similar decisions - choose freedom which always comes at a cost or safety for which we must pay with our freedom. We choose between being true to ourselves or satisfying the demands of others. Lucy's adventures may serve as a perfect food for thought for those facing seemingly dissimilar but actually very similar decisions. It is the more valuable as Forster does not show easy decisions or easy solutions. The happy ending is never free and yet still worth striving for.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
adit
This charming little novel which has recently celebrated its centennary can be easily put down as a period piece. E M Forster foresaw it already in his note which he added to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first edition. Yet a prospective reader would be most wrong to do so. There is a lesson here which still needs to be learned by many.
The title gives away some of the content - the main heroine, Lucy Honeychurch, needs to get away from the stuffy atmosphere of late Victorian England in which she was brought up - the symbol of which is for EMF the room. Her escape takes place in stages - the first of them is her trip to Italy where she finds landscapes and people most different from those she was accustomed to. It is also there that she meets the man she falls in love with, George Emerson. Yet these changes come too quickly for her. Lucy yields to the demands of her chaperone and escapes back to England, finding on the way a more appropriate suitor, Cecil Vyse.
When the three young people meet again in England, a fight for Lucy's soul begins anew. Lucy has to decide whether she prefers Cecil who will keep her under his protection in his house as a work of art for others to admire, or George with whom she will have to face the challenges of the world but be free.
What is the lesson for us today in a world where there are no chaperones or stage-coaches? We also must make similar decisions - choose freedom which always comes at a cost or safety for which we must pay with our freedom. We choose between being true to ourselves or satisfying the demands of others. Lucy's adventures may serve as a perfect food for thought for those facing seemingly dissimilar but actually very similar decisions. It is the more valuable as Forster does not show easy decisions or easy solutions. The happy ending is never free and yet still worth striving for.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
farah hafeez
At its core, "A Room with A View" is a simple, pleasant romantic comedy, no less predictable and sentimental than many books in the genre. But this is E. M. Forster, who suffuses his story with both droll dialogue and a satirical touch that somehow manages to be simultaneously lighthearted and acidic.

Lucy Honeychurch is the young British heroine who visits Florence with her prim, proper, and priggish older cousin. (Even before I saw the Merchant-Ivory movie, I imagined Maggie Smith in the latter role.) Early in the book, two events shatter Lucy's oppressive Victorian facade: first, she witnesses a murder on the streets of Florence, and then George, a carefree, young man staying in the same pensione, spontaneously and forwardly kisses her in a meadow.

Following her "embarrassment," Lucy returns to England and becomes engaged to Cecil, an appropriately named cad whose stiffness and artificiality exceed even those of her cousin and who "should know no one intimately, least of all a woman." Soon after the engagement, Lucy's newly respectable life is thrown into disarray once again when George and his father become neighbors. "It is Fate that I am here," exclaims George to a minister friend with a rationalistic bent, "but you can call it Italy if it makes you less unhappy."

Into this formula, Forster blends both social satire and political themes. The novel's political views are far less developed and serve more to define the characters than to present the struggle between aristocratic affectations and democratic (even socialist) principles. Most comically, Cecil's overt professions in favor of egalitarianism are little more than a patronizing, haughty, and occasionally cruel pose.

The social satire, however, is integral to the book: skewering the "mediaeval" pretensions of Victorian England, he portrays Cecil as "the type who's kept Europe back for a thousand years" and George as the progressive visionary who decries the brutish "desire to govern a woman" and argues for a world in which "men and women must fight it together before they shall enter the garden." Lucy finds herself caught between their nineteenth- and twentieth-century views; it's an unfair struggle between those who long to remain mired in the past and those who march bravely into the future.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
c heyward
Forster has written a deceptively light, subtle, and entertaining novel
about decent, educated, lily-white English folk whose only real sin is a
polite timidness of spirit, one of the "curses of a refined nature." The
Forster narrative is correspondingly gentle and good-humored, with chasms of despair lurking in the background and momentous decisions explained with understated matter-of-factness. Some fiction achieves a status like Holy Writ. This novel might.

The central characters in >A Room With a View< are as follows.
1) Lucy Honeychurch:
a. "I can't think," Lucy said gravely.
b. Lucy did not know what to do nor even what she wanted to do.
c. She gave up trying to understand herself, and joined the armies of
the benighted, who follow neither the heart nor the brain, and march
to their destiny by catchwords.
In short, Lucy is searching for a point of view, a sense of self.
2) Cecil Vyse;
a. Of course, he despised the world as a whole; every thoughtful man
should.
b. Cecil had been hesitating whether he should despise the villas or
despise Sir Harry for despising them.
c. "Hopeless vulgarian," exclaimed Cecil, almost before they were out of
earshot. "It would be wrong not to loathe that man."
Honestly, Cecil feels intimidated by social interaction.
3) George Emerson:
a. "A nice fellow," Mr. Beebe said afterwards. "He will work off his
crudities in time. I rather distrust young men who slip into life
gracefully.
b. "I only know what it is that's wrong with him, not why it is . . . .
The old trouble; things won't fit."

The curious catalyst for the relationships that develop is Italy. As Lucy
searched for "ma buoni uomini," the good men, the Italian escort led her to George.
1) "Eccolo!" he exclaimed.
2) At the same moment, the ground gave way, and with a cry she fell out of the wood. Light and beauty enveloped her.
3) "Courage!" cried her companion. "Courage and love!"
4) George had turned at the sound of her arrival. For a moment, he contemplated her, as one who had fallen out of heaven. He stepped forward and kissed her.

Lucy's "muddle" finally reaches its climax. She was "driven by nameless
bewilderment."
1) "I've seen so little of life," she said. "One ought to come up to
London more. I might even share a flat for a little with some other
girl."
2) "And mess with typewriters and latch-keys!" her mother exploded, "and
agitate and scream, and be carried off kicking by the police."
3) "I want more independence," said Lucy lamely. She knew she wanted
something, and independence is a useful cry. She tried to remember her
emotions in Florence; those had been sincere and passionate, and had
suggested beauty rather than short skirts and latch-keys.

A wonderful story, >Room with a View<, perhaps one of the greatest in the
English language.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
danni holleran
When A ROOM WITH A VIEW was first published in 1908, the sun had not yet set on the British Empire. The Victorian Age was coming to a creaking end, but for most English, life went on pretty much as it had been for the last half century. But under the priggishness that was the remnant of old-style prudery, cracks were appearing in the hidebound and stuffy proper British upper-class morality. Women were starting to clamor for rights. The lower classes wanted more of the economic pie that once belonged unquestionably to that of the upper. Amidst all these nascent changes, E. M. Forster wrote A ROOM WITH A VIEW to satirize gently the entire spectrum of proper British morality that was becoming increasingly clear was not so proper after all.

Lucy Honeychurch is your typical Victorian young lady visiting Italy in the vain hopes that she can "broaden" her vistas, a process that Forster thinks clearly is so much rubbish. Accompanying her is Charlotte Bartlett, an equally stereotypical chaperone whose business it is to keep Lucy from having too good a time. In Italy, they rent a room that they do not like. In the room adjacent is the father and son Emerson family who graciously offer to swap rooms. The stern Miss Bartlett promptly exhibits her social snobbishness by thinking the Emersons are low class clods. The younger Emerson, George, likes Lucy but her higher standing on the social pecking order, discourages him from forming a liaison. Lucy and Ms. Bartlett return to England where Lucy becomes engaged to Cecil Vyse, a thoroughly dislikable sort but whose high social standing makes him a perfect choice for Lucy. George winds up in England and learns of Lucy's engagement, which he encourages her to break. After much soul searching, she sees that Cecil is a pompous buffoon and marries George.

A ROOM WITH A VIEW is a lesser book in scope than A PASSAGE TO INDIA and a much lighter in tone work than HOWARD'S END, but in its gentle satire and in Forster's ability not to take anything too seriously, he has recreated a world of stuffiness that stands revealed in a comic manner that still manages to address such sobering issues as woman's rights and class snobbery. This is a fine book that sheds some much need perspective on an era that not many see as humorous.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
shanzeh khurram
A witty comedy with literature beauty which is expressed through the clever exchanges, personal thoughts and philosophic lines (but not causing your temple to creased). Lucy Honeychurch, a young girl from a bourgeois middle-up class, decided to look at the world by visiting Florence in spring time, chaperoned by her elder cousin, Miss Charlotte Bartlett. What was started by an argument about a room with a view developed into an impulsive kiss from George Emerson amid the violets thus ended the Florence period in a flight to Rome, away from the 'bold' suitor.

Now, George Emerson was not a brackish bold person. He was just a passionate one, who had deep feelings about anything and was in a distress mood over 'everything doesn't fit' and there was no reason for him to enjoy life, though he didn't intend to commit suicide. While his father is an outright-spoken person which didn't fit nicely with English stiff etiquette style. Together, they were misfits among English tourists in Florence's Bertolini Pension. But a murder scene just took place right before Lucy's eyes and George, coincidentally, was able to help her away from the mass. From then on, his dour view of the world was changed and he discovered the wanting to live his life and Lucy found some extend of the deep emotion of a George Emerson.

His impulse to kiss Lucy is understandable for a passionate guy, who was unprepared, caught the most beautiful sight of a lovely Lucy, who had revived him, among the violet blooming on the hill where you can have the best view of Florence. But unfortunately, the kiss was also seen by Miss Bartlett and that certainly put a chaos feeling to Lucy. Being forbidden to tell the accident to her mother or anyone else and fled to Rome the very next day, she did not have time to think her feeling over and quickly countered and proposed by Cecil Vyse, the son of her mother high society acquaintance in Rome.

The uncertainty, self-denial and buried feeling masked all her actions. The frivolity and passionate spirit that loved the Beethoven music just went under beneath the hypocrisy of 'clever' society standard. Would she discover her true self and feeling at the right time? Or should George go back to his previous gloomy state? What would the so called clever society think?

Find the funny but thoughtful lines in between and be invigorated by Beethoven!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
dianne white
The introduction was no doubt scholarly, but as I have no patience with those who analyze writing and tell me what it says/means, I skipped that. My favorite description is the one likening life to a concert where we learn to play the violin while on stage. I found there were moments, like that one, which resonated with truth and other philosophical musings which couldn't understand at all. I'm going to watch the 1985 movie and see how it's handled there.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
teresa jensen
A Room With A View is one of those light-hearted yet serious books that starts out slowly, begins to warm up, and becomes wonderful toward the end -- leaving one with a warm, happy glow. On the surface, it is a very simple book with a very simple plot and theme -- forbidden love. Indeed, it is not the plot that makes the book so enjoyable; it is the style and the characters. Outside of fiction, E. M. Forster is also well-known for essays on various aspects of literature; he also taught in the English university system. This becomes clear throughout the course of the book; he writes like a literature professor. This accounts for both the slow start and the eventual charm. Always a clever writer (though occasionally too self-consciously so), with tongue never too far from cheek, Forster can definitely turn a phrase -- the penultimate paragraph to one of the later chapters, on Lucy's "surrender," is bone-chillingly good --, and the book is written in a generally light-hearted, jovial way. As another reviewer pointed out, he almost seems to be making fun of his characters at times. Clearly a social critic at heart, Forster shows how what seem like earth-shattering tragedies to Lucy -- the prim, upper-crust heroine -- are, at best, but ripples in the pool. Despite the recurring "tragedies," the mood never gets too dark and heavy; light-hearted chapter titles help perpetuate this feeling. This raises the book above countless similarly-plotted novels. Forster after all created the concept of "flat" and "round" characters, and as anyone familiar with the terms knows, the former is not a pejorative. Forster stressed that a novel needs both to be balanced and true-to-life. This indeed has them: Lucy, the well-rounded, life-accurate heroine who lives, breathes, and grows; Cecil, the walking caricature. Forster's social criticism must also be remarked on once more. In this social comedy, he deflates Edwardian England's puffed-up, self-important upper-class values and leaves us both charmed and amused. The book's deeper element lies here, as he enlightens us about the hypocrisy and xenophobia. His point should not be missed. These elements come together to bring about a delightful, pleasant, and short read that is likely to please most anyone. This is a well-deserved classic.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
norma j hill
This is an amazing romantic book that presents life in a lighthearted manner with some of its pitfalls and disappointments. The story itself involves several generations and portrays the contrast between two main cultures and lifestyles; one in the West, that is Britain, the other one in the south laid-back Mediterranean Europe, namely, Italy. The protagonist, a young lady, searches new experiences and heads for an adventure, whereas her older companions strive to make her think before she leaps, speak wisely and counsel her. So far, it looks as if their life is as it should be. However, things are not always as they seem at firts. The narrative takes some twists and turns and eventually the so-called generation gap starts to diminish, while the moral values are more or less reevaluated. Whether there is a happy end, you should look forward to finding out for yourselves! By all means, it is an excellent read, bearing in mind the book's enjoyable and immaculate language and style as well.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
sarah jo
While not approaching the magnitude of A Passage to India, or even Howard's End, A Room with a View offers an entertaining enough, if not rare, look at the middle class British (traveler's) life. Consumed with the self-discipline and propriety dictated by the national character and emulation of the upper classes, Lucy Honeychurch finds herself between her stodgy cousin's checks and George Emerson's unconventional, bold, and straightforward sincerity. In the backdrop, just as in Howard's End, is the burgeoning realization of female identity and the possibility of greater freedoms.

Forster creates rather familiar characters in the oppressed but promising Lucy, stuffy and financially dependent Charlotte, and traditional, sarcastic snob Cecil, whom Lucy opts to marry after several rejections, in order to avoid confusion about her own future and the doubts the Emersons have introduced. George Emerson, of course, is the modern knight--uncouth and unsmooth--but dangerous and attractive on a visceral level.

What makes Room with a View special is not the content--covered territory, or the dialogue--witticisms and comedy of manners, but Forster's special insight into the characters that lets us know eveything they are and everything they can be, without deeply probing the people. It is a respect and dignity he grants his creations that makes them real.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jane ward
A simple love story about turn of the last century English society and individuals set in Florence, Italy.

This classic is well-written, engaging, rich and moving. The conflict between social norms and individual behavior is well illustrated. The characters develop through the chapters, becoming familiar and human, even if they are not all lovable or psychologically deep. The limitations of being too conformist, aspiring or rational are shown. The heroine, Lucy, seeks personal growth through travel, experiences and music. She is unsure of herself as she grows, unsure of where she wants to go or how to get there. Yet, through the simple act of showing up and having a small amount of self-confidence and self-awareness, she does grow and achieve some of her ends. Forster's writing style is appealing and approachable. Both the particular details and the eternal themes resonate a century later. As noted by the critics, the plot is a bit erratic at times and relies upon improbable coincidences to weave the ending. Nonetheless, this is an easy read with several layers of depth and meaning.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
arashdeep
Forster's novel takes aim at the British ideas of respectability and social class. Lucy wants to rebel against the many rules that govern her conduct, but she is torn. She loves her mother and brother, and wants the admiration of her social set, but she finds so many of these people tiresome and hypocritical. I was struck by how frequently the title phrase is mentioned. There are the obvious references to her room at the pension in Florence and to the view from the salon at her home in England. But Forster also explores the "view" of one's acquaintances vs the reality of their inner core. It's when this second way of looking at things (pun intended) comes into play that the novel really got interesting for me.

I did find the middle section - from the time Lucy and Charlotte left for Rome to Lucy's epiphany regarding George and Cecil - somewhat slow going. In fact, I just about gave up on the book. But I'm glad I persevered; the last five chapters redeemed the work for me.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
shoshanna wingate
I really liked this book. He does a good job of describing these British high society characters that can be really uptight and close-minded despite the fact that they travel extensively. I also like how the subtle similarities between Charlotte Barlett and her cousin, Lucy Honeychurch, come out as the novel progresses. They both get sort of nervous and muddled when they meet the Emersons, who challenge social conventions.
And I think the scene in the violet field is one of the great romant...more I really liked this book. He does a good job of describing these British high society characters that can be really uptight and close-minded despite the fact that they travel extensively. I also like how the subtle similarities between Charlotte Barlett and her cousin, Lucy Honeychurch, come out as the novel progresses. They both get sort of nervous and muddled when they meet the Emersons, who challenge social conventions.
And I think the scene in the violet field is one of the great romantic scenes of British lit. It makes me want to go to Italy.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kimley
E. M. Forster's "A Room with a View" can certainly be taken as little else than a charming and amusing Eduardian love story. But to do so is to belittle the true grace and beauty of this stunning piece of literature. Like so many of Forster's works (indeed, like so many of his contemporaries), "A Room with a View" is about grappling with the infinite in a world so seemingly, "flat, stale and unprofitable." Through the medium of a story, Forster brings to light the heroine's own internal struggle from childishness, to mindless conformity ("the ranks of the benighted"), to a sort of "awakening." In short, Lucy Honeychurch's own journey is parallel to the historical changes in mindset that have formed our modern restless society. The book is rife with meaning and symbol, found in action as well as chapter titles. The language is beautiful, the characters charmingly (and sometimes sardonically) drawn, and the sense of place outstanding. "A Room with a View" is an excellent starting place for those interested in reading the works of Forster, both because of its brevity and also because of its historical youthfulness (his first novel). Although I felt the ending lacked in explanatory action, and I was not wholly satisfied with its philosophical conclusion, "A Room with a View" is doubtless an excellent piece of literature that works on several levels. Lovers and scholars of the various liberal arts would do very well to read this, as well as lovers of Eduardian and modern British novels.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
l abdulaziz
In my opinion, Forster was one of the most gifted English writers of his time. He produced wonderful sentences with the perfect word mix - a wordsmith almost of Shakespeare's quality. In his famous 'Room with a View' we begin at an English Guest house in Florenece, Italy. Lucy and her cousin Charlotte are amongst the guests, and are given a room with a view by the spontaneous Emmersons, George and his father. Lucy is the central character, and will soon witness a murder; after which, she is immediately comforted by George Emmerson who later kisses her on an outing in the hills. The story then relocates to England and the Emmersoms have taken residence near her home....

Not only a superb love story, but a first rate satire along the lines of Austen (some will say better?).

A novel thoroughly enjoyable from the first page to the last. It's heart-warming, a love story, and very funny. It completely charmed me.

If you have never read this charming book, now is the time, it's one of those books we MUST read sometime, so why not treat yourself today?
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
nicole whitney
Forster's turn-of-the-century novel about British snobbery opens in the Renaissance mecca of Florence, Italy, where middle-class tourists clash with both passionate natives and judgmental expatriots. Chaperoned by her prim cousin Charlotte, young Lucy Honeychurch finds herself closely guarded and overprotected in what should be an Italian paradise. Struggling to be reborn
--as a living and compassionate being--she is shocked at the rituals of propriety daily served before her naive eyes. Whom to cultivate, whom to snub, what is and is not appropriate behavior vie for dominance in her gentle soul, as she is obliged to surrender her neophyte will to please demanding elders.
Much worse still Lucy is not permitted--nor does she permit herself--to explore the forbidden territories of her own heart. The examples of unrestrained natives and a bold kiss among the violet-covered hills of Fiesole result in their precipitous departure for Rome, but continue to haunt her memory for a year. The Emersons (father and son) prove new inpsiration in Lucy's circumscribed social milieu. Against her better judgment she is charmed by their disingenuous manners and the expression of frank feelings. Inspite of her inflexible upbringing, her mind is fascinated, even if her heart does not feel attached, by the father's unselfish kindness and the son's eager grasp of life. Their unusual philosophies and behavior throw fresh air into the drafty corridors of contstraint in which she has been reared.
It all starts with the Emersons' courteous offer to exchange their own rooms in the pensione, so that the ladies might enjoy a room with a View of glorious Florence. It takes Lucy one year to realize that her own life has needed a clear view, which she can only obtain through George Emerson. Even
back in England the Emersons inadvertantly displace two elderly ladies as tenants when they rent a villa near Lucy's home. How did poor Lucy ever come to be engaged to a boor like Cecil, with his limited world view of masculine control and maternal domination? Lucy can not imagine him unless he is inside a room, without a view, while he rightly considers her a living view of the world. Lucy is dishonest in denying her growing attraction to George; both of them individually plan to flee the anguish of frustred, forbidden proximity. Then there is the ubiquitous poor relation, Charlotte, meddling, bungling, misunderstanding and misdirecting Lucy's little life--Despite the best intentions. Will Lucy realize her error before it is too late? A quiet, insightful read which will charm students of Edwardian England and the human heart.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
g l ah has
British writer Forster writes a romantic love story which takes place in England at the turn of the century. Young Lucy, is engaged to Cecil, a man of her class and social level. However, her views of the world changes drastically when she takes a trip to Florence, Italy and meets George.
George and his father are rumored to be socialists and free thinkers. They quickly prove they have a tongue. George and Lucy have many interactions. First, they exchange rooms on account that Lucy's view is not what she wanted. He also helps her home after Lucy sees a bloody fight in the town's square. They also take an excursion to see a beautiful valley, where George makes his intentions known that he appreciates Lucy.
When Lucy returns to England, George once again is put in her midst. With George's influence, Lucy begins to see that Cecil is stifling her. Challenging her Victorian principles, she must decide between the free willed George or the controlling Cecil.
I enjoyed the book a great deal. It reminded me of a British version of a Sinclair Lewis novel where Lucy must challenge her societal roles. There is also a hint of women's liberation in the book as well. The idea is similar to Lewis's "Main Street". However, I did find the book challenging to read; I am not a big reader of British literature and I found the wording a little clumsy and hard to follow. None the less, it was a good read and the ideas that Forster conveyed make this one a classic piece of British literature.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
cyrel
I'm embarrassed to say that I had avoided Forster's work because I had wrongly assumed that, given the time in which he was writing (early 20th century), his fiction would surely be stuffy, dry and dull. I was completely wrong. In fact, this short novel's charm stems from it's casual, leisurely pace and the surprisingly winning chances it takes in terms of style (the chapter titles, Forster's penchant to pause the action and speak directly to the reader).
Others have noted disatisfaction with the ending. I partially agree. I think the conclusion does wrap up things a little too neatly. But since this is an early Forster effort, it's understandable that he hadn't quite discovered how to end a novel with a bit more complexity. On the other hand, I cannot help but read A Room With a View through the lens of the classical definition of Comedy (which is the antithesis of Tragedy) where we are given a situation that begins with harmony/order and slowly slips in to crisis/chaos, only to surface in again, in the end, in a state of general cheer. And if one compares A Room With a View to, say, the Comedies of Shakespeare (Much Ado About Nothing, for instance), I think that Forster was very much trying his hand at novelistic Comedy: the foreign setting, a quirky cast of loveable (yet somewhat typecast) characters, chapters that function as Acts, and a somewhat formulaic (yet Classical) plot structure. I heartily recommend this slim wonderful novel.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
theemma
Since this book was from a well known author (but this is the first of his I have read) I guess I expected more To me the plot was a little "fuzzy". There were too many references to things I didn't know about, even though consider myself to be fairly well read. For me a good author will get me into the mind of at least one character and that didn't happen with me. I just discovered the 1986version of the movie. Maybe I will enjoy that more. I'm sure the Italian scenery will be better than the lackluster descriptions in the book
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
renae
This is one of those rare books made into a film, where the film actually does justice to the story. It is almost as good as the book.. almost. Which means it is a very very fine movie, in my opinion the finest thing that Merchant Ivory ever did.

I first read A Room with a View ten years ago when I was hitch hiking across England for the first time. I spent a week there, on 100$, walking and hitching throughout the night, sleeping in parks and fields during the day, waking up periodically to read snatches of the book. It was the perfect traveling companion for that adventure.

I fell in love with Lucy (the heroine of the story) - she is hard to describe, a sort of expressive cipher - on the surface she is a somewhat callow, bored teen aged girl.. But as Mr. Beebe the perceptive Parson immediately notices, there is something extraordinary about Miss Honeychurch... There's hidden passion there. And EM Forster is the master at presenting her to us, along with the rest of his subtly drawn cast of characters.

Forster thought her intriguing, himself. Forster was a lifelong bachelor, and a closeted homosexual. He usually treats his female characters with a certain dispassionate distance. But Lucy was his favorite of them all, and she stayed with him. In fact, he wrote a short story detailing her later life after the end of the novel.**

So, this story, like everything Forster wrote is a comedy of manners focusing on the mores of the early twentieth century English middle class, highlighted against a foreign background. It is witty, philosophically interesting, and rife with good companionship. These characters will inhabit your imagination.

If you like Jane Austen, George Eliot, or even stuff like Evylyn Waugh or Oscar Wilde, you will probably enjoy this book.

[**The four page sequel is titled "A View without a Room," and it was published in 1958 in a private edition, which is now very hard to find. It was reprinted though, in the Penguin Modern Classics edition of a "Room with a View," which is where I read it.

The text can also apparently be found in the New York Times Book Review of 27th July 1958.]
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lisa rapaport
It's hard to know which to praise more, E. M. Forester's witty comedy of manners, or Joanna David's nuanced and entertaining reading of the book. Clearly, the combination of the two is that rare marriage of great writing brought to life by a talented actress. If you only listen to one audio CD this year, you would do well to make it this one.

Forester writes about an England that is long gone . . . but not forgotten. The middle class has its wits and its respectability to defend itself from the vagaries of a challenging world. Naturally, the middle class prefers its own company and so-called manners are merely an excuse to keep everyone else at bay. The absurdity of this way of living is highlighted when Forester takes a young Englishwoman, Lucy Honeychurch (don't you love that name?), off for a trip to Florence in the company of her maiden cousin, Charlotte, who also serves as chaperone.

A variety of English tourists are gathered in a small Italian pensione in Florence when Lucy and Charlotte arrive. Both women had asked for and been promised rooms with a view. Upon arrival, they got just the opposite. Complaining over dinner about this, two men, a father and his son, immediately offer to exchange rooms. This offer breaks most rules of good manners at the time, and the women turn down the kind, well-intentioned offer. Thus far can manners cause one to go against one's best interests. During their time in Florence, the women find themselves confounded and redirected by the honest helpfulness of the Emerson men. But the familiarity raises dangerous challenges for Lucy, and she flees their company.

The rest of the story looks at the consequences of the flight and focuses on Lucy's attempts to find a way of life that makes sense for her . . . rather than being a slave to social convention.

Describing the story's plot doesn't do justice to the witty satires and ironic comments about the pompously respectable. It's a delicious romp, and Ms. David makes it all the more so.

If you are like me, you'll find yourself racing to the end to find out what Lucy does with herself.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
angie kinghorn
I decided to read this book for the wrong reasons (our upcoming trip to Italy and my incessant need to immerse myself in all things Italian) but by the time I'd finished reading the first page, marveling at the beauty of Forster's writing, I knew I'd found a new addition to my list of Books You Must Read.

Our main character, Lucy Honeychurch (what a great name!) is off to Italy with a relative. She meets a man, George Emerson, who startles her, frightens her, with his intensity, and she bolts back to her secure home in England and quickly becomes engaged to a comfortable man. But it is too late for comfort, and when she finds herself unexpectedly meeting up with George again, Lucy must choose between a life and a semblance of a life.

Beautiful writing. You will love this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
hien xuan ngo
Concerning Lucy's passionate playing of Beethoven upon the piano, the Rev. Mr. Beebe once said, "If Miss Honeychurch ever takes to live as she plays, it will be very exciting--both for us and for her." At the time of the remark, Lucy is a very conventional young woman, with perhaps occasional rebellious thoughts. The Emersons, father and son, are somehow not quite acceptable in her social circle, and though George is so bold as to kiss her impulsively, she is determined to forget him. Instead she finally gives in to the repeated proposals of Cecil Vyse, a thoroughly fashionable young gentleman, if not very exciting. So the stage is set for this splendid satire on the English social strata of the early part of the 20th century, a time when the formal structure of the Victorian era was beginning to fray at the edges. Vyse is a delightfully drawn male chauvinist prig; nobody likes him, but everyone is willing to accept him, and Lucy convinces herself that she is in love with him. However, Vyse's own penchant for getting his way by playing rather cruel practical jokes brings the Emersons back into the picture. Confronted by the contrast between the not quite classy but intelligent, thoughtful (and bold) George Emerson and the arrogant, boorish, but elite Cecil Vyse, Lucy finally decides to live as she plays Beethoven, with exciting results. This early work of Forster's is a pure delight, with a light and well-controlled tone throughout. Although there would be a danger of stereotyping to illustrate the different social classes, Forster skillfully makes the characters well rounded and unpredictable, as in the scene when Lucy breaks her engagement to Vyse, expecting his feelings of masculine superiority to precipitate an argument, but instead being somewhat dismayed when he behaves as a perfect gentleman. Although HOWARDS END is usually rated above A ROOM WITH A VIEW, I prefer this slighter, but consummately well-done, novel.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
samta menghrajani
This elegant little novel totally swept me away. It is so perfect from any angle I look at it. I know that this will be one of those novels I will always keep in a prominent place on my bookshelf and return to my whole life.
This exquisite novel primarily concerns Lucy Honeychurch. The novel begins with Lucy on a trip in Italy. She is accompanied there mainly by members of her own society, the upper class of England among which she has been raised. While in Italy, though, Lucy is confronted by the Italian society where she notices the classes seem to mix easily. She is also confronted with George Emerson. George is simple, direct, and of a lower class, and he is having existential worries. Despite themselves (or their pasts), the two begin to fall in love with one another, and their experiences eventually lead to their realizations of what their hearts really desire.
As it is with all of my favorite novels, I really cannot do A Room With a View justice with this review. This is a truly lovely book. The prose and the pace is perfect. There are so many sentences which are just perfect little gems by themselves. The characterizations are complex. The plot is romantic and funny. The thought behind the novel is meaningful and life affirming. There's not much more that any novel can do. A Room With a View is perfection.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
leyla
Forster's indicment of Victorian England is not as enjoyable as Howard's End or A Passage to India. However his direct style and story telling ability is still preferrrable to some of his British contemporaries.
The story centers around that of the ruling gentry and their contempt for anyone a little different from themslves. Interestingly enough Forster's most booring characters seem to be the Anglican clerics who are more interested in gossip and self importance that serving their constituents.
The novel begins in Florence admidst the many treasures that adorn that City and concludes in the beautiful English countryside. The hero, Lucy, is embarrassed by her own attraction to the Emersons's, Father and Son, who are clearly not of her class. She is encouraged by her stuufy cousin and a couple of old maids who are staying at the same hotel to avoid the Emersons. Mr. Emerson is a true romantic and his style is much to direct for their comfort and his quiet son George is much too gloomy.
Lucy is so taken off balance by young George Emerson that she cuts short her stay in Florence and flees to Rome and then home. At home she becomes engaged to a dull and pretentious man who her Mother and brother dislike.
By coincidence the Emerson's let a house from Lucy's fiance and Lucy is confronted with George. Through a series of events,Lucy finally comes to grips with the feelings she has fought so hard to repress.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
crystal carpenter
In Forster's A Room with a View, sheltered young Lucy Honeychurch (what a name!), traveling abroad with her spinster aunt, happens to meet George Emerson and his doting father. Lucy is not quite sure what to make of the pair, as they seem kind enough but are unpolished in their manners and way of thinking. One morning, during a day trip to the mountains, George comes upon Lucy amidst a field of violets and impulsively kisses her.

This indescretion is hurriedly hushed up, and Lucy returns to her home in England. There, she becomes engaged to a respectable young man, a good match by all social accounts, but with whom she has very little in common. Who should happen upon the scene but George Emerson? Lucy finds herself conflicted and confused, unsure of whether to make the socially advantageous match expected by her friends and family or to make a break with convention and think for herself a bit.

While this novel starts out VERY slowly, it picks up speed as one goes along, providing a very satisfying ending. Lucy is so intolerable at the beginning of the book that it is difficult to keep reading, but, thankfully, as she becomes more in command of her own thoughts, she is much easier to relate to. (I find this often with female characters in "classic" literature. It is all one can do to keep from shaking them by the shoulders sometimes. I understand that women were more repressed - oppressed?- when these stories were written, but it can be awfully trying for a modern woman to read such characters. In that respect, reading contemporary novels is sometimes easier.)

I also found the novel's debate about expatriates/natives versus tourists interesting, as the same arguments are traded around travel circles today - i.e. the "ugly American," those who are inseparable from their guidebooks, etc. It's funny to see that people's views on such a subject have really changed very little in the past 100 years!

Though some of this novel is set in Italy, do not expect much of the rich, atmospheric descriptive passages one would hope to find in a contemporary novel of this sort. During the primary character's time there, she is still very much mentally confined, and because we are seeing things through her vision, the novel is more concerned that she see the "right" paintings and statues so that she can say she's seen them. Eeesh.

At any rate, this book is certainly worth reading. I found it to be a pointed social comment on the mores of of the time.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
clarence
I really didn't know what to expect--would this be a character story, a philosophical one, a romance? It ended up being a lovely mix of all three. The story centers around Lucy, a young woman who realizes, for the first time, that she has ideas of her own. In other words, it's about Lucy learning how to make decisions for herself, and learning what she truly wants out of life.
The book is full of delightful characters and beautiful passages. Yet, Forster isn't above seeing the humor in life, and many characters are quite amusing, and the chapter with the pond is probably one of my favorites!
I was surprised, a little, by the ending, but in looking back I can see where it fits. I'd like to read it again, knowing where the book is headed, because I think there's so much more there that I didn't grasp the first read through.
In all, it's easy to see why this is a classic!:D I think it's totally deserving of that status.:)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
amber enzen
I have re-read this book every couple of years for well over a decade now. Indeed, it does take some work to understand the cultural politics of early 20th century Britain, but it's so worth the effort. Forster's writing crackles with wit all of these years later. Honestly, I've always loved this book because it's a quick read and it's such a delightful little costume drama. Locations and characters are carefully developed and doted upon because the story keeps such a tight focus on Lucy, and the narrative never goes to melodrama. Yes, Merchant and Ivory made an excellent and faithful adaptation of a movie, but what it misses is Forster's omniscient point of view. Only in the book do you get the full insight into the inner mechanics of the characters.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
anacristina silva
Maybe it was the timing. I read this during a period when I was reading a lot of tragic Chinese novels (are there any other kind?). Thus, the airy plot and the indulgent and at times wink-wink-clever prose detailing a superficial aristocratic love story were too sharp of a contrast to the miseries of Mao’s China. Or maybe it was the familiarity this continuously echoed with one of my favorite novels, Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence. Both deal with romance amidst the crushing mores of social repression, albeit Innocence is much more honest, perhaps read: bleak, which suits me better. Whatever the reason, A Room with a View left me disappointed.

The plot, as it were, is fairly transparent from the get-go, an issue that puts a great deal of pressure on the author to keep the reader engaged despite the lack of dramatic tension. Until the splendid denouement, however, I labored to get through each indulgent chapter. Lucy’s slow but steady maturation and burgeoning self-awareness are handled with a considerable dose of condescension from Forster. While Wharton does the same with Newland Archer, hers rings more of pragmatic wisdom than Forster’s smirking jaundice. The author treats Lucy as a simple child (like May Welland in TAOI) who merely stumbles into self-discovery rather than fights her way there. In other words, Lucy comes across her newfound sensibilities cheaply, a somewhat safe and facile method to me.

In the end, perhaps I’m being too harsh. This was a nice summer read and Forster’s writing style is intelligent and even profound at times. Furthermore, the last few chapters made me wish I’d come to them faster and avoided the underwhelming bulid-up. Yet, my final takeaway is that ARWAV is essentially a romance novel, albeit a well-written one wrapped up in tepid social criticism, which renders my opinion equally lukewarm.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
seth k
I first read A ROOM WITH A VIEW when I was young and I enjoyed tremendously. After reading it again recently, all the subtle humor and irony behind what seems to be just a simple love story was still there.
This is one of English literature's lost work. The subtle love that George first expresses towards Lucy after holding her head in his lap after she faints was powerful. All he did was hold her, but the strong and foreign love he has for her can be felt.
When they go out to the country with a few other friends, you can feel how nervous George was, not even talking to anyone and just fidgiting, avoiding Lucy's brillant eyes.
The story then climaxes when he just strolls up to Lucy in a field of tall weeds and kisses her. It then goes on to become steamy when he kisses her the moment after her fiance goes off to find his hat.
Forster recognizes that true love takes time to develop and that lovers dont always say or do the right thing.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
carrie o dell
I first read A ROOM WITH A VIEW when I was young and I enjoyed tremendously. After reading it again recently, all the subtle humor and irony behind what seems to be just a simple love story was still there.
This is one of English literature's lost work. The subtle love that George first expresses towards Lucy after holding her head in his lap after she faints was powerful. All he did was hold her, but the strong and foreign love he has for her can be felt.
When they go out to the country with a few other friends, you can feel how nervous George was, not even talking to anyone and just fidgiting, avoiding Lucy's brillant eyes.
The story then climaxes when he just strolls up to Lucy in a field of tall weeds and kisses her. It then goes on to become steamy when he kisses her the moment after her fiance goes off to find his hat.
Forster recognizes that true love takes time to develop and that lovers dont always say or do the right thing.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
meg trucano
This book is based on the metaphor or allegory, whatever it is, of the room and its view. The story starts with a couple of English travellers have a muddle over booking a room with a view. A room represents the soul and the view is a perspective or the social political view point of a group. Lucy the protagonist is coming of age and wants her own room with a view. As the story progresses she decides not to follow her birth right, figured in the house called Windy Corner that has a view in Surrey, but almost decides to become like Ms Alans; a new women.

The other major allegory is England and Italy. England figures Victorian prudence, stoic and moral. Italy is romantic, the place where poets such as Shelley frequent, and is about passion and art. These two philosophies compete for the room i.e. soul of Lucy.

Various characters represent humanist philosophy, old religion, and the status quo. These allegories and metaphors are shored up with frequent references to the classic gods. What will ever become of Lucy? The kiss is a poignant symbol and George kisses Lucy in Italy the place of passion and again in prudent England.

This book is subtle and there is allot in the quite nuances. At one point the narration voice speaks to the reader to point out a very subtle hint. I suppose there might even be double entendre common to the petite bourgeois of that class in those days.

Forrester builds a plot about a person of status leaving it to become a new woman; a suffragette and a working girl. This is integral to the authors view point as a member of the Bloomsbury Sect; he is writing a story about the change of society; an end to the Victorian age. But the author himself said that he struggled with the ending and decided to go with a happy ending. I personally found this book an effort to keep attentive. Some might like this book for the romance and others for the literature.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mallory
I don't think I've read anything so simple, yet complex. I could feel the author's own wrestling with the concept of immortal and soul love, and he so beautifully conveyed it this book. I've reread it twice, and keep finding little gems of beauty hidden in the lines. George and Lucy's need to be with each other to keep them away from the darkness in themselves is extremely powerful. In their merging, at the end, only then did they feel a sense of completeness and wholeness. Their obstacles in getting there were amusing and cathartic all at the same time. From the moment that Lucy witnessed the death of the Italian, life wasn't the same; the death signified a death within herself, and only through a love as deep as she had for George would she be able to understand the concept that love and death are very close together in feeling - the type of love that comes but once in a lifetime. A powerful book, masked as a light satiric period piece. Read it again and again to see all the layers of emotion!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
wes goertzen
What a relief! This was a short, simple, easy read that I truly enjoyed. The young and beautiful Miss Lucy Honeychurch, accompanied by her dear older friend Miss Bartlett, is first introduced to the reader in Florence, just arrived at the pension they will be staying at during the course of their holiday in Italy. The ladies are vexed to find that they have not received rooms with the views they wished for; overhearing them, an elderly man and his son offer to trade rooms with them, for they have rooms with perfect views; and hence the title of the book.
This is when Lucy first meets George Emerson, an attractive, if not unconventional, young Englishman. Lucy encounters him again when she witnesses a public murder in the streets, and George attends to her after she faints. This is when his passion for her is first ignited. This inward flame is only stoked more when he and his father are accidentally invited on a daily outing with Lucy and her friends, and George sees Lucy alone in a field full of flowers, beautiful and surrounded by beauty. He cannot help but kiss her, which is entirely un-gentleman-like. Miss Bartlett witnesses George's display of affection, and decides that to keep her young companion's innocence safe from George's intentions, the two of them must leave immediately for Rome, without so much as a goodbye to George or his father, and stay with some family friends, the Vyses.

The story opens up again in a quiet, small neighborhood in the country, with Miss Lucy Honeychurch engaged to Cecil Vyse, whom she became better acquainted with in Rome. Then, by mere coincidence--or is it fate?--George Emerson and his father, whom Lucy never expected to see again, reenter into her life, and complicate things. Should Lucy flout convention and follow her heart, which is leading her to George, or will she remain with Cecil, the safe and respectable choice, who she knows can never make her truly happy?

Find out for yourself! Forster does a great job of painting with certain clarity and humor the scenes and characters of this story. This classic is a breath of fresh air, and I'm sure that even if you aren't a huge fan of British Literature, you will love it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jenifer cost
The backbone of this album is Puccini's are O Mio Babbino Caro, whose melody serves as the main theme for the film. We hear it on this disc both in original form, with Kiri Te Kanawa singing, and in purely orchestral guise. Take away that theme and a good deal of the air has been knocked out of the album, but what remains is decidedly above average and deserving of attention -- composer Richard Robbins can't really compete with Puccini, but what he gives us is very atmospheric and nicely textured, and though each track has its distinctive character they all flow together well. Recommended.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
steven bass
i loved this book and have recommended it to everyone i know. forster captivates his reader by making them feel right there smack in the middle of the muddle between lucy and george. he carries out a kind of jane austen comic manner throughout the whole book, and you are just compelled to laughing. he describes his characters so meticulously, that you can just about relate each of them to a person in your own life. forster once said that he thought this novel was " slight, unambitious, and uninteresting " (gardner 403) but he was very mistaken. this novel is a light-hearted glimpse into the lives of the well refined english society and its unfortunate black sheeps. i especially enjoyed the way forster addressed the attraction between george and lucy, i've never read any book that has made me so thrilled at the end when the two lovers finally become one. of all forster's novels, i think this one is the funniest, most genuine, and heartwarming novel for any audience. i very highly recommend this novel
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
malika
In modern terms, E.M. Forster's "A Room with a View" is a romantic comedy, and as such, it follows the typical formula of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl. This basic plot is, of course, embellished with a lot of comical characters, exotic settings, and convenient misunderstandings, but none of this mollifies my opinion that the novel, although well-written, is not very interesting.
Two fussy English women, the nubile Lucy Honeychurch and her older cousin Charlotte Bartlett, are staying in a small hotel (a pension) in Florence, Italy. There they meet the Emersons, a father and son, who do not seem to have much money and are hinted to be "Socialists," which reflects a prejudice on the part of the allegers and doesn't even really mean anything within the novel's scope. Lucy has a brief romance with the son, George, even though she knows he is not quite suitable for her social status. A few other characters also are introduced in Florence, including two clergymen, Mr. Beebe and Mr. Eager, and a romance novelist named Miss Lavish.
The action shifts back to England, where we meet Lucy's doting mother and frivolous, immature brother Freddy, who could be a progenitor for P.G. Wodehouse's aristocratic loafers. Lucy is courted by a snobbish young man named Cecil Vyse whom she has known for a few years and accepts his proposal for marriage. Trouble arises when George Emerson and his father show up as tenants in a nearby cottage, and Lucy must decide whether she is going to submit to social convention and marry Cecil or follow her heart and go with George. Care to take a wild guess about the outcome?
Forster obviously intended this novel to be a comedy, but his humor is stilted and contrived. There are subtle jokes about English class distinction, blatantly symbolic surnames that sound like they came from the board game "Clue," juxtaposed sentences that purposely contradict each other for the sake of painfully overt irony, and satirical snippets that affect Oscar Wilde-style wittiness. The novel's humoristic tour de force is a scene in which Cecil remains oblivious to the fact that Lucy and George had a fling in Italy, even though he reads a direct account of it in a novel penned by Miss Lavish, who fortunately has disguised the names of her hero and heroine. Simply put, the book is as funny as burnt toast.
Colorful but predictable and simplistic, "A Room with a View" may have been an important Edwardian novel, but it seems innocuous compared to the hard realism and bold sexuality of D.H. Lawrence's imminent works. Even the author himself acknowledges the novel's fabrications when he allows Mr. Beebe to state, "It is odd how we of that Pension, who seemed such a fortuitous collection, have been working into one another's lives." Funny, I was thinking the same thing.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
phaedra
A timeless classic, written in 1908. All through this book, I saw the movie. How perfectly they matched! Dialogue was almost word for word. Much better match than "Howard's End", because that was a better book, with far more depth that couldn't translate to the screen. But this one did, and perfectly. Most of it lies on the casting. Whoever did that deserves most of the credit. How this book would read if I hadn't already known the outcome, I am curious to know, but I never shall, of course. Still an enjoyable read, especially being able to visualize all the characters. You can see the beginnings of all the wisdom that comes forth in "Howard's End" and culminates in "A Passage to India". This one is very romantic and Forster here first puts in his feelings about music, so vividly evoked in the first chapter of "Howard"s End".
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
radhi
A Room with a View is a spare and striking novel about a man and a woman and about class and societal expectations and pressures. Lucy and her cousin Charlotte are offered rooms with a view of Florence by a Mr. Emerson and his son, who are willing to exchange. The strict and pinched Miss Bartlett does not wish to have an obligation to the Emersons, who are deemed less than polite society will condone. Their rector, Mr. Beebe, tells them he believes the exchange is proper and the ladies get their view of Florence. It becomes clear that Lucy herself wants a view of LIFE and later confesses to her fiance, a priggy intellectual, that she imagines him always in a room with no windows, with no view. The novel's love story is compelling, but the secondary themes of class and society structures are equally strong, with the truly noble characters emerging in the end with great strength.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
gina h
I found this book as a young pre-teen. My mother handed me a dog-eared copy she had owned since her teens so I would leave her alone during a very long sea-side summer holiday. As a summer novel, it is still one of my favourites.
Despite what many of my fellow reviewers have said, I found the character development redeemed many of the characters you may not have liked too much in the beginning. Lucy's growth especially is quite real. Very much something we all end up having to go through in one respect or another as we try to survive our teens. Only her struggle is made all the more aggrivating by all the unwritten rules of Edwardian Society and the meddling relations and aquaintances Forster seems to find an evil glee in throwing in her path.
Lucy is a girl caught midway between the tantrums of childhood and expected decorum of adulthood. Through the novel she stumbles her way through all the pit-falls her station and ever-so-proper upbringing keep throwing in her way as she tries to deal with falling in love with a middle-class Bohemian [good heavens]. She starts very much as a young girl still learning the "right" and "wrong" way to do things and through the novel somehow find her way past all the expectations of her mother, her fiance, and society in general to become a woman who takes her fate into her own hands and dares to say "But I want THIS!"
It's the pitfalls and meddlings of the other characters that makes this story a treat. Everyone has an opinion and everyone gets in the way. Forster many times seems to be making fun of his characters, pointing our their absuridites with the turn of a phrase, but in the end it leaves you only with a feeling of affection for the whole lot of them.
The writing is many times very tongue in cheek and you can't help but smile at the way Forster turns a phase. The chapter names especially keep the tone of the novel light, even when things begin to look as though George and Lucy will never get together.
The copy that I read as a child also happened to contain a short article that Forster wrote many year after the fact as an Epilogue called "A View Without A Room" that let you know what he saw his characters doing with their lives over the next twenty years after the book ends. Its apparently rather rare, but I would recommend it as I would recommend this book as a whole. Still one of my favourite light summer reading novels despite having read it almost every summer for the last fifteen years.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
paula carter
I just re-read this classic as part of a E.M. Forster compilation that I was recently given. It is one of my favorites. It is probably a 4 1/2, maybe 5. In my mind, it will always be intertwined with images from the Merchant-Ivory film, probably because the movie version is so well done and true to the book. I think I am going to have to dust off the movie and watch it sometime in the near future.

I did enjoy this quote from the book: "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."
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
pushpender
We are spoiled by modern fiction. As great as the writing is, it is more straightforward and literal. Do you ever find yourself starting a classic and not finishing it??? You weren't getting into it immediately and lost interest. It can be the same with old movies. We watch through different eyes than the time when it was written or produced. My book club did this book this month. We all struggled. I chose this one because I wanted us to try a classic, but I wanted it to be short and pleasant. The "flow" started later, and it was more laboured to get there.It is so worth it to keep with it. It is not that we are not capable of understanding the language. We are so used to graphic, and explicit, and straightforward language. We need to train our brains, and it can take up to half the book to get to the point where you are really drawn in, forgetting to concentrate and just enjoying the ride.This is truly a lovely story. I love Florence. It is a timeless city that infects you body and soul. So will this book if you let it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lindyloumac
I LOVE this novel and the Merchant Ivory film of the same name, which I would give 10 stars! The film, by the way, is very faithful to the book. Anyway, I was extremely delighted by this story when I first read it long ago after seeing the film, and my impression of it has not changed with time. This is a parody of prim and proper English society, something the author E. M. Forster specialized in. For a novel written in 1907, this is an extremely easy read, nothing like a Henry James novel.
The plot concerns a young woman named Lucy who goes to Italy on holiday chaperoned by her older spinster cousin, Charlotte. Lucy meets a handsome young guy named George, but he seems a bit odd and eccentric, and she doesn't quite know what to think of him. He takes her by surprise by walking up to her and kissing her in a secluded open field. Charlotte happens to see this and is determined not to let it go any further. You see, Lucy is already engaged to a snobby twit named Sistel back in England! But in the end, Lucy follows her heart.
Ah man, I just love this story. See the movie and then read the book.
David Rehak
author of "A Young Girl's Crimes"
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
menorah
This short novel by Forster exposes the confusion (or what some might term 'hypocrisy') of Victorian society in turn-of-the century England.
The story displays countless instances of the oppressive strictures of Victorian society. Lucia's companion becomes flustered when offered the kindness of a better room (with a view)- as the offer comes from persons of a lower caste. This offer is met not with gratitude, but with befuddlement (what is one to do in this situation?), and Miss Bartlett (?) affects indignation, recognizing this to be the proper 'feeling' when put upon by the presumptuous lower bourgeoisie. Further offense is given by Mr. Vyse's practical joke: the letting of a property to a lower class of people amidst the elite. Adn the most tragic bewilderment is Lucia's refusal to recognize her love for George: this sentiment being improper, she laboriously attempts to come up with another name for this sentiment, or to identify and name a passion that a lower caste could properly induce in her. The roles that the charcters force themselves into are humorous at times; and the temper of the times induces more pity than outrage.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
heather rowland
I have long been a fan of Jane Austen and have become so spoiled by her wonderful writing and complex yet perfect sentences that I seldom find anything enjoyable by comparison. However, "A Room with a View" was one of the most wonderful non-Austen books I have ever read. I laughed out loud many times at the way Forster worded things, especially the chapter titles (eg. "How Ms. Bartlett's Boiler was so Tiresome"). At the beginning, he seemed to be making fun of his characters - at their simple-mindedness and lack of depth - but then he commenced to transform them (mainly Lucy) and make them into wonderfully admirable people. It seemed that justice was served to Cecil when he served as the means through which Lucy and George were finally united. I enjoyed every minute of this book but would recommend it only to those who would appreciate it and who would be reading it by choice.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
jan jacob mekes
I didn't like this book. Short, written as gorgeously as anything else Forster wrote, there just isn't anything worthwhile going on.
A comedy only because you laugh at how annoying everyone is, the story verges on outrage because nobody seems to matter. Oh, sure, they care desperately about everyone and everything they're supposed to be involved with, but the characters are pompous, the resolutions are forced or indifferent, and I can't say I recall much of anything that actually happened shortly after completing the text.
Another thing to draw it down is the fact that I tended to think of other things while still reading this book. Not while it was set aside, waiting to be vaguely experienced, but while it was in front of my eyes going on.
In spite of all this, three stars is accurate because sometimes Forster comes up with an accute anatomization of why these people act this way. A stirring, psychological portrait of people I couldn't care less about.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lisa maloney
A ROOM WITH A VIEW depicts a young Englishwoman's adventure trying to come to grips with the conflict between her desires and society's expectations. Lucy Honeychurch is a well-bred young middle class girl on holiday in radiant Florence. She comes from a family overconcerned with respectability and is therefore overprotected by a dessicated spinster named Charlotte Bartlett. One wonders if Forster had in mind a more famous Charlotte B. when he drew Lucy's protector, a woman "much discomfited by [any] unpleasant scene[s]." Forster playfully tosses barbs at this don't-let-the-servants-hear-you world the English try to maintain on foreign soil. Less playful with sanctimonious Puritans or hypocritical clergymen, Forster lets them foil themselves.
Under no circumstances will Miss Bartlett allow Lucy to pursue (or even examine) her affection for the handsome young George Emerson--his father is far too unconventional with his modern notions about honesty and freethinking. Duty must reign . . . mustn't it? Ah, that wild transitional phase between the late-Victorians and the early-Moderns!
Forster writes gently and calmly, but with a passion for life and love welling up beneath the surface. A ROOM WITH A VIEW is a lovely book, vital with the force of a sensitive and empathetic mind. There's even more to this book than it seems--highly recommended!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
katie collins
Charlotte Bartlett and Lucy Honeychurch feel their accomodations in Florence are such that they may as well be in England. Part of Charlotte's traveling expenses are being paid by Lucy's mother. George Emerson and Mr. Emerson are willing to change their rooms at the Pension Bertolini so that Lucy and Charlotte will have a better view.

On the following day when Lucy's sightseeing companion departs and takes the Baedeker with her Lucy joins forces with Mr. Emerson and George. They lead her to the Giotto at Santa Croce. On a rainy day Lucy plays the piano at the pension. George and his father don't fit in with others at the pension. In true English fashion this is a matter of class. Lucy finds her cousin and chaperone, Charlotte, tiresome.

The scene shfits to England. The travelers have returned. Lucy's mother likes Lucy's suitor Cecil because she knows his mother. Cecil is self-conscious, ascetic. He became interested in Lucy when he encountered her in Rome. Lucy is not given to criticizing people, but Cecil is. Lucy and her family have been surrounded by the best people at their home, Windy Corner. Mr. Honeychurch, a barrister or solicitor, had settled in the neighborhood before it had many houses in it.

A local clergyman knows that Cecil Vyse likes thwarting people. Mr. Emerson and his son are to take a house near Windy Corner pursuant to Cecil's machinations to play a joke on someone. Charlotee has made a promise to Lucy she breaks, freeing Lucy to seek her true interests in her relationship with others. Speaking to George causes Lucy to dismiss Cecil as her suitor, and speaking to Mr. Emerson causes Lucy to follow her true bent to achieve happiness.

E.M. Forster is one of the masters of the English novel. He follows the genius of the master novelist of the previous century, Jane Austen.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
gavin
Having greatly enjoyed A Passage to India, I was expecting another quality effort from Mr. Forster, and was not disappointed. I found this book a fine mix of period portrayal and timeless observation (a characteristic, I suppose, of all good art), and after finishing it, one of my biggest reactions was to be grateful that I wasn't living in the choking society of Victorian England. The acuteness of the author's evaluation of human relationships reminded me his literary forebear, Jane Austen, yet with a keener, more biting edge. Our contemporary culture surely has its problems, but A Room with a View will give you perspective--with many artfully-turned phrases along the way.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jason shao
Often while traveling, I'll get a sudden hankering to traipse through this delightful novel again. As a result, there are by now maybe four or five different editions scattered throughout the landfill that is my domicile.

The Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics edition is by far the best one I know of. You're certainly on the right page. (The "Dover Thrift Edition" stinks.)

It has an introduction by Malcolm Bradbury that is nothing short of marvelous (what would you expect?). He also did the footnotes, which are chocked with insight.

This is one of those slightly oversized paperbacks, as I suspect all the offerings in Penguin's "Twentieth-Century Classics" line are. It's a thin volume, though.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
jesus nieves
A young Victorian Englishwoman visits Italy, and the memories affect her life after she returns to England.

I picked this book up free from Gutenberg. Slow-moving coming-of-age story with frankly unbelievable characters acting in unbelievable ways. All the posturing and actions that didn't fit the characters left me cold. I finished the book and I'm not sure why - maybe I thought something would have to happen soon. It didn't. However, the Gutenberg edition includes the passages missing from the the store Kindle edition; other than some minor typos, the formatting was fine.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
joshbranco
Wonderful book, wonderful movie, wonderful book-on-tape.
This classic by E. M. Forster is full of wicked humor that punctures the 19th century English class system. Superb cameo pieces. The character development is subtle and sure, beginning with our heroine traveling to Italy with her maiden aunt as chaperone. There, in a pensione, she meets an iconoclastic father and son, honest, rough-hewn, plain-spoken, who insist upon trading rooms when they overhear the prim aunt complaining that she booked a room with a view. It, of course, becomes a metaphor for room to view life as a whole, without prejudice, in all its wonderful complexity.
Don't miss this excellent book by this excellent author. Then read all his others, if you haven't already done so.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
scott allen
I read a room with a view after seeing the merchant ivory film...and was slightly disappointed. The film was too vivid and the book...less so. But now, taking more time, the careful portraits of the supporting characters and the development of George as well as Lucy are so well done...it is breathtaking.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
onyeka
'Everyone' has seen the movie (possibly several times) and enjoyed the beauty of the Tuscan landscape. This is an extremely witty book that examines the social mores of the English villagers of their class and time. It's not actually a long way between this and Joanna Trollope. It's a type of literature the English have been doing superbly for, well, centuries. This is not a hard book to read. It has nicely observed things to say about class attitudes, but is not particularly profound or deep. Just enjoyable.
Younger readers might find it hard, especially if they have not had experience of the type of social structures and attitudes depicted. It will help you to understand about other places and times. All that is important for helping to understand where we are now.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tyjen
Written in 1908, it's like a time capsule waiting to be opened. It's before WWI so the cultural differences between Great Britain and "the Continent" are captured without the distortions of WWI. Highly recommended - but it is 1908" British English" and this might be a bother to some.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
david goldsmith
A Room With a View is a lovely novel, and this is a lovely little inexpensive paperback version. A love story set amidst "class issues," this story may seem slow to a reader who expects fireworks or major excitement, but if you allow the story and characters to unfold before you, you will be taken in and carried along for a delightful, romantic, charming tale. This book contains several of my favorite characters in all of British literature. So take a pleasant journey to Florence and on to Windy Corner, and I think you'll enjoy your trip.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nanjan1215
This book reminded me a lot of "Lady Chatterley's Lover" with a number of key differences:

1. This one was written 20 years earlier.
2. There is no sex - just two kisses on the cheek.
3. It's just so much better - the psychology of the characters is much more realistic, the conventions of society are satirized much more aptly. Furthermore, this book is very funny at the right places while still being morally serious. It is also kind to the characters (including the "bad" ones) showing them as people with failings and not as straw demons to be skewered in service of the author's philosophy.

So, if you like serious but enjoyable literature, go and read it.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
hoang
Forster challenges British rules of propriety, contrasting them with the vivacious mentality of the Italians. If it hadn't taken Lucy Honeychurch such a long time to realize what she wants, I would have given this pleasant book 4 stars. Alas, I yelled at her in my head a few times, begging her to see what's so plainly in front of her, but she couldn't see it for herself. She had to have someone else open her eyes for her. I still think the novel is worth reading, and it has some lovely, life-affirming quotes.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
susannah goldstein
One of Forster's earliest novels, Room with a View generally lacks the depth and literary importance that his later works justifiably claim. Nonetheless, it is astute, enjoyable, concise, and incredibly funny. A first reading isn't enough, really; I've read through the novel several times, and each time I find a new level of meaning, a new, ever more subtle layer of humor or sadness or pathos. What seems on the surface to be merely a cute story of a delayed romance turns out to be, on further inspection, a witty and relevant critique of English society and latent Victorian values.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jack elder
This is by far the most beautiful story I have ever read. The first time I read this book it was not at all hard to get into the story, and I still enjoy reading it over and over again. I love in this novel how the different classes of society are portrayed. It conveys how differently each level of society thought and was looked at. This book was also a beautiful love story, that you can easily get caught up in to. At every perspective I view this novel as beautiful and lovely, this story is one that I will keep and read over and over again forever.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
andrew haskins
Old-as-time plot line (young woman growing up and going against convention) is livened somewhat by Forster's interesting heroine, Lucy. I found the ending a bit dissatisfying, perhaps because we don't get to see the reactions of Lucy's loved ones to her final choice. Although I haven't seen the movie, it is extremely easy to visualize a Merchant-Ivory type production from reading the book.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
daphne alina
I guess I am not a fan of Forster. I didn't too much care for "Where Angels Fear to Tread" and this second try was no better. He shoots for social commentary and hits it, obliquely, but his characters are flat and so not elicit sympathy. Worse, his Italy, so much a part of the book, is generic and without character.

It is not the sympathetic and even sappy story, or the stilted behavior of the English gentry I dislike. I am a fan of Austen and the Bronte's. I think that it is Forster's treatment of the material and characters.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
russell noble
On the surface, this is a nice bit of romantic fluff. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, she's in denial, she gets engaged to the wrong guy, conflict ensues, they finally happily ever after. But there's actually a surprising amount of substance underneath all that. From the quietness of his little love story, Forster brings forth some profound thoughts about life and love. Very enjoyable.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
vikkas sahay
This is the first E.M. Forester book I've read and it affected me greatly. When I write 'reviews', I don't mean to give a traditional book review, but to note how the book affected my real life.

This is how: One of the characters, Cecil, is a bit of a snob and looks down on the common homey interests of his betrothed's family. He is good with books,art, ideas and 'things', but when he interacts with real people, his personality 'kills' any chance of having an intimate relationship and thus, his life is one of ideas rather than people.

How fiction unwraps itself and reveals itself to be true! This was looking into a mirror for me. What my friends won't tell me, a good novel will! Doing well with "books, ideas and things" is not the epicenter of living, says Forester, but the nitty gritty give and take of affectionate living is where life's eruption takes place. Art and ideas and books, although glorious, arise from this center, not vice versa. First comes the flesh, then the idea.

Thus this 'old' book, written over 100 years ago, performs the magic of all good literature: it makes me act and think differently. I now, attempt to(!), treat the person who stands before me, not as an idea, but as another real, carbon-based life form!

"A Room With A View" tells the often told story of a young person learning to stand in her own place rather than where society demands she stand, yet Forester's characters are so complete that this old story is like a skeleton that is dressed up in finery and begins to walk! I fell in love with the characters and recognized myself in all of them; yes, even in the old biddy Charlotte, who, as it turns out, wasn't so old fashioned and possibly was the master puppeteer.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
behzad behroozan
A wonderful, perfect book by EM Forster, (Howards End) Howards End that is just a joy to read. A delightful and interesting story of love and romance, as well as social and human interest. Set in Italy and England, the different cultures, do different from the starched collar of the English, and the romantic easy going Italians.

Truly a delightful, joy to read, and a book that should be read at least twice over one's life!

Enjoy!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kelseigh coombs
I teach literature at the university level. I read E.M. Forster decades ago, and saw many of the films based on his books. (A Room with a View and Howard's End were excellent adaptations.) For some reason, after listening to a panel discussion on the radio about a new Forster biography, I decided to pick up a copy of A Room with A View. I found Forster's writing, in certain places, stiff and archaic (even when taking into account the time period), more so than (a much earlier) Austen's writing, perhaps because he is not quite as witty as she. However, the beauty and passion of the Lucy-George love story, and Forster's powerful philosophy of undying, truthful love that undergirds the story (primarily delivered in short speeches by the elder Mr. Emerson)overrides any twisted or cement-like sentences. Unlike some other readers, I felt terribly sad for and empathized with Cecil Vyse. I do not think he is a bad man; he is simply a different kind of man than George, and Forster makes a point of contrasting the two. However, another type of woman, not Lucy, might have found him quite fine. If you are a hopeless romantic, no matter your age, you will love this novel.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
becky janes
This is a charming novel, and absolutely necessary reading if you are going to, or have already been to, Florence. (Although don't expect Florence to be as charming as is laid out here. It's a grimy, gritty city now). Forster is a refreshing optimist, even though, "Our life may be just a tiny knot on a thread of endless string," as he says it, or words to that effect. Having said that, I'm going to commit sacrilege and say that the movie was better. But the book is certainly worth while, too.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jill schappe
I was greatly impressed by the grasp that this male author had on the sometimes vague nature of emotion - his understanding, especially of women and their emotions, may stem from the fact that his father died soon after he was born and he was raised by his mother and two other women. This book is amazing, not only for the statement that it makes about women and their changing role in society at the time, but for it's great insight into the important aspects of life. For example, (and this is a running theme throughout the book)in the words of a little old lady at the pension: " ...have you ever noticed that there are people who do things which are most indelicate, and yet at the same time - beautiful?" This philosophy of life highlights Forster's obvious favor of Lucy's brother Freddy and George Emerson - the silly ones who go for a romping swim in a pond - and makes plain his disfavor for Cecil Vyce, Lucy's stiff and condescending intended. This philosophy of life comes to full fruition when George kisses Lucy and even dares to kiss her again. By the rules of society, he is an indecent cad, but Forster would encourage us to find the beauty in it instead. Furthermore, this is not merely a story of a brainless girl who is tossed from an unfeeling fiance to an affectionate suitor. Rather, it is a story of a girl's realization of herself and her will. She triumphs as a thinking and feeling girl at the end and that's what makes the finale a sure victory for the author - he has not fallen into the usual trap of creating a two dimensional heroine.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
chris dartois
A Room with a View is a delightful novel by E.M. Forster. Is is a bit of a romance and was probably realistic fiction in the time period in which it was written. The main character is a young lady named Lucy. Lucy and her cousin Charlotte have traveled to Italy, and they meet a lot of interesting characters in their hotel. The Emersons are a middle-class father and son who offer to give up their rooms to the ladies because the rooms have wonderful views. Lucy learns a lot in Italy about herself and upon returning home becomes engaged to Cecil Vyse. The Emersons and Cecil have dramatic effects upon Lucy's life after she returns home. She discovers conflicting love within her life, and she learns that home is a lot less perfect than she had always pictured it to be. Lucy observes that ". . . even their church had lost its charm; and the thing one never talked about-religion-was fading like all other things." Lucy struggles to find out who she is, what she wants, and if the rules of society are to be followed in all aspects of her own life. Lucy finally discovers her beliefs and decides whether or not to follow the trends and manners of society.

I would rate this book relatively highly. It is only two hundred and thirty pages long, but the language is difficult. It is a good book because the reader can relate to the characters and because it is a romance, which most girls like to read. However, there is quite a bit of philosophy, which makes it hard to understand and it is written in the language style of the nineteenth century. I had to read some of the paragraphs multiple times to grasp their meaning. Wrestling with the language is a good vocabulary and thinking exercise, however. A Room with a View is a good novel to read, but the language makes it a lengthy and difficult book to understand.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
sara poarch
Contrary to one precis of EM Forster's classic, I found this story neither a '...brilliant social comedy...' nor '...a witty observation of the English middle classes...'In short I found it a disappointingly dreary love story and filled with characters none of whom, with the exception of George Emerson and his father, was particularly likeable. The author himself over-egged the pudding somewhat by inserting far too many personal observations,which bordered at times on pomposity, seemingly to try to point the reader in the direction he/she is meant to think. But amongst it there was a nugget of truth, which shone above all else - "Though you...never see him again, or forget his very name, (he) will work in your thoughts till you die. It isn't possible to love and to part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal." (p.223 Penguin Classics edition). For this alone, the trudge was worth it.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
mehmet s
Contrary to the back cover precis of EM Forster's classic, I found this story neither a '...brilliant social comedy...' nor '...a witty observation of the English middle classes...'In short I found it a disappointingly dreary love story and filled with characters none of whom, with the exception of George Emerson and his father, was particularly likeable. The author himself over-egged the pudding somewhat by inserting far too many personal observations,which bordered at times on pomposity, seemingly to try to point the reader in the direction he/she is meant to think. But amongst it there was a nugget of truth, which shone above all else, and really is the essence of the story - "Though you...never see him again, or forget his very name, (he) will work in your thoughts till you die. It isn't possible to love and to part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal." (p.223 Penguin Classics, London:2000). For this alone, the trudge was worth it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
bett
A Room with a View is a book of supreme beauty. Forster has matered the subtlety of the English language and conveys his understanding of aural appeal in every sentence. A Room with a View goes much further than merely examining the structure of life and social class in old England. Forster probes into the nature of human existence and human love. He ventures intrepidly into the realm of the unseen, and the spiritual. And, produces a book of the utmost lyrical continuity and depth.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
tamara fenton
A Room With A View is a novel not only about the journey to find true love, but also about the difficult decisions one is faced with when one must decide to either listen to the expectations of others, or their own heart. In this novel the main character, Lucy takes a trip to Italy with her cousin, and upon her arrival meets the Emerson's. Lucy belonging to the upper class of society thinks she could never have an attraction to someone of the lower class, like the Emerson's. Love was something Lucy was hoping to find in Italy, but as soon as she arrived back to her home in England she promptly became engaged to Cecil, a man of the same social class as her. Lucy soon realizes that she is not truly in love with Cecil, and discovers that she is in love with George Emerson. Everyone Lucy knows expects her to marry someone wealthy and proper, like Cecil, but instead of listening to what others expect of her, Lucy listens to her heart, and allows herself to be in love with George. Throughout Lucy's journey to find true love Forster conveys the message that others expectations cannot guide one to the path of love, only one's heart can. I recommend this book to anyone who struggles when faced with making the decision of following others expectations, or following their heart. This novel will teach its readers that what one truly desires is the only escape to genuine happiness.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
trey bean
A Room with a View is a wonderful, gossipy book that teaches more than one life essential moral. Lucy, a young woman who finds herself battling with society's expectations, teaches the reader many of these morals as she discovers them herself. Throughout the course of the book, Lucy strives to take a more independent path in which she can follow her heart with passion. The role of social classes is quite significant as it teaches one to not be judgmental or conformed to the rules of society. Forster does an excellent job developing his characters page by page. Miss Bartlett, Lucy's society-driven cousin, becomes Forster's most interesting and mysterious character by the end of the book. Both George and Mr. Emerson, a father and son first introduced in Italy who are of lower class, also become more deeply engaging characters as the book becomes more and more addicting. Part I of A Room with a View takes place in Italy where art, music, love, and society's expectations all emerge. After reaching Part II there was no putting down the book. I became enthralled in the gossip of love, truth, society, and morals. Lucy battles with the ideals she was brought up with and society's pressure as she strives for independence, passion, and true love. A Room with a View is the type of book that makes one feel good after reading it. This romantic book is full with gossip and morals that is sure to bring a smile to anyone's face and warm anyone's heart.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
maya mathias
My grandfather bought me this book for Christmas a year ago. At first I was just going to put it on my bookshelf and forget about it. My cousin encouraged me to read it, so I did. I've fallen in love with this book.
Lucy Honeychurch and Charlotte Bartlett are touring in Italy when they meet Mr. Emerson and George Emerson. Father and Son. The believe Mr. Emerson to be a bit un-orthodox and his son to be the same. After Lucy comes homes from Italy, she gets new neighbors. Mr. Emerson and his son.

It sounds a bit un-interesting but after a murder, a stolen kiss, a lost romance and getting lost, this book captivates you. 5 stars for this classic!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jess
I have never read anything by E.M. Forster, but I decided to give him a try and i am soooo glad that i did! A Room with a View is sweet, believable, and romantic. It's utterly charming, and doesn't take very much time to get into at all. Lucy is a believable herione, muddled by the conditions presented to her by the society of her time. I put off doing my biology project to read this book, and who knows what kind of grade i'll get on it when i turn it in tomorrow, but what the heck, it was worth it! (i hope)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
erin lee
This has always been one of my favourite novels, simply a joy to read. I've read all of Forster's books and in my opinion this is his best. Quite funny: who can't help but laugh at lines like: "Then never- never- never more shall Eleanor Lavish be a friend of mine." And the characters are priceless- Lucy, George, poor Cecil- and the entire theme is just so fresh... Wonderful novel.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
broc gailit
A Room with a View is a prominent novel about a man and a woman, class, and societal expectations and pressures. Lucy and her cousin Charlotte are offered rooms with a view of Florence, Italy by Mr. Emerson and his son, who are willing to exchange for them. The strict and drained Miss Bartlett does not wish to have an obligation to the Emersons, who are deemed less than polite society will condone. Their rector, Mr. Beebe, tells them he believes the exchange is proper and the ladies get their view of Florence. It becomes clear that Lucy herself wants a view of life and later confesses to her fiancé, a priggish intellectual, that she imagines him always in a room with no windows, with no view. The novel's love story is compelling, but the secondary themes of class and society structures are equally strong, with the truly noble characters emerging in the end with great strength.
A Room with a View has everything a reader could ask for. Not only does it contain a beautiful and romantic love story that will capture your heart, but it contains the most simplistic comic relief, that it forms the perfect balance. Just as the story starts to get involved in deep romance, Foster will roll in a statement that will lighten the whole picture, and leave the mind simply happy.
Foster writes in a way so calm and gentle that you want to fall in love with the book itself. He makes every word seem like it has such a great importance, that without it, the story will fall apart. One can tell this novel was written with a passion for life and love and with the force of a sensitive and empathetic mind.
However, this gentleness leads to an extremely slow moving plot that sometimes winds up dragging along the reader. At some points, I found myself getting swallowed by the words and not really fully digesting them the first time. The key to aptly appreciate this novel is to have patience, knowing that the conclusion is well worth pacing the plot.
Foster also created such a basic and easy plot that some chapters seemed to drag on until the idea was pulled through. Nevertheless, since there was not a complicated plot scheme to follow, the reader was able to concentrate on the language and characters illustrated in the novel. This way, it was also so easy to make yourself a character in the book and put your feet right in the room or scene to get the full effect of the atmosphere.
Another aspect that was interesting to follow along with is how the novel conveyed very differently each level of society was looked at and thought of. Even though these thoughts on society may not have been the primary theme, they were definitely prominent throughout the novel. The lesson that can be learned from this aspect of the novel is that the entrenched morals of society should be thrown away in favor of passion and the natural instinct.
The greatest fallback would have to be the British language used by Foster. I am not a big reader of British literature and I found the wording at little times to be a slight bit clumsy and awkward to follow. Although this stood in the way of the greater aspects of Foster's novel, it was definitely not a reason I would give for not recommending this astounding novel.
This would have to be one of the greatest novels I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Anyone who believes they have the patience to appreciate this accomplished writer's work, will be utterly satisfied. The book is at every facet entertaining, no matter what genre of novels you're partial to.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
chantale
A Room with a View was written in the early 1900's by Edward Morgon Forster, also the author of A Passage to India. His story speaks of a young girl by the name of Lucy and her struggle to understand the people around her and her views of the world. She grew up in a family where looks, style, and behavior is what determined the person. People had to be sophisticated and seem almost perfect. When Lucy travels to Italy with her cousin, she meets a man by the name of Mr. Emerson. His ways seem strange to her. He is simple, indifferent of what people might say about him. Lucy tries to ignore his, but her feelings are even more confused when she encounters the young George Emerson, the son of Mr. Emerson, and falls in love with him, something she could not admit for very long. Lucy comes back home to Windy Corner in England and is engaged to Cecil Vyse, a sophisticated and well-bred young man. Everything seems calm, until the Emersons move into Windy Corner as well. Lucy is lost, scared, and embarrassed, but slowly she realizes what she must do. Finally understanding that Cecil, who is too bland and "perfect", is not right for her, she breaks off the engagement and finds true love and true life with the right person -- George, who is in love with her even since they meet in Italy.
Besides the plot of the story, there is a deeper meaning to what Lucy went through. The book was written almost a century ago, so some concepts are lost to us, but the theme is still applied to us. Lucy wanted to know how to be and how others should be. She didn't know what was right and what was wrong. Isn't this something many people, especially teenagers, go through? It isn't exactly the same, but we all wonder how we should be and how others should act. Lucy felt that Cecil did not give her freedom and helped her do everything to make it the way he wants it--perfect. Many of us feel that too--in a relationship with someone, with friends, and with parents. Although it is written in a strange way, this book shows some struggles people of any time in history go through. Our appearance, our actions, our behavior... We question all of it and hopefully find right answers.
The thing that really caught my attention about this book was the descriptions of various places the author used. Forster actually traveled to Italy before writing A Room with a View which is another addition to his vivid and somewhat poetic words. Lucy's first morning in Italy was in a room "with a painted ceiling whereon pink griffins and blue amorini sport in a forest of yellow violins and bassoons." As she opened the window, she leaned "out into sunshine with beautiful hills and trees and marble churches opposite, and close below, the Arno, gurgling against the embankment of the road." The autumn in the Windy Corner, Lucy's home, "approached, breaking up the monotony of summer, touching parks with the grey bloom of mist, the beech-trees with russet, the oak-trees with gold. Up on the heights, bettaliens of black pines witnessed the change, themselves unchangeable." The author describes so well "the pine-woods, the deep lakes of bracken, the crimson leaves that spotted the hurt-bushes, the serviceable beauty of the turnpike road." His words seem simple, but together they come to create a picture of a world that you can feel. If you carefully read the passages of the descriptions, you somewhat sink into them, thinking you're almost there. Forster also knew how to put someone's feelings onto the paper. When Lucy frowned, lost in her emotions, he described her as "a brave child" who "frowns when he is trying not to cry". The simplicity of these words is what paints the picture of Lucy, trying to be strong and fight her troubles. I believe that E. M. Forster is an extraordinary writer who's words are unique, simple, and yet mysterious poetic.
As in almost any book, this one also has a down side. Since A Room with a View was written almost a century ago, its concepts might be somewhat strange to us. Also it is written in a way that is difficult to read, especially for younger people. Sometimes you can miss minor details as the text is unclear or too complicated. These might be the reasons why this book is hard to get into. When I started reading the first few chapters, I thought it would be a bore and a burden to finish this book. It went on better and easier to read though, especially as the plot of the story developed. The key is to have some patience with this book at the start.
A Room with a View is a book that may seem different and boring at first, but overall it is an interesting piece of literature. The places described inside make the book very vivid and it nicely shows the way people looked at each other many years ago. Its concepts--the way people judge each other and treat each other is something we can all think about and relate to. Whether you're a teen or an adult, after finishing the book, you won't consider reading it a waste of time. A solid 4 out of 5.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
marissa barbieri
In A Room with a View, E.M. Forster infuses a formulaic plot with rich characters and social commentary to create an eloquent insight into the human condition. Forster's gift for detailed character description and subtle sarcasm are prominently displayed as he describes protagonist Lucy Honeychurch's transformation from virtuous, obedient girl to vivacious, independent woman.
A Room with a View was first published in 1908, at a time when the British Empire was at its apex. The stereotypical images of high British society - proper tea parties, cultured conversation, and mild-mannered ladies- were still commonplace. However, a cultural revolution was taking shape. Women were beginning to challenge their role as symbols of modesty and decorum, while socialists and other freethinkers criticized the insular, intolerant views of the upper class.
In the midst of this rising movement of innovation, young Lucy Honeychurch takes a sightseeing tour of Italy. Raised in sheltered comfort at her estate in Surrey, England, Lucy is dutiful, submissive, and subconsciously able to suppress her own feelings in order to please others. In Florence, Lucy meets George Emerson, a passionate, spontaneous man with radical ideas on life. After a brief romantic encounter, Lucy returns to England, feeling confused and strangely dejected. Her sense of propriety outweighs her emotions, however, and soon she is engaged to a well connected, self-important man named Cecil. Cecil exemplifies the haughtiness and superficiality of the upper class. Forster describes him as, "Well educated, well endowed, and not deficient physically, he remained in the grip of a certain devil whom the modern world knows as self-consciousness" (100).
As Lucy and her snooty fiancée prepare for their wedding, George moves into a nearby villa. His reappearance sparks both feelings of love and contempt in Lucy, who vows to ignore him and devote herself to Cecil. But confrontation is unavoidable, and in their few moments alone, George inspires Lucy to break off the engagement with Cecil. He tells her, "Every moment of his [Cecil's] life he's forming you, telling you what's charming or amusing or ladylike, telling you what a man thinks womanly; and you, you of all women, listen to his voice instead of your own" (191). Lucy realizes the truth in his statement, but is so distraught, that she rejects both Cecil and George. It takes a heartfelt speech by George's father and a great deal of soul searching before Lucy realizes that she needs George. After all, he is the catalyst that starts Lucy down her path of self-discovery.
While the plot of A Room with a View is similar to other period romance novels, such as those by Jane Austen and the Bronte's, Forster's didactic style and witty sarcasm lift the book above the standard. Forster includes comments like, "But, as I say, this took a little thinking, and - so illogical are girls - the event remained rather greater and rather more dreadful than it should have done" (137). This quote highlights Forster's love of humor and cynicism, but it also brings up another issue that sets him apart from his peers. Forster is a man writing about a topic that is typically covered by women. While his views may be biased at times, his perspective adds a unique element to the genre.
Even more amazing, is Forster's ability to portray a young woman's personal and emotional rebirth with such understanding and clarity. Lucy is a complex character who continually struggles with outside influences and her own beliefs. All of her emotional battles are internal, but Forster records them so beautifully that they are just as exciting to read as any external action. For example, he writes, "Some emotion - pity, terror, love, but the emotion was strong - seized her, and she was aware of autumn. Summer was ending, and the evening brought her odours of decay, the more pathetic because they were reminiscent of spring...The scales fell from Lucy's eyes" (193-94). Although Forster is a man, he captures the sprit of a woman in his words.
E.M. Forster's story expressively highlights human nature, personal growth, and free will through the development of Lucy Honeychurch. Forster has the remarkable ability to be sarcastic one moment and poetic the next. Ultimately, it is his unique style and character development that make A Room with a View an incomparable novel.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
neglectedbooks
Though a romantic story with good character development and scene painting, it can be difficult to enjoy if the main character is inconsistent throughout. Lucy admires George, but commits to marry Cecil. She rejects Cecil because she adopts George's assessment of Cecil's character. She will not marry George the Truthful because he does not fit Cecil's standard of propriety (though the author does not quite tell us that). She is indecisive and is making everyone miserable, when finally some odd man with absurd philosophies pushes her to make a decision which, our author tries to convince us, was the correct one. Here is the message: It is perfectly fine to lie to everyone. After you have dodged them, hurt them, and confused them, "it will all come right in the end" and you will live happily ever after. The message appeals well to an age of utter selfishness. Our heroine shows some sign of repentance: He will never forgive us. But she immediately takes it back: I mean, he will never be interested in us again. But the selfish character wins and the reader is to applaud her "courage."
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
pamela brinks
A Room with a View revolves around a young woman, Lucy Honeychurch, who lives in England. The story is about the daily life of Lucy and her family and the few adventures Lucy partakes in, some with acquaintances which she meets on a few month excursion. She takes a trip to Florence, Italy to discover a cultural world outside of England, but instead, discovers a new side of her self that, when she returns home, she misses and finds herself wanting to revisit. Lucy encounters many new things and unorthodox people in Italy whom she tries to understand and finds she cannot. A startling romantic incident during her trip causes Lucy to become puzzled and contemplative. When she returns home, she is immediately engaged to a family friend, Cecil Vyse, who is a young man who disapproves of her family yet seems to think she is quite appealing. Soon, though, some individuals, out of complete chance, come to live on Summer Street, near her home, and soon the enigmatic emotions she experienced on her summer vacation are back to haunt her. Lucy has a choice to make which consumes her and makes her seem very troubled to her family. A Room with a View is considering a comedy because it's numerous satirical suggestions towards society and it's quirky, but well developed, characters. It is a short, refreshing read which has an easy-to-follow plot, and yet incorporates philosophical and symbolic views of the lives of the characters. Many people can enjoy this novella, and even might find the author's expansive and comedic vocabulary entertaining.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
karen kimball
As a gentle comedy of pre World War I manners and sensibilities, set in Florence and England, E. M. Forster's "A Room With a VIew" is a 20th century masterpiece. The novel shares some of the conventions of works by Forster's contemporaries Galsworthy and Hardy, but with a lighter touch. I suspect that this is one of a small handful of British novels of the last century which will continue to be read and enjoyed a hundred years from now..
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
madeleine
So, so SO clever. It contains a great deal of subtle humor that many people might miss, and in fact I sometimes have the feeling that I am unknowingly reading a brilliant joke that is going over my head.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
caroline elwell
A Room with a View

I wanted to create a romantic mood. I got this as background music for Valentine's Day. I remembered loving the film and wanted to reacquaint myself with the music and scenes of Italy. The music is inspirational. I was sorry when it was over. Go out and buy it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
michael mcnicholas
If you guys love romantic stories, then this is the book for you. I thought that this book was great because the style of writing had it set up so that the scenery and the characters come to life. The author writes about England's pastime. The book kind of gives you a gut feeling to find out what happens at the very end. The story also has a bit of comedy in it, which is very enjoyable. Now in this story, there is a man named George Emerson. George Emerson is a really passionate guy, who fell in love with a girl named Lucy unprepared from the first site. Now the whole story basically revolves around Lucy and her family. The story portrays Lucy and her family's everyday life. The whole story has an easy to follow plot, and many symbolic views of the characters. The reason why Room With a View is comedic, is because the story gives suggestions towards society in a funny way. So I would recommend this book to all of you out there because this book is quite enjoyable to read, and you will have a great time with the book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
peter mangiaracina
Interesting, very interesting. But not on first read. Yep, like everyone else here, I read this book as part of an English literature course. And, the first time I read it, I felt like setting fire to the damn thing. But, like the Velvet Underground, if you force yourself to take this in repeatedly, you eventually fall in love with it. The story itself is so basic, so obvious, a standardised Romeo and Juliet fantasy, but the language, social commentary, and at times plain flippantry of Forster's writing just infiltrate your mind like a brain tumour. Call Forster Coupland in a chastity belt. Touching, life-affirming, and, in a twist for books you study at school, some characters you care about. The sexually frustrated Mr Beebe, the hateworthy Cecil, and the greatly underrated Miss Bartlett. If you've ever been in love, and something's gone wrong, then this book was written for you.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
tanmay
E.M.Forster is a semi-classical English writer, who produced numerous novels set in the early 20th century. Later, film director James Ivory (an American, strange as it may seem) made a career for himself by turning these books into movies. "A Room with a View" is what you could have called "Proletarian literature" in Soviet literary canon; only working-class setting is replaced by the British "proper" society, still unscathed by the Great War. I have a thing for this epoch, but Forster's book does not reflect its charm in the least. All because of its social message. No gripping plot, no character development, no psychological motivations. The only really enthralling thing is to observe to what degree did the English train their language to conceal feelings. It is what makes the books like Forster's or Ishiguro's "Remains of the Day" almost untranslatable. In Forster's case, though, no harm done.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
blake heller
Britain's answer to Henry James here provides us with the tale of Lucy Honeychurch and her forbidden love for George Emerson, the unsuitable young man she meets in Italy. While social mores dictate that she make a match with the more proper gentleman, Cecil Vyse, who is courting her, Lucy is torn between passion and propriety. Ultimately, she chooses Emerson who reminds her of "a room with a view" offering her a new vista on life.
This is a comedy of manners, as we can see from the subtlety of characters names: Vyse represents the constricted vice-like society, Emerson is "nature" a la Ralph Waldo & Thoureau. And, of course, the lesson we learn is that the entrenched morals of society should be thrown away in favor of passion & the natural. This common theme of the top 100--we've seen it in Edith Wharton, & others--seems even more moronic as we close the century, the elevation of passion over morality has never looked worse than in the wake of the Clinton scandals. Further, as we now know, this admonition must be read in light of Forster's own homosexuality, adding an altogether different cast to the call for discarding social convention.
If you feel compelled to read Forster, I advise sticking to A Passage to India.
GRADE: D
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
star woodward
Maybe for its time, the novel was considered to contain ground breaking ideas, and a great drama. But you unless you are interest in social studies or the antrophological development of romance, you will find most of the situations downright silly. Maybe what particularly bothered me was that the writter did not make any significant effort to provide clues of why the characters fall in love. Actually, their attraction seems to be a mere infatution of inmature personalities, presented to the reader as a great romance.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
hollyknackstedt
"A Room With a View" is, I believe, E.M. Forster at his best. His novel is immensely enjoyable to drift into again and again. Forster takes the reader by the hand and gleefully introduces her to a world of wonder and freedom, where all can be truly possible if you only follow your heart.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
eman
After I saw the 1985 Merchant Ivory film, I was curious about the book. Its not often that the film is as good as the book, but in this it was, so faithfully adapted. When I got the book after seeing the film, I felt I was seeing the film again while reading, the film was sooo faithful to all the key plot and character points in the book and many of the minor ones too. Whether you've seen the film or not, definitely read the book as well. There are one or two typos but its very readable. This is one of my favorite romantic novels, and whats so great about it is that its not a stereotypical "romance novel", its for guys as well. Read it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
creshone
I had to read this book for my A-level english course and found that despite my expectations I actually enjoyed it. I found that I could relate well to a number of characters and was moved by the story of the development of a young and confussed girl. It really was a great read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mary finlay
"A Room with a View" is a novel that is thoroughly enjoyable from the first page to the last. It's a heart-warming love story, and this aspect of it completely charmed me. It's also very funny in some places. It's not overlong, either, so it doesn't drag, and it's a very easy read. I simply fell in love with "A Room with a View", and it has to be one of my favorite books I've ever read. I'd recommend it to anybody.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
travis hathcock
What can I say that hasn't already been said by the other reviewers? This book is tremendously entertaining, the characters are developed wonderfully and there are even moments in the book when I found myself laughing out loud. Do yourself a favor and read it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kimma
Forster's social satire is both poignant and whimsical - a pleasure to read. Many instances of asides with the reader create a light feel, yet biting critiques of class systems and social snobbery give reason to pause. Pick it up and read it over a beautiful summer's weekend. You'll be glad you did.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
zinna eitapence
This novel has got to be one of the most sweetest, and romantic story that I have ever read. One could almost feel Lucy's joy for being in Italy, and her torment of trying to keep her feelings hidden.
If anyone loves a period romance, this is it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
deepswamp nicklasson
This book tells the story of a young woman's discovery of what is truly meaningful. At least one trip to Italy, a cast of well developed characters, and a controlling fiance contribute to Lucy's discovery.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
benji
Never has such a book been written that combines with such artistry the romance and charm of Florence with the passionate love of two idealised and idealistic yet incredibly indeering charcters. I want to read it again and again until I know it as well as if it were my own life.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
timothy gray
E.M. Forster's A ROOM WITH A VIEW is simply the most romantic book ever, but then again if you dislike reading about the culture and society of the turn of the century, this book shall be passed. Other than that, go for it! Buy this book! It sure is worth it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ikhlasul
This was the first novel I had ever read Forster, and it certainly will not be the last! The characters are humorous, and the story line is soooo romantic! The chapters were packed with hidden exciting and romantic scenes. A must-read book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
david farris
Without a doubt A ROOM WITH A VIEW is one of the most charming classics out in print. Just like JANE EYRE, it's about the passion between a man and a woman, one that won't die even when there are boundaries to be passed.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
angineeki
Forster's wit, irony, and well-drawn characters make this an enjoyable read. If you're not used to reading pieces from this period, you may need to warm up to the style, but once you do, you'll enjoy this.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
neville krishnaswamy
This is a TRUE blue romance. It both entertains and teaches the way society was in those times of Forster. Teenagers will find a Lucy or George in them and older readers will fall in love with the whimsical story.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
rininta widhyajiwanti
... and spend an afternoon reading A Room With A View. Wry, enthralling, funny, and charming, there aren't enough superlatives to describe my favorite of Forster's books. Granted, if you don't like English literature, you'll probably condition yourself into not liking it, but if you give A Room With A View a chance, you'll be surprised. Immensely readable and enjoyable social satire that's as fresh and funny today as when it was first written.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
vida v
A Room With A View takes place in England and Italy. The scenery is beautiful and the characters are very well developed. The book shows a lot about people and how they interact with each other and their surroundings. The main plot is about a girl falling in love and not always understanding or knowing how to follow her heart, but the real importance lies within the characters and their surroundings. Mr. Emerson and his son George are amazing people with wonderful ideas of the world, but they are frond down upon because they are different from the norm. I found the book very enjoyable although the first part was quite slow. The middle and the end of the book went quickly and had me hooked.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
janna grace
A Room with a View is what a romantic novel should be: light and fun, entertaining and sweet- I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! Especially touching was old Mr. Emerson's conversation with Lucy towards the end. And none of the reviewers mentioned the subtle humor in this book! This book was funny! As for those of you who gave this wonderful book a poor review you must be young and/or you are an avid reader of literary geniuses such as Danielle Steele. Watch some more TV you people and stay aware from criticising great books you did not understand!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
anna heffernan
Beware-- this CD will raise your standards of operatic beauty! I've never heard Puccini's arias sung more passionately than in this soundtrack. Merchant-Ivory certainly knows where to find the best voices.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
rashi
With news that the British Government is closing its High Commission in Florence, this work is even more topical. This is light and funny, but it is not Forster's best book. Despite some of its shortcomings, the setting is thrilling and many of the characters are highly entertaining.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ahmed m
I have read "A Room with a View" about six times. It is a mystery to me why I enjoy it so much. I love the descriptions of Italy and the sense of humor that Forster imbues all his characters with. I feel that Lucy and Cecil represent the tendencies within each of us to escape intimacy and 'real feelings' under the guise of social suave.

I also think I know about five Miss Barretts. Forster also captures the essense of the supremely annoying old spinster who 'doesn't want to trouble anyone' and her tragic beauty.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kenney broadway
If you are the one who loves reading love story, this book is an interesting one. It gives a clear picture of middle-class life in England one hundred years ago. You will see the importance that was given to social position and appropriated behaviour. Moreover,its grammas are good. It appropriate for children who want to practise their gramma. This book is about the girl who struggle to make sense of her feelings towards the two very different men in her life.Let's find out what she is going to do with her life.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
martin justin
I've read the book oh-so-many times and I've seen the movie twice. I love both versions to the extreme coz it's such a gorgeous story with gorgeous sceneries and characters. Everytime I read the book, I become entangled with Lucy's `muddled' (to quote Mr. Emerson in the book) emotions. It's hard not to, coz I for one, wouldn't want gorgeous George Emerson to slip from her fingers!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
gabriela gonzalez
It is difficult to imagine a girl in the 21st century over-reacting to a rather innocent kiss, as is the case with the inciting event here. But this is exactly the situation a century ago with a girl from a respectable English family. And this is what makes the novel difficult to grasp for readers of our present day.

Not all that much happens. There's the kiss and then a whole lot of agonizing over it, trying to hide news of it, pretending that it wasn't meaningful, to the point that the poor girl's life is in turmoil, her engagement to another is broken.

The characters are wispy--we never quite see clear pictures of them. The dialogue is stilted by current standards. (Did people ever really talk that way?) The atmosphere of Florence, Italy, and semi-rural England is also a trifle wispy; the reader never quite feels as if he has benn taken along for the trip.

There are great many annoying editorial intrusions in order to puff up this lame plot, and most of the actions are internal. I'm not saying that an explosion or a car chase would have been necessary, but something more might have happened. There is a murder, but it is of no consequence. All in all, I'd say the novel is just a tad over-rated. I believe it was Mark Twain who said that a classic was a book that people praised and no one read. Few people voluntarily, rather, in this case.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
candy enix
I love this cd..have done since 1999..I play it too often, still!
Its one of those melodic movements in your life that feels good going back to.
Chilled, sexy, sassy..comforting.
Where are you boys? would love to hear new AoS tracks, and or a new compilation!
enchant me!
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
karrie stewart
I was forced to read this book for an English assignment in ninth grade. It took me forever to read because it didn't show any point to me. The characters were very confusing and ahrd to keep up with. I never really got into the book because it was so boring. I basically read the words on the page and didn't take anything in because I couldn't. Please don't waste your time on this book. Read something from Michael Crichton instead.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
eric blood
E.M. Forster does a remarkable job of illustrating the constricting social values of Edwardian England with humor and acute insight. Our heroine must decide: go along and get along or shirk her "dutites" and chose a life of remarkable rebellion (for the time).
You'll want your own trip to Italy when you're through reading! One of my absolute favorites.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
catrina
I don't know which I love more, the movie or the book, but both explore the human spirit in such a way that uplifts the reader--or viewer--and makes you want to live life with gusto. One of my favorite books. Period.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ana lisa sutherland
This is the best love story I have ever read. You fall in love with the characters the moment you meet them. I have recommended this book to everyone I know, and everyone who has read it adores it. Just read it to find out what I mean. =)
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
anna ware
I loved loved loved this book when I was 15, even 20, but am finding it more annoying at 34. I just read Maurice, which is Forster's novel about a gay guy named Maurice that was published after his death. Forster, we now know with perfect certainty, was a closeted homosexual who suffered all his life for it. After reading Maurice and reading A Room with a View and seeing A Room with a View the movie, I am semi-convinced that Forster was pushing the message of Maurice, which makes perfect sense in the gay male context, through the character of Lucy. Lucy, we are told, is secretly in love with/attracted to George from the beginning, but, really, is she? She contemplates for about three seconds "shar[ing] a flat with another girl" at the end of the book, a comment that results in a strangely aggressive screed against Edwardian British feminists, put into the mouth of her mother. Then before she can get into nasty any political activities or become a Dried-up Spinster (tm) like her cousin Charlotte, she is whisked off by the author to marry the wildly attractive (really?) George.

This is exhausting to read even in 2013. I didn't feel that acting on sexual desire was an obvious anti-conventional act of authenticity for Lucy; nor did I even totally believe in her desire for George begin with. I did believe that Maurice only needed to realize his sexual desires to be emancipated. This was not true for heterosexual women in Edwardian England, no matter how hard Forster wanted to believe it.

The wisdom of age is depressing.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
ambertolina
maybe i could have enjoyed this book if i could have understood. i'm a high school freshmen in honor's english and i was forced to pick out a classic novel to do a critique on. unfortunatly, i read peoples reviews on this book and it sounded good. don't get caught up in the web of boring-ness. maybe if you're an english scholar you're understand this book, but being just a normal teenager, i sure didn't. i found myself falling asleep many times while reading this book, so i was forced to prop my eyelids open with toothpicks and snack on a variety of candies just to stay consious. take my advice and do yourself a favor, READ SOMETHING ELSE.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
danimal
A Room with a View is the classic love story. The woman falls in love with one man then gets torn apart from him. Months later she meets a new guy and sadly accepts his proposal to marry him even though she has feelings for the other man but knows she will never see him again. Then to throw in the climax he comes back they fall in love again, she breaks off the engagement with the other man and they go off and live happily ever after. I think this story is a little too corny for me. You can tell what is going to happen in the novel before it ever does. There aren't very many surprises in the novel and I think that is where I lost interest in the book. It is full of love, adventure and drama. Overall it has a good plot line and if you love traveling and Italy you will love this novel.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
guilherme
This is another one of those so called "classics" that continue to be overrated based on the fact that they are "classics." Not to be confused with more deserving titles that make one wonder how a body of work can sound so fresh and accomplished after 50, 100, 200 + years, this particular work should be put on the bookshelf along with Count of Monte Cristo, Tarzan, The Lost World, etc. that are written by famous and gifted writers but in their off days, or off years for that matter.
This book is difficult to get into and that is the beginning and the end of it. This is literature not a scientific endevour.
If the manuscript were submitted for publication today, it would either not see the light of day or first get edited into shape and out of recognition. Story is good. Storytelling needed much better effort.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
perry hilyer
A very chatty book with little description and almost all dialog. I found it difficult to maintain momentum through the rivers of Victorian mores on exhibit in this book. In sum, I found it dull and not enjoyable.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
diego garc a campos
The first time I tried to read this and failed I assumed that maybe I was distracted and would try again later. The second time I convinced myself that I had too many books on the go at the one time. The third time I told myself that I was too busy to give it the time it deserved. Frankly, I have now learnt that if you need to try for the fourth time to read something and have to force yourself to keep turning the page it is a bad sign.

This is frankly the only book that I have purchased that I not only don't want anymore - but I don't want to inflict it on anyone else by giving it to charity. The story was woeful. The characters are impossible to like or in any way relate to. This is my quiet warning. If you are simply looking for a good read you are wasting your time here.
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