EM Forster’s Edwardian classic A Room With A View is the story of Lucy Honeychurch and the travails of her rigid upper middle class society life. The reader first meets Lucy as she tours Italy with her spinster cousin, Charlotte Bartlette, the latter of whom is lamenting not having a view at the hotel at which they have arrived. Sitting near them are Mr Emerson Sr and Mr George Emerson, his son, who overhear and promptly offer their rooms, as they have a view and do not care whether they do or not. This simple exchange sets off a series of miscommunications, misunderstandings and revelations about the class system in England at this time. Lucy becomes engaged to the tiresome Cecil, is sought after by the younger Emerson, and bothered by her artificially self-effacing cousin, a pair of clergymen, gossiping old ladies, her elitist mother, and her brother. As is common for books of this age, there is a lot of discussion about the “right sort of people”, and that women are meant to be married to be happy and fulfilled. Interestingly, Forster, while still appealing to the population of the day, allows a touch of modern feminism to help define Lucy, and her need to be free from constraints of society. A shrew skewering of society at the time, I recommend A Room With A View to readers who adore classic literature, and popular Edwardian writing styles, which do tend to include quite a lot of exclaiming, and crying by the characters. 321 pages.
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