I had to go on a long train journey for work this week, so I didn’t take my paperback-in-process, I took my kindle. Once I finally got on the train, I decided that what my weary brain needed was some Edwardian satire, so I picked the first E.M.Forster in my library: A Room With A View. I knew the title from all those “100 books” lists that bandied around, but I never realised it was E.M.Forster, or that I’d actually quite enjoy it!
Lucy has her rigid, middle-class life mapped out for her until she visits Florence with her uptight cousin Charlotte, and finds her neatly ordered existence thrown off balance. Her eyes are opened by the unconventional characters she meets at the Pension Bertolini: flamboyant romantic novelist Eleanor Lavish, the Cockney Signora, curious Mr Emerson and, most of all, his passionate son George.
Lucy finds herself torn between the intensity of life in Italy and the repressed morals of Edwardian England, personified in her terminally dull fiancé Cecil Vyse. Will she ever learn to follow her own heart?
A Room With A View – E.M Forster (blurb from Goodreads)
The book starts in Florence, and I had fun comparing their trip to that beautiful city with my own, with decades and reality between. The rules and proprietary and the interactions between the boarding house guests were amusing.
Honestly, I love the fact that there is a parson called Mr Eager and he is a downright irritating fellow. The main is called Lucy Honeychurch, and she is a sweet, rather naïve young woman with her staid, manipulative spinster cousin Charlotte. Names reflect characters and I thought it quite amusing how these change over the course of the book. The other notable characters are the Emersons and Mr Beebe. Mr Beebe might have been my favourite viewpoint of the earlier chapters – he isn’t quite so enamoured of everything as Lucy, nor so cynical as Charlotte, he just finds amusement in musing on the people and the world around him and it makes for an interesting few pages that I quite enjoyed.
I am fairly certain that some of the prose was in riddles that may require a little more contextual knowledge of the times – always a stepping stone with classics. But I muddled through fair enough. The ending was rather predictable, but I liked that it was predictable. It’s a rom-com really, when you think about it, set in Edwardian England.
A Room With A View was an amusing read, perfect for whiling away time crossing the countryside on a train. It isn’t a long book, it’s 119 pages according to Amazon, but it is very good.