This has to be one of my favorite classics. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster was first published in 1908, during the Edwardian era. I’m not an expert on Edwardian era, but as far as I know there were many political and social changes that were being made around Europe. Although King Edward VII considered himself to be liberal with style, fashion, and other evolving social aspects, England remained socially repressed. With that in mind, the novel is liberating, hopeful, and witty.
The room with a view is where it all begins. Lucy Honeychurch and her overbearing older cousin Charlotte were promised to a room with a view. But when they arrive at the hotel, they are stuck with a room overlooking a dull atrium. I also love room with views and whenever I travel, I always book the oceanside whenever available. Anyhow, overhearing the commotion that Charlotte was making, the Emersons – a father and son – offer to give up their room. Instead of taking his generous request, Charlotte takes offense. Apparently, giving up room offers to ladies in the conservative era was inappropriate and rude. Meanwhile, Lucy and George Emerson, the son, experience a string of coincidental meetings in the most random places around Italy. Of course, nothing lasts forever. Lucy goes back home to England without any promise that she will meet George again. Or will she? When she returns, she adjusts back into the repressed English life. The moments she experienced in Italy – could that ever be her life? Italy vs. England; being liberal vs. conservative – there are lot of psychological and social symbolisms underlying these contrasts.
A Room with a View is more than a romantic escapade. The plot may seem trite – we all know how romantic stories go – but I think it’s important to read the book from a 1900s perspective to appreciate it. “You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you.”
dee’s recommendation: 5/5