I loved this book, very good read. I would recommend it to someone who likes British literature, humor, feminism, and romance in Italy.
So this story revolves around the main character, Lucy Honeychurch, and her significant trip to Florence. She goes to Florence with her cousin Miss Charlotte Bartlett to experience Italy. At the pension Bertolini they meet a cast of characters including the spinster Miss Alens, Mr. Beeb (whom they know from England), Eleanor Lavish ( a writer), Mr. Emerson, and his son George. George and Lucy get to know each other and kiss on the countryside. Lucy can’t accept that she has feelings for George and goes away to Rome, meeting Cecil Vyse and his mother whom they are acquainted with back in England. Back at Windy Corner in Surrey, Lucy and Cecil are engaged and the Emersons have moved into the villa down the way. Things get complicated, and Miss Lavish’s novel mentions George and Lucy’s kiss. In all this muddle, George kisses Lucy again. Lucy tells George that she isn’t interested, but it’s a lie. She breaks off her engagement to Cecil, and intends to go to Greece with the Miss Alen’s. But she goes to see Mr. Beeb and runs into Mr. Emerson. She finally realizes her feelings for George to him and George and Lucy get married soon after and spend their honeymoon in Florence.
One of my favorite points of the story are when George and Lucy are talking after he has kissed her a second time. In my book on page 170 he says to Lucy, “I’m the same kind of brute at bottom. This desire to govern a woman – it lies very deep, and men and women must fight it together before they shall enter the garden. But I do love you – surely in a better way than he does. Yes – really in a better way. I want you to have your own thoughts even when I hold you in my arms…”
Miss Bartlett finding George and Lucy on the hillside kissing is what sets many things in this book in motion. At the end of the book when George and Lucy are talking at the pension Bertolin they realize that they owe their happiness to Charlotte.
I think the person with the most striking character development would be George. His father even mentions it when he and Lucy are talking towards the end. George started out like a contemplative emo kid and by the end he seems so full of life and energy. Being in love with Lucy really changed him in a way that he could see light and dropped his pessimism, for the most part.
Lucy and I are somewhat in similar places. We both grew up in close families and haven’t left our hometown or home country often or ever. Lucy has a harder time accepting what she wants from life.
I learned about human nature in the Victorian Era, and how it makes people behave towards others, how rigid the social hierarchy is and how women were expected to behave.
A quote that I really liked was on page 47. “This solitude oppressed her; she was accustomed to having her thoughts confirmed by others or, at all events contradicted; it was too dreadful not to know whether she was thinking right or wrong.”
Edward Morgan Forster was born January 1, 1879. When He came into some money from a dead aunt he and his mother went to Italy, Austria, and Greece. This trip to Europe was what Forster said made it possible for him to become a writer.
You learn more about Delia at her blog.