A Room With a View, by E.M. Forster
In A Room With a View, Lucy leaves her contained and predictable life in the English countryside and travels through Italy with her annoying, manipulative older cousin Charlotte as chaperone. There she is inspired by the beauty, the pace, and the culture of Italy, and she begins an inner transformation. She also starts to fall for George Emerson, a young man staying in the same hotel in Florence. George is rather unconventional; he says just what he wants with no regard to polite society and is rough around the edges. Charlotte disapproves and whisks Lucy away to Rome, far from George.
Upon her return home, Lucy quickly adapts back to her old lifestyle, but without forgetting her time abroad, unable to ignore completely the differences it made to her sense of self. She becomes engaged to Cecil Vyse, a boring, snobby, cerebral man. She thinks she could be happy until George moves into town and her two conflicting worldviews collide. In order to sort out the mess she’s in, she must become more assertive. Only after she is able to be honest about her desires can she live freely, with enthusiasm.
I liked the tone of the book; it was light and airy. Very pleasant. Lucy’s upheavals toward the end were satisfying. And while it wasn’t a particularly funny book, there were times I felt Forster’s sense of humor shine through.
But it really wasn’t much more than pleasant for me. A nice enough way to spend an afternoon or two, but nothin’ I was too excited about.