“It isn’t possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.”
I love a good romance novel and this one is set in the Edwardian era so I knew I had to read it. I had previously read the memorable opening of the novel during an English lesson because it was an unseen text for a mock exam. After finding out who had written the piece I stored it in my mind as something which could be read later. The Italian side intrigued me because I didn’t know much of tourism in the Edwardian era. Now get ready for some spoilers.
The novel is concerned with a young woman’s emotional growth on a trip to Italy as she slowly sheds the constraints placed on her through rejecting a stuffy fiancé in favour of true love with a more passionate man. ‘A Room with a View’ is a Romance but it is also a Comedy of Manners with constant quips and grains of wisdom. I went into it with very high expectations so I ended up being disappointed. I often felt there was more scope for both comedy and romance. Aside from Cecil, many characters felt unmemorable and their various stereotypes weren’t pronounced enough to create a funny effect. I also expected it to be more fast- paced and it did sometimes drag.
I must stress that I though the plot itself was without fault; my main criticism is about the style and execution. Of course, I am open to a second reading because some books tend to improve upon further reading such as ‘The Great Gatsby’. Moreover, there were parts that really did resonate with me. The dilemma that Lucy faced and her characterization were brilliantly done. Forster really does show the constraints of Edwardian society and the way it can result in mental decay especially for women. Equally, he creates the possibility of a more fulfilling and imaginative existence very vividly that Lucy’s rejection of Cecil really does feel quite revolutionary.
I would still recommend ‘A Room with a View’ and will give it a second chance. Please let me know what things you enjoyed about it so I can look out for them in future.