5.29.2015

Book Review: A Room With A View

I read this book during the Bout of Books Read-A-Thon that took place a couple weeks ago.  I first heard about it from Ange @ Beyond the Pages on YouTube (she has an awesome channel where she talks about lots of classics) and she highly recommended this one.

I was excited to pick this book up over the read-a-thon because it's pretty short and I knew I'd be able to get through it pretty easily.  I wasn't wrong, and also, I loved it!  It was so fun and quick – just a really awesome lighthearted read.  Let's get into the review.

Title: A Room With A View

Author: E.M. Forster

Publisher/Price: Penguin Classics – $7.09 here  (my edition) / Penguin Books Ltd. – $8.11 here (really pretty edition, too)

Type: Fiction

Genre: Classic / Historical Romance

Number of pages: 256

My rating: 5 1/2 out of 5 stars (favorite!)

My thoughts: Once again, I'll just give a little background on the plot/story before I get into what I thought.  A girl named Lucy travels to Italy to vacation with her aunt.  While there, she meets and is wooed by two men, George Emerson and Cecil Vyse.  She previously knew and had already turned down Cecil twice, but she finally accepts him when he proposes again.  When George hears of the engagement, he professes his love to her.  Lucy agonizes over the decision, but she decides at last to choose the man who is not necessarily the socially acceptable one, but the one who will make her happy – George Emerson.

This book was just a pleasure to read.  I really enjoyed E.M. Forster's writing style – it's accessible and perfect for this story.  I also really enjoyed the setting of this story.  The Italian backdrop reminded me so much of Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, which I absolutely hated (but loves the setting).  A Room With a View was the book I wanted that one to be.  In A Portrait of a Lady, the main heroine, Isabel, started out as a naive, but spirited, ambitious young woman with hopes and dreams and who knows her own mind, much like Lucy.  She also vacations in Italy and is wooed by a man who vies for her heart against her cousin, who truly loves her and has her best interests at heart.  Eventually, she chooses the other man, Gilbert, who ends up being far different than he seemed.  He is cruel and vocally abuses her.  They end up quietly hating each other, but by then, Isabel is so far from the girl she once was, she remains in the marriage and her cousin, who truly loves her, dies.  Yeah, it was a terrible book.  A Room With a View was the book that should have been.  I loved Lucy's spirit and how she knew her mind so well, and knew that she would be happy with Cecil who wouldn't love her as a person and value her personality, but who would set her on a shelf and make her conform to his ideals.  Instead, she chooses the wild, unconventional George Emerson who admires her spirit and independence and who loves her for who she is.  And she makes the right choice.  It was a perfect ending.

I really enjoyed the juxtaposition between the two very different suitors.  Cecil is a perfect gentleman, but he seems too perfect, elegant, and conventional.  He is a bit colorless and stagnant, and basically there was no appeal to him outside of his social status and manners. He was terribly boring and reminded me so much of that awful dude from A Portrait of a Lady, that I was going to be ticked if Lucy ended up with him.  George, on the other hand, seems alive and wild and free.  He loves Lucy and will never try to change her or shut her up.  I loved him from the very beginning, even if he did seem kinda weird.   

Also, I really enjoyed Lucy's character quite a bit.  She shares many of the same (good) characteristics as the heroine from A Portrait of a Lady I mentioned earlier.  She is naive and innocent, but she is passionate and independent and knows her own mind.  I liked her from the beginning and only grew to love her character more.

Overall, this was an awesome, quick classic read!  There was a romance, but also suble hints at bigger stuff, too.  A Room With a View is a fun, lighthearted book that I highly recommend to anyone who loves classics and/or who hated A Portrait of a Lady as much as I did.  

Hopefully I will be back tomorrow with another book review!  Thanks for reading!  xo, Ella

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