A Room With a View

As I mentioned in my Helena Bonham Carter post on Wednesday, I decided to re-read E.M. Forster's classic 1908 social commentary novel, A Room With a View

I had to read this in a first year English class, and I remember absolutely loving it. I'm glad to see that seven years later, my opinion hasn't changed. In fact, I'm actually surprised I loved it that much the first time around, because it definitely requires some thinking (i.e. it's not a super fluffy book). But the reason I loved it then - and now - is because of Lucy and George. 

I want you to have your own thoughts even when I hold you in my arms.
— George Emerson

Lucy Honeychurch meets George Emerson on a trip to Florence, Italy. At first, she's not sure what to make of this somewhat melancholy young man, but, despite herself, she starts to fall in love with him, especially after they accidentally witness a murder. Throw in a scene where Lucy, standing in a field of violets, is so beautiful that George forgets himself and impulsively kisses her, and you've got an adorable romance. 

Of course, being a proper Edwardian young lady, Lucy takes the unexpected kiss as an "insult", and, upon returning to England, gets engaged to Cecil Vyse, who, quite honestly, is a tool. But when George ends up living in the same village...well, I don't want to spoil anything for you, but it ends perfectly.

I think of them as the original "insta-love" couple. If you don't know what "insta-love" is, you probably don't read YA (or, at least, you don't read as much YA as I do). Insta-love is essentially love at first sight, but more intense i.e. the feelings are acted on a lot faster than seems normal. 

In this case, Lucy and George have only a handful of interactions before their first kiss. And while George is the one to "blame", I don't think Lucy was as affronted as she pretended to be; in fact, I think she was more embarrassed at being caught by her spinster-y cousin/chaperon, Miss Bartlett than anything else.

Love felt and returned, love which our bodies exact and our hearts have transfigured, love which is the most real thing that we shall ever meet, reappeared now as the world’s enemy, and she must stifle it.
— A Room With a View

Their love is something straight out of a fairy tale, and if you don't find yourself rooting for them by the end of Part One, you're clearly missing something. I can't say exactly what it is that makes them so swoon-worthy - maybe it's the way George is completely smitten and isn't afraid of telling her, maybe it's the way Lucy tries to squash her own feelings but is eventually overwhelmed. Either way, it's beautiful. 

So if you're a Jane Austen fan or just looking for a delightful old-fashioned romance (with a dash of scathing social commentary), A Room With a View has you covered - and with the added bonus of gorgeous scenery.

It isn’t possible to love and to 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.
— Mr. Emerson