A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
E.M. Forster's classic starts out slowly but steadily, subtly builds up its emotional themes until the end, when it punches you in the stomach and forces its characters into inevitable decisions that define their lives.
An early-20th century tale of moneyed social and business world climbers whose choices in love and industry weighs on their families' status as well as their social well-being. Forster works hard to populate the novel with lots of disparate characters, most who act as checks and balances on the main plotline, with their commentary and reactions spotlighting the story's leanings.
At the center is Lucy, who is courted by the free-spirited George and the wealthy, reserved Cecil. The love triangle that develops forces Lucy to frame the person she is, as well as that who she desires to become.
What emerges are themes that there may not be as much choice as you might think when it comes to matters of the heart, and to go with logical over emotional needs, or vice versa, is to shut down the other option completely.
Rebecca Halls' narration on the Audible version draws out the passion and emotional inflections of the characters, adding considerable heft to the prose with her storyteller's grace.
"A Room with A View" is a sometimes-tedious journey that justifies its length and pace with the powerful way it ends. This is a book that hits hard when it most needs to, and leaves you much to ponder after it sends you on its way.
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