I am slightly ashamed to admit this, but I saw the movie adaptation of this book before I read it. I know, I know, such a bookworm taboo. Plus I committed the book-blogging taboo of finishing a book ages ago and then forgetting to finish my review post of it. Shame on me. At least I found this review lurking in my draft folder, which sparked a second-wave of my love for this book.
For those of you who haven’t read this book, it chronicles the story of a young woman named Lucy Honeychurch who visits Italy with her aunt Charlotte. When they arrive and find themselves staying in rooms at the Pensione Bertolini without views, fellow guests Mr. Emerson and his son George step in, trading rooms. Thus begin Lucy’s interactions with the Emersons. Even after leaving Florence for Rome, returning home to England, and getting engaged, Lucy still cannot stop herself from thinking about the Emersons, the young son in particular.
For such a short novel, I found there to be lots of unexpected plot twists, which is why my little summary above is so brief; I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you who haven’t read it. The writing style is similar to other books published around the same time (1900s) but it didn’t labour too much on descriptions of landscape or clothing. It did, however, do a marvellous job of giving backstory to characters that were introduced later on.
The movie adaptation of this novel was released in 1985 starring Helena Bonham Carter, Dame Maggie Smith, and Denholm Elliot. I re-watched the movie once I finished reading the book and found that the scenes matched up closely to the chapters, which is always nice. I feel like this would be a great movie to watch in English class if the book is taught in school because movies tend to engage students more and no major cinematic liberties were taken.
And, as always, a few book facts:
“The Signora had no business to do it,” said Miss Bartlett, “no business at all. She promised us south rooms with a view, close together, instead of which here are north rooms, here are north rooms, looking into a courtyard, and a long way apart. Oh, Lucy!”
What I Loved Most: I loved the character development of Lucy Honeychurch, particularly when she begins to mentally separate what she wants from what she knows society and her family expect her to want.
What I Loved Least: Given the time period in which this book was written, women were second-class citizens. I knew this going into the book, but that didn’t make my blood boil any less when I read things that implied women could not think about or do certain things because they were the weaker, more temperamental sex.
The contest lay not between love and duty. Perhaps there never is such a contest. It lay between the real and the pretended, and Lucy’s first aim was to defeat herself. (p. 181)
Youth enwrapped them; the song of Phaethon announced passion requited, love attained,. But they were conscious of a love more mysterious than this. The song died away; they heard the river, bearing down the snows of winter into the Mediterranean.
Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed reading this book, and the little sequel A View Without a Room that was included at the back of my copy of the book. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a nice, light read while on holiday or busy with school or work. But be ready to be miffed by the lines about women’s abilities.
Have you read this book before??? If yes, let me know what you thought of it in the comments below 🙂 🙂