3.5 out of 5 stars
You may have noticed that I ended my Classic a Month challenge in December. It was starting to feel like required school reading and I'm sure you all remember that that always sucked all the interestingness out of any book. But towards the beginning of this month, I decided I wanted to read a classic again and I picked this one. I have to say, I really enjoyed it. It was a light, fluffy read...probably considered a contemporary romance in its time. (Reminder: spoilers abound.)
Lucy Honeychurch is a young woman of "society" in a small town in England. She is on a vacation (roadtrip) with her cousin/chaperone, Charlotte, in Italy when she meets the Emersons. Mr Emerson is a strange older man who says what he is thinking and doesn't care who hears him. "My dear, I think that you are repeating what you have heard older people say. You are pretending to be touchy; but you are not really. Stop being so tiresome, and tell me...what you want to see." George, his son, is a silent young man who seems to catch Lucy's curiosity but not her eye. As a "commoner" he is obviously beneath her but she does find him interesting.
While out on her own one afternoon, Lucy witnesses a violent crime and is understandably shook up over the whole thing. George happens to be there too and helps her deal with it and the two have a "secret moment". They soon find themselves in the same group of peers, going on outings and picnics together. At one of those picnics, George gets swept up in his emotions and does the unthinkable...he kisses Lucy. *Gasp* How dare he??! Lucy is outraged and immediately asks Charlotte to take them away.
The second half of the book follows Lucy's return home and her engagement to rich, respectable Cecil. Cecil is the good choice, the smart one. So why can't Lucy stop thinking about those Emersons? It's made even worse when, thru a series of happenstances, the father & son move to town and become a part of their social circle once more. Lucy finds herself drawn to George again and again and it becomes the classic struggle: marry for money or love? I'll let you guess which she chooses in the end. ;)
"You love the boy body and soul, plainly, directly, as he loves you, and no other word expresses it. You won't marry the other man for his sake."
"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."
And now I have a confession to make: I thought the author was a woman until about halfway thru the book. I then read the forward (which always spoils the book, I don't understand that!) and found out that this was actually written by a man. And it kind of changed how I viewed the book after that. Passages like this soon had a negative connotation:
It was unladylike. Why? Why were most big things unladylike? It was not that ladies were inferior to men; it was that they were different. Their mission was to inspire others to achievement rather than to achieve themselves.
Written by a woman, it sounds like sarcastic wit but by a man, it's condescending. Why is that? Have you ever had your view of a book changed after finding out something about the author? I want to hear about it, so comment please!
(pictures done by me)