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A Book With a Heart: A ROOM WITH A VIEW depicts a young Englishwomans adventure trying to come to grips with the conflict between her desires and societys expectations. Lucy Honeychurch is a well-bred young middle class girl on holiday in radiant Florence.

She comes from a family overconcerned with respectability and is therefore overprotected by a dessicated spinster named Charlotte Bartlett. One wonders if Forster had in mind a more famous Charlotte B. when he drew Lucys protector, a woman much discomfited by [any] unpleasant scene[s]. Forster playfully tosses barbs at this dont-let-the-servants-hear-you world the English try to maintain on foreign soil. Less playful with sanctimonious Puritans or hypocritical clergymen, Forster lets them foil themselves.

Under no circumstances will Miss Bartlett allow Lucy to pursue (or even examine) her affection for the handsome young George Emerson--his father is far too unconventional with his modern notions about honesty and freethinking. Duty must reign . . . mustnt it? Ah, that wild transitional phase between the late-Victorians and the early-Moderns!

Forster writes gently and calmly, but with a passion for life and love welling up beneath the surface. A ROOM WITH A VIEW is a lovely book, vital with the force of a sensitive and empathetic mind. Theres even more to this book than it seems--highly recommended!

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