It is the story of young Lucy Honeychurch, a very proper Edwardian everywoman who goes to Italy with her overbearing older cousin as a chaperon. However, her life is changed forever when she gets to Italy. She finds herself falling for an unsuitable match: the melancholic and mysterious George Emerson. First, she falls into his arms in a dead faint after seeing a man murdered. Then, Mr. Emerson most improperly kisses her behind a row of bushes, seen only by the Italian taxicab. Charlotte, her chaperon, warns her to tell nobody. Back home, Lucy is forced by her mother and Charlotte to marry the highly eligible bachelor Cecil Vyse. Mr. Vyse is a dull, oppressive force in Lucy's life and she works her hardest to love him, but finds herself continually thinking about the fascinating Mr. Emerson.
I found myself gripping this book and reading slightly obsessively until the book was finished. The main idea of this story (girl torn between true love and obviously-awful-but-really-eligible guy) has been done many times, but it was interesting to read one of the "originals". I also love events unfolding simply by smart conversation and hidden meanings in every word that someone says. Sometimes I wish that people still had that skill.
I think that I'm going to have to read more of E.M. Forster. And I'm definitely going to watch the 90s movie that was done that stars Helena Bonham Carter. I recommend this for anybody who loves a good, smart romance with a side of social commentary.