Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Hayley

      Summer Supporter Giveaway   08/31/2020

      Going on a Summer Holiday (Sort Of...)     The summer giveaway for Patreon supporters is finally here and this time we're doing something a little bit different. I want supporters to tell me where you would go on holiday, if you could go anywhere. The winner will receive a bookish prize based on their answer!   Terms and conditions are as usual. Patreon supporters will be automatically entered into the giveaway and selected at random. As we're a little late this year the draw will be held on the second weekend of September. If you aren't currently a supporter but want to be involved in the giveaway you can sign up to support us here:   https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum  
Sign in to follow this  
Janet

Hertfordshire - [alternative] Howards End by E M Forster

Recommended Posts

Copied from my blog (with a bit extra at the end!)

 

As I know Jane Austen's wonderful Pride and Prejudice backwards I decided to read this as an alternative to Hertfordshire].

Margaret Schlegel has looked after her younger siblings Helen and Tibby (short for Theobald) since their parents died. The book opens with letters from Helen to Margaret from Howards End where she is staying with the Willcox family. When Helen informs her family that she plans to marry Paul Willcox, despite them having only met briefly, their Aunt Juley is despatched to step in and prevent the engagement. However, as is the fickleness of youth, before the Aunt can arrive the relationship is over! Despite this, Margaret and Mrs Willcox form an unlikely friendship.

The Schlegels then meet Leonard Bast. He is a man of lower-class who wants to improve himself – he meets the siblings at a classical concert and when Helen leaves early and takes Leonard's umbrella with her, Margaret gives him her card and tells him to call for the umbrella. They decide to make a project out of Leonard but he is held back by his wife (although I don't think they're actually married – at least, maybe not at the start of the book – I really can't remember!) and by lack of money.

There are quite a few themes in this book including (and perhaps most importantly) class and social standing. The Schlegels and Willcoxes are of different backgrounds but similar classes, whereas life is a struggle for the Basts who are held back by their lack of money. When the lives of the three families collide, these societal differences are highlighted with serious consequences for all.

It took me a long time to read this because I wasn’t enthused enough to pick it up! I don't usually mind character-driven plots, but it helps to like the characters (or to hate them, I guess) but the characters in this book just left me feeling a bit ambivalent. It's not my first read of E M Forster – I read A Room with a View a few years ago and that left me feeling unsatisfied too. I think maybe Forster's writing is just not for me (different strokes for different folks, and all that), although I have wanted to read A Passage to India for a long time, so who knows – maybe I'll give him another go some time.

In terms of location, it didn't really feel like it gave me a feel for the county. Some books have done so more than others. This could have been set anywhere really. If it wasn't for the challenge I'm not sure I'd have read to the end, but the book did pick up for me towards the end and I enjoyed the last hundred or so pages, so that was something. For me, though, Pride and Prejudice is infinitely superior!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry you didn't get along with EM Forster, A Room With A View and Howard's End are amongst my favourite books, but I guess he's not for everyone. Of all his books I liked A Passage To India the least. Adela annoyed me in much the same way as Briony did in Atonement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry you didn't get along with EM Forster, A Room With A View and Howard's End are amongst my favourite books, but I guess he's not for everyone. Of all his books I liked A Passage To India the least. Adela annoyed me in much the same way as Briony did in Atonement.

Thanks, Poppy.  :)  Hmm - I think I might not bother with it then - there are too many other books out there to read! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wasn't particularly taken with the books either, however the film versions are excellent.

 

The films were fantastic, great actors and beautiful cinematography :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The films were fantastic, great actors and beautiful cinematography :)

 

I'm sure I've said this elsewhere, but I completely agree.  A Room With a View is in my top three films, while Howards End makes the top ten. Of. All Time.  Just saying ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×