A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
Henry is an American serving the Italian Army as an ambulance driver. Catherine is charming English nurse he meets during World War I. They quickly fall in love and try to navigate their relationship through the War to End All Wars. But in an event as hideous as war, can love, can anything really, survive?
I really, really loved this book. It is heart breaking, iconically so. It is also very beautiful as well. I really love Hemingway's writing style- his dialogue seems so real and clear. I especially loved this novel because we got to see this romantic side to him- the love story between Henry and Catherine is so classic and so raw as well. Maybe I'm just a sucker for WWI era romances, but I really loved every scene they shared together and really savored every moment of it.
There are some things I didn't care for. There were a lot of scenes of "men talking men stuff." I ended up just skipping some of these parts because they were very boring. I also am not a huge fan of long descriptions of battles, but many site that as one of this novel's strong points, so although it wasn't my favorite part, it was certainly notable.
This book is a classic and rightly so. It has romance, adventure, love, loss, war, and lots of reflection on all these aspects. And of course an ending that will rip your heart out- because that is, after all, what war does.
Perfect if you Loved:: Crimson Road- a new BBC series about love and loss at a WWI field hospital
My Rating:: No rating for classics :)
A Room With a View
On a trip to Italy with her cousin, Lucy Honeychurch witnesses a man being stabbed. Like all good early 20th-Century heroines, she promptly swoons- luckily right into the arms of George Emerson. It becomes clear as her trip continues that George has feelings for her, but Lucy's cousin disapproves and she finds herself whisked out of Florence, never to see George again. That is until a few months later, when he reappears, but this time Lucy is engaged. In a beautiful tale of progress and true love, Lucy find the courage to live the life wants.
This story is adorable. It is a very classic forbidden love, "will they, won't they" type story- but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. The characters and romance are so real, it is hard not to forget that they are living almost 100 years ago. I am a huge Downton Abbey fan and it felt like this story could have easily fit in there, especially the second half which takes place at an old estate.
My only complaint is that the writing can be a little old and verbose sometimes. Of course, working at a summer camp with crazy kids often made me tired and I found myself falling asleep on this book more times than one. I still enjoyed and found it a pretty quick reading, given that I only had like 10 or 15 minutes a day to read.
Perfect if you loved:: A Summer in Europe by Marilyn Brant which is a loose modern retelling of this (I didn't realize this until after finishing A Room with a View)
My Review:: No review for classics ;)