The daughter of a late, prosperous solicitor, Lucy Honeychurch is a child of the nouveau riche. Young, naïve, and charming, she is the heroine of the novel. At the novel's start, she is relatively unformed. She knows what she has been taught, but she is often unsure what to think of it. Italy challenges many of the values and ideas with which she has been raised. She falls in love with George Emerson, but convention and self-deception make it very difficult for her to admit her own feelings. By the end of the novel, she is a strong and independent woman.
The son of a Socialist journalist, George Emerson is taciturn and brooding. With Lucy, he witnesses a murder in Florence, and the experience links the two young people together. By the standards of Lucy's social circle, George is clearly an unacceptable match for Lucy. But he is clearly the perfect match in all other ways. He is intelligent, thoughtful, and sensitive. He values Lucy for herself, and he wants her to be independent and strong.
George's father. Mr. Emerson is friendly, warm, and completely unaware of the limits of propriety. He is constantly offending people without knowing how or why. He believes strongly in following passion and the importance of loving the human body. At the end of the novel, it is his directness and wisdom that makes Lucy's final decision possible.
A prim old spinster, Charlotte is Lucy's cousin and her chaperone on the trip to Italy. She is rather unimaginative, passive aggressive, and irritating. She is firmly against Lucy's socializing with the Emersons, and she reflects the worst narrow mindedness and snobbery of her class and era. However, at the end of the novel, she makes a critical decision that makes Lucy's happiness possible.
Lucy's fiancé (or "fiasco," in the family lingo). Cecil is handsome and refined. He is also arrogant, unimaginative, and overbearing. He is completely unable to see the beauty in human beings, and he looks down his nose at everyone outside his circle of friends and acquaintances in the London aristocracy. His love for Lucy stifles her independence; he does not want her to be his equal.
The minister of Lucy's town, Mr. Beebe is a kind and good man. He recognizes Lucy's potential greatness early on; it is he who remarks that one day she will live as well as she plays her music. Mr. Beebe's most serious limitation is that he cannot understand passion. He is celibate, and believes that Lucy would be happiest if she, too, chose to be celibate.
Miss Eleanor Lavish
A lady novelist, Miss Lavish prides herself on being unconventional. In truth, she is just as snobby and unimaginative as the other British guests at the pension. Her novels are trite and poorly written. But her indiscretion makes it possible for George to have another chance with Lucy.
Lucy's mother. Mrs. Honeychurch is a loving and generous mother. She is not particularly cultured or sophisticated; she is very much a woman of comfortable means who appraises the arts uncritically and at a distance. But she understands people, and dislikes Cecil's pretentiousness and snobbery.
Lucy's brother. Nineteen years old, rough around the edges. He is devoted to his sister and cannot help disliking Cecil. He likes George from the moment that he meets him. Freddy is too young to have learned politeness, and he is resistant to the dictates of propriety.
Chaplain to a group of British nationals who reside in Florence. Snobbish, hateful, and unsympathetic, he slanders the Emersons without restraint or fairness.
The Miss Alans
Two spinster sisters, Theresa and Catherine, who stay at the same pension as Lucy. Later, they travel to Greece and beyond.
Mr. Beebe's young niece. A charming and spirited little girl, Minnie often stays as a guest of the Honeychurches.
Cecil's mother. London has crushed her spirit.
A Room With a View Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for A Room With a View is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.