Lucy Honeychurch arrives in Italy for the first time, dependent on a Baedeker travel guide and her stern chaperone, Miss Bartlett. As she explores Florence, Lucy realises the constraints of her middle-class upbringing and finds herself attracted to George Emerson, a young man also staying at the Pension Bertolini. Then an impulsive kiss and the confusion that follows prompt a sudden departure from the city. Back in England and engaged to the domineering Cecil Vyse, Lucy meets George again. Caught between social obligation and a suppressed desire for a different life, she must learn how to be true to herself.
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