"A Room With A View" Literary Dinner Party

So to wrap up our very first read-a-long, we threw ourselves A Room With A View dinner party to discuss the book and watch the 1985 movie with Helena Bonham Carter, Daniel Day Lewis, Maggie Smith, and Judi Dench. We've talked about how we create our literary dinner parties over here, here, and here, and this was no exception. We were going for a mix of English garden and Italian countryside, and of course trying to bottle up glorious spring! We also took some details directly from the text to really pay proper homage to this wonderfully warm little novel. 

We tend to always begin our dinner parties with some kind of appetizer to set the tone for the evening. This past week we decided to take advantage of the window of sunshine the PNW deigned to bestow on us, and picked up our tray of goodies and headed straight outside. We started off with a glass of Italian wine accompanied by marinated olives and simple caprese skewers, which were set off by a riotous jar of wildflowers.

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Appetizers are such a relaxing way to kick off our dinner parties, and gives us some solid time to catch up on each other's lives and settle into the evening. After a long, dark, dreary winter, the dappled spring sunshine in the late afternoon is such a refreshing change for us, and we took full advantage as we munched and talked while the kids happily sword fought with sticks and threw balls to each other in the backyard.

“Do you suppose there's any difference between spring in nature and spring in man? But there we go, praising the one and condemning the other as improper, ashamed that the same laws work eternally through both.” 

“Do you suppose there's any difference between spring in nature and spring in man? But there we go, praising the one and condemning the other as improper, ashamed that the same laws work eternally through both.” 

 From her feet the ground sloped sharply into view, and violets ran down in rivulets and streams and cataracts, irrigating the hillside with blue, eddying round the tree stems, collecting into pools in the hollows, covering the grass with spots of azure foam. But never again were they in such profusion; this terrace was the well-head, the primal source whence beauty gushed out to water the earth.

 From her feet the ground sloped sharply into view, and violets ran down in rivulets and streams and cataracts, irrigating the hillside with blue, eddying round the tree stems, collecting into pools in the hollows, covering the grass with spots of azure foam. But never again were they in such profusion; this terrace was the well-head, the primal source whence beauty gushed out to water the earth.

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Eventually the sky clouded back over and we moved inside to be greeted with bread topped with tomatoes fresh from the oven and dipping oil alongside all the fixings for Italian cream sodas. You know this was the kids' favorite part!

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While we waited on pasta water to boil, we sat and discussed the book, finding we had the same favorite scenes, and really enjoyed the overall warmth of the novel. We both just loved the classic scene where Lucy stumbles into the wildflowers and into George's embrace, as well as the scene where Mr. Emerson tells her she clearly loves George and can't run away from it, telling her:

“It isn't possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.” 

Dinner was just a classic Italian bolognese that I had made ahead and left simmering all afternoon, and we gathered up our heaping bowls of carb-y goodness and headed into the living room to watch the film. 

The movie really does do a good job of staying true to the book and capturing the characters well. We giggled over how ridiculous Cecil was, sighed over handsome George, and marveled at the nuanced interactions between characters. Definitely a solid accompaniment to the book and one of the more spot on book-to-film translations we've seen so far.

Of course we couldn't end the evening before indulging in Lucy's favorites: iced coffee and meringues for dessert! Bonus points for sitting by the piano, as we know Lucy's love for it. We also had a wider assortment of Italian cookies to appease our little humans and for maximum indulgence :)

"When he was introduced he understood why, for Miss Honeychurch, disjoined from her music stool, was only a young lady with a quantity of dark hair and a very pretty, pale, undeveloped face. She loved going to concerts, she loved stopping with her cousin, she loved iced coffee and meringues."  

"When he was introduced he understood why, for Miss Honeychurch, disjoined from her music stool, was only a young lady with a quantity of dark hair and a very pretty, pale, undeveloped face. She loved going to concerts, she loved stopping with her cousin, she loved iced coffee and meringues."

 

Overall, this was a book and movie combo we both really enjoyed, which isn't always the case, and was really a perfect novel for spring! We can't wait for increasingly nice weather, and are all kinds of excited for summery books and dinner parties on warm nights in the next couple months!

Again and again we say it: literary dinner parties are such a fun way to bring a novel to life, and very easy to pull off at home. Whether you have a book club, a bunch of friends, just one, or it's just you, let us see your dinner party by using #theardentbiblioreads or tagging us @theardentbiblio!