In E. M. Forster's first novel, an effete English family and their acquaintances encounter an authentic and vital society in the hills of Italy. Vacuous Lilia visits Monteriano in Tuscany and impulsively marries. She realizes her mistake too late to save herself but her English in-laws attempt to rescue the issue of her marriage. Upon arriving in Monteriano, they find that their wealth and education count for less than they thought. Rigid Harriett breaks herself against the local culture and provokes a tragedy, but the more sensitive members of the rescue party, Philip and Miss Abbott, profit in ways that they did not expect.
Forster uses a quiet, simple style that lets the reader be moved by his rather sudden plot revelations. While this is a short novel, Forster finds room for a sincere appreciation of the charms of fictional Monteriano and some gentle humor. I imagine that this very approachable novel would appeal to many different types of readers.