This is said to be the best of E. M. Forster's novels, I think it drags a little.,
This review is from: Howards End (Kindle Edition)
Howards End is undoubtably a good book, if not a great one. As a picture on the early 20th C with a mixture of Middle Class and Lower Class characters I find it hard to reconcile with what else I know about this period. I am sure that Mr Forster painted a perfectly plausible picture of the characters in his novel but they just don't fit in with the other works of that time.
The Schlegals, the main characters, may have lowered themselves to accomodate the Wilcoxes but for the beautiful Helen Schlegal to have "thrown herself away" on Leonard Bast really stretches the imagination. However bohemian these girls this sort of class movement did not, in my mind, happen and therefore, although a reasonable story, there appears an unreality which, for me, ruins it.
I suppose, like the later Lady Chatterley's Lover, which I don't find too good either, this was just written to tittilate and shock and it does not transform itself too well into the modern view of the early part of 20th C Britain. Although Forster was widely recognised and honoured and wrote many acclaimed books, better than this I think, such as Passage to India or even A Room With a View, he had an extremely complicated private life and I think this has skewed the theme of his novels. Yes he loved a married policeman but this was not normal behaviour even for the Bloomsbury Set of which he was a part (although homosexuality was widely practised).
So, to get a better idea of life around this time one can read Churchill or Stratchey or Brenan to span a very wide range, but to me this novel does not seem realistic.