Howards End is a beautifully subtle tale of two very different families brought together by an unusual event. The Schlegels are intellectuals, devotees of art and literature. The Wilcoxes are practical and materialistic, leading lives of "telegrams and anger". When the elder Mrs. Wilcox dies and her family discovers she has left their country home - Howards End - to one of the Schlegel sisters, a crisis between the two families is precipitated that takes years to resolve.
E.M. Forster's Howards End is a vivid portrait of London's golden age, before World War I forever changed its values and culture. Forster brings the great city's upper classes to life, detailing their grandiose spending habits, popular fads, Monet and Debussy, the rise of feminism, and the beginnings of urbanization. More than a mere idealization of pre-war London, Howards End provides insightful commentary on the rapid societal changes that occurred at the onset of the 20th century. Masterfully blending the stories of three vastly different groups of people - the independently wealthy, educated Schlegels; the nouveau riche Wilcoxes; and the ambitious but struggling Leonard Bast - Forster weaves a wonderfully rich, unforgettably poignant novel.