Author: E. M. Forster
First published: 1905
Locale: England and Italy
Plot: Social realism
Time: Early twentieth century
Lilia Herriton, a young English widow. Unhappy in her life with her late husband's family, she goes to Italy with Caroline Abbott. There she marries Gino Carella, but her life is unhappy. She dies giving birth to a son.
Philip Herriton, Lilia's brother-in-law. As the family messenger, Philip is sent to Italy to bring Lilia home, but he arrives too late to prevent her marriage to Signor Carella. He returns to Italy after her death to retrieve the child, only to fall in love with Miss Abbott and to become friendly with Carella. Although he thinks he understands the world, Philip discovers he knows nothing when the baby is killed and Miss Abbott falls in love with Carella.
Gino Carella, an Italian. Although poor and somewhat vulgar, Signor Carella is a man of splendid physique. Completely devoted to his son, he is nearly crushed by the child's accidental death.
Harriet Herriton, Lilia's sister-in-law, whose scheme to kidnap the baby from Carella results in the child's death when a carriage overturns.
Mrs. Herriton, the matriarch of the Herriton family in Sawston, England.
Irma Herriton, Lilia's daughter. Left in England to be supervised by Mrs. Herriton, Irma announces to all of Sawston the news of her dead mother's Italian son.
Caroline Abbott, a friend who is responsible for Lilia's marriage. She goes to Italy again to retrieve the child, only to fall in love with Signor Carella.