Where Angels Fear to Tread , E. M. Forster's first novel, published 1905.
It is a tragi-comedy describing the consequences of the marriage of Lilia Herriton, an impulsive young widow, to the son of an Italian dentist, Gino Carella, whom she meets while touring in Tuscany, ineffectively chaperoned by 'charming, sober' Caroline Abott.
Lilia's mother-in-law in suburban Sawston, outraged by news of the engagement, dispatches her young son Philip Herriton, barrister and aesthete, to break off the match, but he arrives too late, for the couple are already married. Lilia dies shortly afterwards in childbirth, and Philip is once more dispatched, this time accompanied by his sister Harriet, to rescue the baby from imagined disaster. They meet Abbot in Monteriano, and both she and Philip find their intentions waver as they fall under the spell of Italy (there is a fine description of an enthusiastic Italian audience watching Lucia di Lammermoor) and become aware of Gino's strong feelings for and determination to keep his son; once more they admit defeat, recognizing, and in Miss Abbott's case much moved by, Gino's passion.
Without their knowledge Harriet kidnaps the baby, who is accidentally killed when their carriage overturns. Gino, hearing the news, attacks Philip, but the two are reconciled, after a fashion, through Miss Abbott's concern for both. As Philip and Miss Abbott travel back to England, he realizes that he has learned to love her, but she reveals that she loves Gino, and appears to be resigning herself to a spinster's life of good works in Sawston.
(Text from Drabble, Margaret. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Oxford, New York: OUP, 1998.; © Margaret Drabble and Oxford University Press 1985, 1995; cited here by permission of Oxford University Press.)
Where Angels Fear to Tread (1991) was directed by Charles Sturridge, adaption for film by Tim Sullivan (III) et al.. Cast overview, first billed only: Rupert Graves - Philip Herriton, Helen Mirren - Lilia Herriton, Helena Bonham Carter - Caroline Abbott, Barbara Jefford - Mrs. Herriton, Judy Davis - Harriet Herriton, Thomas Wheatley (I) - Mr. Kingcroft, Sophie Kullmann - Irma, Vass Anderson - Mr. Abbott, Sylvia Barter - Mrs. Theobald, Eileen Davies - Ethel, Siria Betti - Hotel-Keeper, Giovanni Guidelli - Gino Carella, Anna Lelio - Perfetta, Luca Lazzareschi - Spiridione, Sergio Falasca - Carriage Driver, ....; runtime: 116 min.; country: UK; language: English, Italian; colour: colour (Eastmancolor); sound: Dolby; certification: Australia:G, Germany:12, Spain:13, Sweden:11, USA:PG.