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To Let

(The Forsyte Chronicles #3)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,214 ratings  ·  90 reviews
To Let, the final volume of the Forsyte trilogy, chronicles the continuing feuds of the two factions within the troubled Forsyte family. The shadow of the past returns to haunt the lives of a new generation, as Irene's son Jon falls in love with Soames's daughter Fleur with tragic consequences.
230 pages
Published (first published 1921)
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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Kim

I'm not sure why I've found it difficult to write a review of this novel. It may be because much of what I want to say about it I've already written in my reviews of the the first two novels of the The Forsyte Saga trilogy, The Man of Property: The Forsyte Saga and In Chancery, which can be found here and here.

This novel is as witty a commentary on English middle class values as the first two novels in the trilogy. Galsworthy's prose is elegant and full of irony and yet he depicts even the leas
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Irena
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I didn't know John Galsworthy received the Nobel Prize. Apparently, the Nobel Prize in literature was awarded to him in 1932 for "for his distinguished art of narration which takes its highest form in The Forsyte Saga".

Well, this perfectly sums up my own impression of Galsworthy's writing and The Forsyte Saga: the art of narration. The theme, the setting, the elaborate plot, are all secondary to Galsworthy's art of bringing characters to life, of his mastery of depicting their passions and sorr
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E.
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have fallen in love with Galsworthy's writing. This third novel of the Forsyte Saga confirmed it. Few can describe a setting as well as he does. Few have such a subtle wit. And, most importantly, few writers convey human emotion as powerfully, subtly, and authentically as does Galsworthy.

When I had reached the 2/3rds points, I had the paradoxical emotions of wanting to hurry on to see how the story ends . . . and the desire to slow down and savor the remaining moments, not wanting to leave off
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D
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
A happy ending. Only, it's not really the ending since Galsworthy wrote 2 more trilogies as sequels to the Forsyte Saga. The whole is called 'The Forsyte Chronicles'. See this diagram to see the structure of the chronicles.

This quote from the end of the first trilogy sums up the family's ideology:

“To Let”—the Forsyte age and way of life, when a man owned his soul, his investments, and his woman, without check or question. And now the state had, or would have, his investments, his woman had her
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Ruthiella
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
“Through those trembling gold birch leaves he gazed out at London, and yielded to the waves of memory. He thought of Irene in Montpellier Square, when her hair was rusty-golden and her whit shoulders his – Irene, the prize of this love-passion, resistant to his ownership.

This is the last book in the first Forsyte trilogy. The first two books are The Man of Property and In Chancery. This was a satisfying conclusion to the series but be forewarned: if you look at the family tree too closely, you
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Griselda
Nov 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Sadly, Jon and Fleur Forsyte just do not have as much to offer the reader as their parents and grandparents do in the earlier volumes of The Forsyte Saga. The book goes over and over the relationship, making very slow forward progress. The death of Timothy really does mark the end of the 'proper' family and leaves only Soames as a character of any interest.
Leslie
Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4½ stars. What a fitting yet melancholy ending to the Forsyte saga! I even felt sorry for Soames by the end...

A word of warning -- this novel does NOT stand alone! To be appreciated, or even understood, the previous novels & 'interludes' of the series need to be read first.

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Nadia
Aug 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
*contains spoilers*

The Forsyte saga continues and now many years have passed since the events of the second book. The old generation of Forsytes - except Timothy - have all died and their children are growing older themselves. The First World War has come and gone but is only mentioned in passing, English society continues its endless cycle of change. The youngest generation of Forsytes, Soames’ daughter Fleur and Irene's son Jon enter the story as children of a new era, unknowingly haunted by t
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Courtney H.
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
To Let finishes up the Forsyte saga (but is only third in Galsworthy's 9 books). It picks up two decades after the end of "In Chancery," and clashes the two Forsyte branches--Soames and Jolyon/Irene--together when their children, now grown, meet and fall in love. This book engaged me more quickly than the first two in the series, possibly because the groundwork was done, and I was already bought into the characters. The second generation is aging, and the first generation hangs on by a thread; T ...more
Leslie
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
In this third installment of the saga, the aftermath of the war has moved from subtext to text. One world has definitively gone, and those who were a product of it are struggling with their dislocation from it. Soames is the most overtly conscious of that dislocation and the most angry about it. This is the first book also where the time of its setting and its publication are the same; Galsworthy is no longer looking backwards at a time lost and remembered but outwards, like Soames but with more ...more
Ali
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
To Let the third book of The Forsyte Saga opens several years after we last saw the Forsyte family, it is now 1920, and Fleur, Soames’ daughter and Jon, Jolyon and Irene’s son are almost nineteen, and so far have never met. Since the scandal which resulted in Irene marrying her ex-husband Soames’ cousin Jolyon Forsyte, the two sides of the family have not met. Fleur and Jon have so far heard no whiff of the events of twenty years earlier; their parents have shielded them from the past, each of t ...more
Dr.J.G.
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To Let goes on with lives of the various families, and chiefly of young Jolyon and his now wife Irene and their home at Robin Hill, with his other children and their various cousins and uncles being part of the story. Soame's nephew Val Dartie falls in love with young Jolyon's daughter by his second marriage, Holly, and the two second cousins manage to marry and be happy in spite of an initial lack of acceptance by the clan due to their being not only second cousins but also related to parties f ...more
Jim Grimsley
Oct 31, 2020 rated it liked it
This is the best of the Forsyte saga trilogy, a pleasant surprise, since I found the second installment to be tepid. In this novel it feels to me as though Galsworthy is writing of something closer to his own heart, and the depictions of Jon and Fleur are so very touching. The book made me forget the television adaptation, which has been my problem with reading these novels all along: because the adaptations do not do justice to the original in the case of To Let. Galsworthy writes of the full f ...more
Victoria Evangelina Allen
Jan 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Victoria Evangelina by: my Mom

~LIFE TO LET~
The Forsyte Saga, Book Three

Galsworthy writes about the primitive and driving all desire of a human being: to possess and to belong. But the harsh irony of life is that we come into this world naked and alone, and we leave it in the same way. During the great journey called life we can feed the illusions of fullness of ownership, but we cannot own our dearest "possessions": spouses, children and even what we think is rightfully ours. People we love - or want to control for their own
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Fidan Selim-Zade
Sep 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I loved the way 'The Forsyte Saga' made me deeply feel the tacit devotion, love, and attachment between parents and children in bourgeois families of the Victorian century, that sadly was replaced by fast-moving life and morals of the 20th century. Maybe trivial drama for today's literature, full with the examples of old rules and manners; yet the language and story gets more and more developed and sound, and makes reader enjoy the novel.

Couple of citations I liked:

Jolyon Forsyte:
Ah! why on eart
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Gopal Vijayaraghavan
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the last novel of the family saga of Forsyte. In this emotional drama of love between fourth generation cousins of Forsyte family, the forbidden Romeo and Juliet like love love between Jon and Fleur is narrated. The heart break which is caused between a father and daughter and a mother and son opens old wounds and rivalries between Soames and Joylon. As the young lovers, unaware of the past, want the past not to stand in their way, their parents hold that they cannot escape the long shad ...more
Bob In
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the book a lot. Galsworthy has a very, nice evocative touch with nice personality insights.
However, he rushed the ending. It was not in full scene, but in summary, muting, for me, the emotional impact of changes Fleur and Jon chose.

His diction sometimes was archaic, but it usually pleased me. Here's two passages that especially pleased me.

His mother never made him practice piano tunes he didn't like, "so that he remained eager to convert ten thumbs to eight fingers."

He was quite of th
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Gayathri
Sep 25, 2018 rated it liked it
A family feud which long forgotten is kindled when the fourth generation of the Forsyte meet and fall in love. The family struggling to let go and put past behind for the sake of their kids leads to twists and turns in the story. The title itself is irony to the story where people have taken their time to understand it is important to let go to open to new and positive avenues in life. This is the third part of the Forsyte saga and the first one that I have read. I was a little disappointed with ...more
Phil Atteberry
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book concludes the trilogy known as The Forsyte Saga and the first of three trilogies which--along with some short fiction--comprise The Forstye Chronicles. To Let continues to the develop the the themes established in the earlier novels, though it explores in more detail how the mistakes of one generation affect those who come later. This third volume is not quite as good as the first two because two of the central characters, young Jon and Fleur, are not quite as complicated and interesti ...more
Michael Stewart
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This volume is the resolution of the Forsyte family's domestic trauma detailed in A MAN OF PROPERTY.

Enjoyed it immensely but the new generation, as no doubt their parents would attest, cannot hold a candle to the strength and temerity of their elders.

The 3 volumes have taken us from 1880s to post-WW I Jazz age. Fashion and technology may change, but family discord outlasts the societal upheavals. Fleur Forsyte is entitled and grasping, but even she is no match for the bond between her father's e
...more
Jgknobler
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
The third and final book of The Forsyte Saga, by now one almost--though by no means completely-- understands the familial relationships without constantly going back to the family tree. Oh poor, property-loving, unsexy Soames, who can't feel or inspire love. I first met him in the 2002 BBC miniseries, played by Damien Lewis, who would go on to find fame and sexiness in Homeland. At any rate, Galsworthy's portrayal of the British upper (though not aristocratic) class before and after WWI is enter ...more
Nancy Welbourn
This review is by my grandmother, from her "Books I Have Read" diary, started in 1938. It is on page 15. She also reviews "The Forsyte Saga" as a whole.

In this book, Irene and Jolyon's son, Jon, falls in love with Soames' and Annette's daughter, Fleur. Neither of them know the old story and then finally they do. Jolyon dies and Jon decides that he can't marry Fleur and takes Irene to British Columbia. Fleur gets married to a man she doesn't love.

Additional information:
Publisher: Charles Scribner
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Karen
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book, To Let, is the conclusion to the Forsyte Chronicles. This book is mostly about Fleur and Jon, the youngest generation of Forsytes, but it is through this book I can appreciate the complexity of Soames. Soames, by the end of this book, becomes worthy of sympathy. Everything that happened before in this trilogy foreshadows how Fleur's marriage will end -- Like Soames and Irene's -- and Soames will finally appreciate Irene's suffering.
SusanwithaGoodBook
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This ended much better than I had expected. Somehow Galsworthy managed to wrap up the story in a very satisfactory way, while still leaving some unresolved feelings for the characters. I love that he was able to tell a very compelling story over such a long period and it didn't feel totally overdone by the end.

I'm still not interested in the next generation, but the story of Soames and Irene was still as interesting in this last book as it was in the first.
Naira
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Who else feels for Soames? I can’t be the only one after all. Yes, he’s done terrible things, but its not that Irene was an angel. And that’s one piece of extraordinary writing, not going into an easy way of making an ultimate hero or an ultimate villain, rather making them so genuine and human with all the flaws, mistakes and feelings. Its elusive whether the author symphatised with both, maybe a little bit more for Irene, but nonetheless feeling for Soames.
Inès
Aug 17, 2019 rated it liked it
« To Let » finally brings closure to the quarrel between Soames Forsyte and Irene while introducing a new generation of Forsyte. Galswhorthy’s style and wit is consistent trough the three volumes of the series, but even though this classic of British literature is quite enjoyable to read, I remained only mildly interested in this family’s story, and I don’t mind leaving the characters behind. I might give a chance to the TV adaptation...
Curt
May 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
John Galsworthy is an excellent writer and I enjoy reading his works. Fleur and Jon should have gone to Scotland as they discussed and declared themselves married rather than let their problematic parents ruin their love.
I didn't know you could go to Scotland and declare yourselves married but the end result might have been happier for the young lovers.
I guess all this is one more example of money (and property) can't buy happiness.
Schopflin
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished-in-2019
This five is for the effect of reading 'To Let' as the climax of the first trilogy. It is impressive, and extraordinarily cohesive given that the world of 'To Let' didn't exist when 'A Man of Property' was written. A genuine masterpiece. And I even found space in my heart for Soames in the end. Far more than the sum of its parts!
Lisa Manske
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
We leave Soames Forsyte in Highgate Cemetery, looking out over London. He reflects on his life and wonders how he can have everything but not the loving of the world.

Soames is not a likeable character yet Galsworthy is able to have us shed a tear on his behalf. We know where he went wrong but he doesn't-- he only knows that he has everything and nothing.
Meirav Rath
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
Another excellent book!
The Forsyte family tells the story of history, through individual characters.
And the historical theme of this book - true modernity crashes the last fragments of the Victorian age!!
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John Galsworthy (alias John Sinjohn) was an English novelist and playwright whose literary career spanned the Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian eras.

In addition to his prolific literary status, Galsworthy was also a renowned social activist. He was an outspoken advocate for the women's suffrage movement, prison reform and animal rights. Galsworthy was the president of PEN, an organization that sou
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Other books in the series

The Forsyte Chronicles (9 books)
  • The Man of Property (The Forsyte Chronicles, #1)
  • In Chancery (The Forsyte Chronicles, #2)
  • The White Monkey (The Forsyte Chronicles, #4)
  • The Silver Spoon (The Forsyte Chronicles, #5)
  • Swan Song (The Forsyte Chronicles, #6)
  • Maid In Waiting (The Forsyte Chronicles, #7)
  • Flowering Wilderness (The Forsyte Chronicles, #8)
  • One More River (The Forsyte Chronicles, #9)

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