Tuesday 1 September 2009

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Armin

Pages - 361
First published in 1922, this copy published in 2002.
Challenges - 100+ books and A to Z Authors.
First Paragraph
It began in a woman's club in London on a February afternoon,-an uncomfortable club, and a miserable afternoon - when Mrs Wilkins, who had come down from Hampstead to shop and had lunched at her club, took up The Times from the table in the smoking room, and running her listless eye down the Agony Columns saw this:
To those who appreciate wisteria and sunshine. Small medieval Italian castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be let furnished for the month of April.
I came across this book over at Andreea's site, Passionate Booklover. Andreea wrote a beautiful review of it and knowing that I had the book in my collection I decided it would be a lovely book to read on holiday. As soon as I was settled in the car next to hubby for the long journey to Devon, the children quiet in the back engrossed in Mama Mia for the first of numerous occasions, I opened the book and was lost in an enchanting world set in the 1920's. I found myself whisked away to the Italian Riviera where I carefully selected my room in the castle in the wonderful town of San Salvatore, oblivious to the grey skies and drizzle outside the car.
Enchanted April follows the story of two downtrodden wives, Mrs Arbuthnot and Mrs Wilkins, both in their thirties, but stooping heavily under the burdens of their every day lives. They strike up a friendship after reading the same advert in a newspaper and decide on the spur of the moment to rent the castle together in Italy. Both women, concerned by the extortionate cost of the castle decide to advertise for two other women to join them and Lady Caroline Dexter, a strikingly beautiful, but worn out debutante and Mrs Fisher, an old widow tired by longevity.
The four women arrive at the castle and slowly begin to realise the magic within the walls of the castle that changes their outlook on life. The women become transformed by the beautiful gardens, the outlook over the Italian Riviera and the eternal sunshine. Each begins to allow a little love back into their lives and open up to the men in their lives as well as the other women around them.
This book was as enchanting as its title. The magical qualities of love and romance oozed out of the pages, setting me in the right frame of mind for a refreshing holiday. I could not read this book without a smile on my face. You could easily feel how the surroundings would bring about such changes in the characters. Each woman is transformed in their own way and in their own time.
I found this a simple and refreshing book to read, which left me with a feeling of tranquility by the end of the book. I absolutely loved the simplicity of how things should be. This book fills you with happy thoughts which certainly added to uplifting my holiday mood.
Elizabeth Von Armin wrote twenty one books during her lifetime. Her most famous book being Elizabeth and Her German Garden, a semi biographical book. My copy was published by Virago and I noticed that they published quite a few of her books which I shall definitely look out for now.
If you love reading about simplicity, love, and life during the 1920's, then this is a must for you.
I would definitely recommend this book.


  1. Don't you just that feeling a good book gives you?

  2. Not a book I'm familiar with but you sold with this quote "This book was as enchanting as its title. The magical qualities of love and romance oozed out of the pages ..." Thanks Viv!

  3. I actually have this in my collection too, and I'm looking forward to it even more now :D

  4. Thanks for mentioning me:) I'm glad you liked this book as much as I did. It's really an enchanting book! As you said, it leaves you "with a feeling of tranquillity"! Great review!

  5. There's a wonderful movie of this, as well, directed by the guy that made Four Weddings & a Funeral. It's got Miranda Richardson & Joan Plowright, among others.

  6. It's nice to know that the book lives up to it's wonderful title.

  7. I've had this book for years - probably not likely to get to it for a while either.
    I've signed up for an online scrapping class this September, hoping it doesn't eat up too much reading time!

  8. It does sound wonderful, one to look out for. How on earth do you read in a car without getting carsick though? Dd2 can do it and it constantly amazes me.

  9. I love the sound of this book. Thanks for the review, Viv!

  10. Oh this sounds lovely! I've seen the movie but haven't read the book. I'll have to pick this one up. Thanks!

  11. this sounds good, great review!
    I wish I could read during car rides, but I get motion sick :(
    It would have been great if I could have read when we drove 20 hours to Florida one summer on vacation...lol.

  12. Sounds like a beautiful book! I sure wish I could read in the car since we take 6 hour trip at least two times a year. Very, very boring.


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