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The Enchanted April
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The Enchanted April

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,882 Ratings  ·  1,313 Reviews
Four women, all strangers, escape the dismal English weather for a month-long retreat in an Italian villa. Once there, the company of the other women along with the "wisteria and sunshine" brings each character to a heartening realization about herself.
Paperback, 232 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Waking Lion Press (first published 1922)
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Jasmine It was originally published in 1922 ^^
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June 2012

Dissatisfied with their respective lots in life, four English women divorce their respective husbands, get a hefty advance for a book deal, and go off to Italy to enjoy the wisteria (a kind of pasta, I think). After a month of wisteria and freesias and syringa (more pasta?), the women all go to India, where they become spiritual. Following that, they go to Bali, and take handsome exotic Indonesian men as lovers. When they return home, wiser and more enlightened than before, they write w
May 06, 2015 Eve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“It was, that year, a particularly wonderful spring, and of all the months at San Salvatore April, if the weather was fine, was best. May scorched and withered; March was restless, and could be hard and cold in its brightness; but April came along softly like a blessing, and if it were a fine April it was so beautiful that it was impossible not to feel different, not to feel stirred and touched.”

One of my aunts recently introduced me to fruit infused water. In the scorching Texas heat, which h
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Four proper English ladies, who don't really know each other at all, decide to pool their resources and rent an Italian villa for a month, in the 1920's. They all have different personalities and there are some conflicting expectations. To make matters worse, (view spoiler). How can this possibly not go south really fast ...more
Jun 30, 2013 Rowena rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, classics
“All down the stone steps on either side were periwinkles in full flower, and she could now see what it was that had caught at her the night before and brushed, wet and scented across her face. It was wistaria. Wistaria and sunshine.”

This was a lovely book about four English women who answer an advertisement to rent an Italian chateau in San Salvatore,Italy during a dismal April in England. The advertisement seems to be a godsend to these women, whose lives are not going the way they had hoped.

Enchanting Transformation

The enchantment of the title is apt, as there is an almost magical feel about the power of a beautiful landscape.

This is a carefully observed story of characters and transformation. It constantly juxtaposes light with underlying sadness and hope. It’s about finding the courage to shake off undeserved guilt, rattle convention, and be true to yourself – and thus to others in your life. “Now she had taken off all her goodness and left it behind her like a heap in rain-sodd
Apr 13, 2016 Helle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
There is something of enchantment in this story, not surprisingly given the title. It is the story of how four English women take a break from their lives, from rain-sodden London and from the Compass points of God, Husband, Home and Duty during the month of April to seek the idylls of an Italian castle. One of them, Mrs. Wilkins, is tempted by an ad in the newspaper that promises sunshine and wistaria – and who wouldn’t be tempted by such a dream? – and asks another woman, Mrs. Arbuthnot, to ac ...more
Apr 27, 2015 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle

Some spoilers ahead, so beware.

On a whim, I joined a few of my GR friends in a group read of this novel, which I'd not read previously. Originally published in 1922, the premise of the narrative is appealing: four unrelated women share a medieval castle on the Italian Riviera for a month, the "enchanted April" of the title. Each woman has a reason to escape her life in gloomy London and, in time, each woman is transformed by the experience.

The novel gets lots of love from reviewers and I unders
Jan 08, 2012 Mariel rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: I think I've made the spanish moss that grows on trees around here a bit jealous
Recommended to Mariel by: Elizabeth
There's a castle in Italy. Wisteria grows there. Can you picture the private wilderness? The castle is not important. It is a fortress to protect the plants. Don't tread on me. More importantly, can you see yourself there? It's a little place unmolested and unpressed on by who you are in all of those other places you can't quite see yourself in but you're still there all the same. If you wander around in that bit of wild life will you leave tracks in the dirt there too? You know that Camera Obsc ...more
Apr 29, 2010 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shall I tell you a secret? .. It's always been my fantasy to share a castle with my friends!

This book was a joy to read! It satisfies so many of my literary cravings: kinship, validation, botanical beauty. There's a shy misfit, a beautiful socialite. All four voices, though quite distinct, resonated with me in some way. Elizabeth von Arnim was very smart in the way she developed characters and intertwined their separate narratives into one cohesive whole. I was just enough aware of literary devi
John Steinbeck said, at the beginning of his book, Travels with Charley: In Search of America, that "...we do not take a trip; a trip takes us." I was reminded of that quote so many times while escaping to Italy in this wonderful book.

I don't think the power of a trip such as the one these four women took can be overestimated. We see in the novel how their lives were all transformed as a result. It's a pleasant story, but I think as women, as the primary (in most cases) caretakers of our homes
"To those who appreciate wistaria and sunshine..."

This is the second Elizabeth von Arnim book I've read recently, and I've enjoyed them so much I plan on reading more of her novels. Enchanted April is the story of four unhappy Englishwomen who impulsively rent a castle in Italy in April, and the experience changes them for the better. One finds peace, another vitality, and several find love. I was especially fond of the character Lotty Wilkins, the one who was convinced that a month in Italy wou
Grace Tjan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 18, 2015 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Von Arnim (1866-1941) was born of English parents in Australia but soon returned to England where she grew up. She subsequently lived a somewhat peripatetic existence in Europe, finally settling in the US.

This is a beautifully written novel. Von Arnim’s descriptions are evocative, her sense of pace perceptive and compelling. Her four main characters are distinct and individuated, although they are perhaps unrealistically stereotypical and a bit two-dimensional, as if created to prove
Apr 13, 2015 Candi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics-shelf
This was a delightful little story! Four women, previously unknown to one another, leave a dreary winter in England behind to take a one month April holiday in a small, charming Italian castle after responding to an advertisement in a newspaper. The descriptions of the landscape are very lush and made me wish that I could make such an escape myself after a seemingly never-ending winter.

“By the end of the week the fig-trees were giving shade, the plum-blossom was out among the olives, the modest
April is apparently the cruelest month, but my nomination would probably be those four weeks or so spanning the middle of October on up to Thanksgiving; I can't speak for anyone else, but for anybody on an academic calendar it's an interminably long period with not even a single three day weekend for some kind of brief respite, and Thanksgiving break is reached more or less in a state of exhaustion. It was during this period that I realized that if I couldn't actually take a vacation I was going ...more
Very enjoyable story of 4 English women who holiday in Italy to escape their lonely lives in London. The transformations wrought by the Italian sun and the landscape are wonderful to behold. There is a delicious note of irony behind the narrative as we watch these women wake up in a decidedly un-feminist time from their pre-holiday existences. I definitely think I'll re-read this book in the future.
I find Enchanted April to be an extremely difficult book to review. The book is too close to my heart. Not in the same way that Possession or The Lord of the Rings are, but in some secret hidden corner.

Enchanted April is about four women who rediscover life. It is about four women who rediscover the meaning of friendship. It's about four women who learn to leave the prejudices behind. It is about the discovery and rediscovery of love. Above all, it is about Italy.

The book is one those perfect bo
Beth Bonini
Like the four women who spend a month together in a flower-bedecked castle in Italy, the readers must surrender herself (or himself!) to the gentle, romantic and somewhat mystical charms of this book. It's a book about friendship, love and transformation; it is about journeys both external and internal, and the art of opening oneself to beauty and fresh possibilities. Von Arnim's style is breathy, and she is prone to the rhetorical device of repetition, but her sense of humour and occasionally s ...more
Apr 05, 2015 Margitte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book, first published in 1922 and re-published in 2007 by the New York Review Of Books.

San Salvatore in Italy, as well as all the characters in the book, stole my heart.

Will write a review later.
Apr 17, 2012 Marialyce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: april-2012
Loved, loved, loved it.

This was a perfect peaceful book. There were no major issues nor were we trying to solve the problems of the planet. This was just a book where the important message was to be selfish, to allow yourself to get back to the things that are always the most important, that of your love for each other. Yes, it does sound oh so maudlin, but this sweet, kind book is just what I needed. It made me say ah at the end (and really mean it!)

Our story follows four woman thrown together
Claire McAlpine
Jun 06, 2015 Claire McAlpine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, classic
Enchanting indeed! I knew what to expect from Elizabeth von Arnim having already read Elizabeth and her German Garden and I recognise the same traces of character in her four ladies that have gone off to Portofino for a Ligurian holiday here.

San Salvatore, the villa where they will spend their month becoming acquainted with each other as they are virtual strangers before this "women escaping husbands and other drudgery" holiday, acts like a magic spell slowly infiltrating the stiffness, solitary
Apr 21, 2012 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kathryn by: Susan Branch
Ask me if I want to go to San Salvatore, the castle with four friends in April. Oh my yes I would. I want my own room, my own sitting garden, I want tea in the afternoon, I want to sit in the splendor of the beautiful grounds overflowing with sumptuous trees and delicious flowers. Oh, and have some one cook for me, another to lay the fire, hot baths without blowing up the hot water tank. Yes, yes, yes I want to go there. Such a delightfully charming read. The movie is on it's way!
Mar 31, 2008 Genevieve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone that feels down or negative
Recommended to Genevieve by:
I started out thinking the book would be a dull but pretty book of description but I was wrong. Then I thought there would have to be some unseemly affair to make the book a romance since the 2 main characters were already married but I was wrong. Then I thought that I would have to sludge through good women being taken advantage of and again I was wrong. I had all the wrong ideas about this book and they caused me to waste all of that time dreading nothing. In the end it was nothing but lovely ...more
I had a pitched battle with myself with this book. Cynical Me VS Romantic Me.

In the blue corner, we have Romantic Me. Loves Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain. Also likes books located in European locations; women finding independence; and the peacefulness of books that are without ugliness and cruelty. Also likes the occasional spot of romance.

(view spoiler)
Jun 07, 2012 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who Appreciate Wisteria and Sunshine (and good books!)
Recommended to Kathryn by: many friends, to whom I am grateful!
When Lotty Wilkins, wilted but not empty in spirit, found an advertisement in the London Times one damp and miserable February afternoon regarding a small medieval Italian castle on the shoes of the Mediterranean to be let, furnished, for the month of April, she could not resist. The notice beckoned "to Those Who Appreciate Wisteria and Sunshine" and Mrs. Wilkins certainly needed sunshine in her life. Her enthusiasm for the place spreads to Mrs. Rose Arbuthnot, a pious woman secretly nursing the ...more
This was a delightful story, simply delightful. Filled with warmth and generosity of spirit the pages just flew by.

Loved the characters, especially the female characters. The wonderfully prickly Miss Fisher, the unsettled Lady Caroline, exuberant Lotty and the shy and withdrawn Rose. Each woman comes into their own when they share a villa in the beautiful Italian countryside.

There are some pockets of humour interspersed throughout this wonderful story and at one stage I was laughing out loud. Th
Nov 12, 2011 Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely, lovely comfort read full of beauty and friendship. You will be transported from dreary, rainy, 1930's England to the sunny Italian Coast where 4 previously unacquainted women leave convention behind, discover a little more about themselves and find love in all its forms. If you are looking for something to lift your spirits, fill you with the joy of spring and no loose ends to leave you hanging or unsatisfied then this is your book.

The Enchanted April is a charming read and one I feel
I found myself so ‘enchanted’ by this book that I was inspired to create a new GoodReads shelf entitled ‘charming’. Yes (groan), pun intended!

I thought the writing was a bit dated at first, but once I got into the book I didn’t even notice it anymore. The beginning of the book was a little slow, and the ending seemed very rushed, but the middle… ah, the middle was perfection. I had no idea that this was going to turn out to be a farce, and a very clever one at that. I frequently found myself lau
Jun 21, 2008 Yulia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Yulia by: Happyreader
Bravo, I'm in love with this book, from beginning to end. A new favorite! Predictable, yes, and with dissatisfying male characters, but I could forgive her for almost anything.


Lovely lines so far:

"[. . .] and they had a prolonged quarrel, if that can be called a quarrel which is conducted with dignified silence on one side and earnest apology on the other, as to whether or no Mrs. Wilkins had intended to suggest that Mr. Wilkins was a villa."

October 27, 1999

Such a kind story, so generous. Von Arnim really captures how different one can feel on vacation, how open to possibility. I first read this in 93 or so, when I was still a newlywed. And I took very much to heart the point about not trying to get everything exactly even in a marriage, that score-keeping was not a good way to go.

Not that you should read it for marriage advice. Read it because a cold wet winter of a mood can be dispelled by the warmth of spring in the sun. It's the
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The Enchanted April: Chapters 17-22 24 11 Apr 30, 2015 04:59AM  
The Enchanted April: Chapters 5-10 17 12 Apr 29, 2015 02:52PM  
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The Enchanted April: Chapters 11-16 3 9 Apr 25, 2015 11:27AM  
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Elizabeth, Countess Russell, was a British novelist and, through marriage, a member of the German nobility, known as Mary Annette Gräfin von Arnim.

Born Mary Annette Beauchamp in New Zealand while her family resided in Sydney, Australia, she was raised in England and in 1891 married Count Henning August von Arnim, a Prussian aristocrat, and the great-great-great-grandson of King Friedrich Wilhelm I
More about Elizabeth von Arnim...

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“Beauty made you love, and love made you beautiful.” 38 likes
“... Why, it would really be being unselfish to go away and be happy for a little, because we would come back so much nicer.” 21 likes
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