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The Enchanted April

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  6,117 ratings  ·  968 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. First published in 1922, The Enchanted April was a best-seller in both England and the United States. It was made into a ...more
Paperback, 204 pages
Published April 23rd 2009 by Createspace (first published 1922)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jacob
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
...more
Rowena
“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.
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Mariel
Jan 08, 2012 Mariel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
Sarah
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
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Grace Tjan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura
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
...more
Diane
"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
...more
Jesse
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
Kathryn
Apr 21, 2012 Kathryn rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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!
Sue
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.
Marialyce
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
...more
Cristina
Thelma e Louise vittoriane?
Questo non solo è stato un piacevole romanzo, è stata la mia finestra aperta sul sole, una finestra da cui mi sono riempita gli occhi di colori e bellezza.
Aveva tutti gli ingredienti per essere un romanzetto noioso trasudante melassa e banalità, invece niente affatto; sufficientemente ironico, molto ben scritto, per nulla scontato.
Presa per mano e portata in vacanza a San Salvatore luogo dove tutto sembra possibile, dove si sciolgono crocchie troppo strette, spuntano
...more
Genevieve
Mar 31, 2008 Genevieve rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone that feels down or negative
Recommended to Genevieve by: ldssplash.com
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
Lee
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
...more
Kathryn
Jun 07, 2012 Kathryn rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
Chris
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
...more
Terry
I saw the movie adaptation of this novel first. I really enjoyed the movie though many might consider it a "chick flick." I read that the novel is also considered "a woman's book" and see that most reviewers are women. Despite that, here is my take on this delightful novel.

The novel is a fascinating character exploration of four English women from very different backgrounds and situations. They share a rented Italian chateau for a month. Each has come for her own reasons. Their interactions with
...more
Jen
Here goes:

Eldest sister, moi, yours truly, liked the book, found it delightful even though it was "light." The author, Ms. Elizabeth, did go on (and on and on and on) about the acacias in riotous bloom and the cherry blossoms who had so tenderly started to bud, and the blah blah blah. I love nature too, but lady, the characters, please! This is not "The Giving Tree"... All in all, surprisingly good for a nice summer read. Kind of like angel cake: sweet, a bit spongy. Needs something. Strawberr
...more
Melee
Lovely, lovely book! I've been wanting to read Elizabeth von Arnim's work for what seems like forever, but my library system is pathetically lacking in that respect (except for the film version of Enchanted April which I watched last month). When I found a great number of Elizabeth von Arnim's novels on Project Gutenberg I was in heaven! Though reading books online is not ideal, it's so convenient for those books I can't find anywhere else. But I will definitely be buying a tangible copy of The ...more
Beth
Whenever I find myself bogged down by read too much Faulkner or Steinbeck, I take the time to re-read this book. Or Anne of Green Gables. It’s that sort of book: warm, tender, refreshing.

Mrs. Wilkins and Mrs. Arbuthnot are weary. Weary of social pressures and distant husbands, weary of constantly giving and never receiving anything in return, weary of pretending to be something they’re not. All this weariness is bundled up under the dismal weather that is London in the winter. On a whim, after s
...more
Yulia
Jun 21, 2008 Yulia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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."

"
...more
Carol
What an enjoyable read, originally published in 1922, these wonderful women decide to leave their dissatisfaction with these boring everyday life, and reply to a London ad about this Italian medieval castle available in April to those who are looking for a change. Love the characters -- Rose (there for the poor), Lotty (who seems to say and do the wrong thing), Lady Caroline is tired of being the attracted to others, and Mrs. Fisher who has a lonely, sad disposition. At some point, each woman wa ...more
Stephanie
Joyful, funny and delicious. 4 women escape from a rainy English April to a castle in Italy for a month - and I can't believe it took me so long to discover this novel! I found it on a display at my local library, where they'd put out books described by the UK's Reading Agency as "mood-boosters" - and they were so right! This is a really lovely, uplifting (and hilarious - I laughed out loud several times) read, and halfway through reading my library copy I decided I needed to own my own copy, to ...more
Laura
What a lovely novel. The Enchanted April (1991)movie based on this book is available at You Tube.

Director: Mike Newell

Cast:

Josie Lawrence as Lottie Wilkins
Miranda Richardson as Rose Arbuthnot
Alfred Molina as Mellersh Wilkins
Neville Phillips as Vicar
Jim Broadbent as Frederick Arbuthnot
Michael Kitchen as George Briggs
Joan Plowright as Mrs. Fisher
Polly Walker as Caroline Dester

Kathryn
I listened to this as an audiobook. At first I wasn’t sure whether I would like it - it seemed like it might be a bit wishy-washy, but it was actually very cleverly written.

I can’t actually describe why it is so well-written, or what it was I liked so much about it. It made me chuckle as I listened to it and people were talking at cross-purposes but thinking they understood each other. I can describe the basic plot, but it is something that you really need to read for yourself, I think.

It start
...more
Maureen
this is really a lovely little book. i have seen the movie it is based on several times and always enjoyed it, and i suspect the fact that the film is so faithful to the novel lessened the impact of the read for me -- it is so very true that i found less engaging than i expected it to be. i suspect that had i read it first i would have given the book a higher rating, and i almost feel badly about giving it three stars. the film was shot in the place where the author wrote the novel, and its lush ...more
Mo
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
...more
Graceann
Jul 06, 2008 Graceann rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Good Novels
Recommended to Graceann by: Constant Reader
Shelves: classics
Please see my detailed review at Amazon.com Grace's "Enchanted April" Review"

Please click that the review was helpful to you at Amazon so that my rating continues to climb!

I am so glad that this book was nominated for the Classics group at Constant Reader. I knew the story, having enjoyed both film versions, but I had never settled in with the novel that begat them. Gorgeous literary style that had me able to smell the flowers, feel the sunshine, and yearn for my own month in Italy. I understa
...more
Bibliophile
The Enchanted April was, well, enchanting. I’d seen and adored the film version, but I’d never read the book before (and even though I read it in May, it did seem like the right time of year!) The story is very slight indeed – four strangers rent a castle in Italy together, and the combination of wisteria and sunshine ends up “fixing” what’s wrong with their lives in London – but it’s charmingly told, and Elizabeth von Arnim’s descriptions of the profusion of flowers and sunshine at San Salvator ...more
Duane
One of the real pleasures of reading is discovering those hidden gems, those novels that I had never heard of, that turn out to be perfectly enjoyable. The Enchanted April is somewhat of a fairytale, a fantasy that could happen, probably has happened somewhere before. It's the story of four English women, Londoners, who are unhappy with their personal lives, especially with the romantic side. They see an advertisement in a London paper for the April rental of a castle in an Italian fishing villa ...more
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2098
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
More about Elizabeth von Arnim...
Elizabeth and Her German Garden The Solitary Summer Vera Mr Skeffington The Pastor's Wife

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“Beauty made you love, and love made you beautiful.” 24 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.” 13 likes
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