Ali's Reviews > The Enchanted April

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
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's review
Jan 29, 2012

it was amazing
Read in January, 2012

Oh my what a treat, I started this while in hospital a few hours after undergoing minor surgery, and finished it at home - and it was perfect reading for being laid up with. It is probably perfect reading for almost anytime. Four women who are little more than strangers to one another, and who are not, to begin with, entirely comfortable with one another, share a castle on the Italian riviera for the month of April. In sight of the sea and surrounded by flowers, their holiday in San Salvatore begins to work its magic on them all.
Lottie and Rose who first conceive the plan to escape to Italy are only slightly acquainted - both hail from Hamstead, both married, though each have problems in their marriages they wish to both escape and at the same time resolve. Their husbands - not at all sympathetically portrayed at the start - are changed too by the magic of San Salvatore. Mrs Fisher a much older widowed lady lives very much in the past, is not much given to frivolity, and is the most difficult of the group. Lady Caroline a famous beauty is tired of being starred at, grasped at and wants to be left alone. How a few weeks in beautiful surroundings serve to change these four different women is charmingly told. The characters of Rose and Lottie are especially well developed, and the descriptions of their marriages, and their feelings about them were well explored and added some depth to the novel. Even Mrs Fisher who to begin with seems a much less sympathetic character is depicted with honest affection and understanding. I loved every bit of this novel, and it ended too soon - always a good sign - and I look forward to reading more Elizabeth Von Arnim.
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Beth Bonini I remember the film as being lovely and touching. I should take the advice that I am always giving my students and give the book a try!

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