MyGoodBookshelf's Reviews > The Enchanted April

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
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's review
Jul 30, 12

bookshelves: my-favourite-books, fiction, classics-modern-classics
Read from July 29 to 30, 2012

A must-read book, especially if you are heading to Italy- perfect holiday reading!

I collect designer VMC’s and I think this one has my favourite cover so far- it is just so elegant and the quality of the paper and cover is sublime. Before even opening the book I fell in love with it. As far as the contents go, I have read one Von Arnim novel before (Elizabeth and her German Garden) and wholly enjoyed it, so I knew I would undoubtedly enjoy this one as well.

Written in the early 1920’s, this charming novel revolves around four ladies who rent a medieval Italian castle for the month of April- the rather cowed Mrs Wilkins, the pious, religious Mrs Arbuthnot, elderly Mrs Fisher and finally, the beautiful Lady Caroline. All of these women are very different on the surface but have something in common- their unhappiness and desperate need to escape from their everyday lives and just have *something* happen to them.

Von Arnim’s descriptions of Italy are just wonderful. She excels in describing the scent of flowers, the spectacular views and the warmth of the Italian coastline. However, she is excellent at depicting people too, with underlying subtle humor and regular bouts of one upmanship between two characters in particular. To be honest, this book is a great character study, but it remains more than that for me. Written at a time when England was suffering post WWI, I think this novel is a gentle satire of society of the time and a reminder that beauty and hope can arise in the most unexpected of places. I love the journey that the characters undertake through the course of this book, without the novel itself becoming overly sentimental or saccharine.

This is a timeless, wonderful novel which I would recommend to anyone.

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Reading Progress

07/30/2012 page 115

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