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Enchanted August

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  2,111 ratings  ·  423 reviews
On a dreary spring day in Brooklyn, Lottie Wilkes and Rose Arbuthnot spot an ad on their children’s preschool bulletin board:  
Hopewell Cottage
Little Lost Island, Maine.
Old, pretty cottage to rent on a small island.
Springwater, blueberries, sea glass.
Neither can afford it, but they are smitten—Lottie could use a break from her overbearing husband and Rose from he
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 2nd 2015 by Pamela Dorman Books
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Kathy Well, for one thing, the characters are Americans vacationing in Maine. Enchanted April is another story.

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Average rating 3.28  · 
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Staying on an island off the coast of Maine can be a peak summer experience, and Brenda Bowen gets full points for imagining what a relief it would be to leave New York in August. She places four out-of-sorts New Yorkers by the ocean; taken out of their usual environment and away from family and friends, they should be able to see their lives with some perspective and clarity. The book is meant to be a light-hearted summer romance but I found myself unable to be convinced by the characters.


Okay, I couldn't. I tried, but I just can't.

Not only did this book move at a snail's pace but these women are intolerable. The husbands are blatant assholes. The women are planning an escape from whatever troubles they may have - #RichPeopleProblems - and originally the concept interested me. A cottage away in Maine to roast lobsters and pick blueberries and enjoy a clambake here or there, whatever.

Was it? No. It couldn't be less. I mean, yeah, they did do those things but this cast co
Jun 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, fan-fiction
Structured on the plot of Elizabeth von Arnim's much loved classic The Enchanted April, Enchanted August, takes the same named four characters, changing them from English to American setting them in modern times with its contemporary problems, obsessions and inclinations and instead of an Italian castle, they wins up at Hopewell Cottage, Little Lost Island in Maine.

With more than 4,000 islands in this archipelago, they should be hard to find, one of the reasons the destination appeals to Carolin
May 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
(I got this book free from
Why are all of the characters in chick lit horrible? Is it just the books I’ve been picking up or is the genre really this awful? I quit this book halfway through because I couldn’t handle it anymore. Two unfulfilled housewives, an unemployed socialite and the living embodiment of a gay male stereotype go to a cabin in Maine (not the start of a joke, just the start of this novel). The owner of said cabin is apparently a creeper who lives in the attic an
Barbara A.
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Pure pleasure. Well set up plot line/situation and particularly well defined and sympathetic young women characters. I have lived in Brooklyn's Park Slope (where the book begins) for 40plus years and raised a now grown son in the the more funky and self consciously progressive days of 'the Slope'. I suspect that younger women will respond to Bowen's book the the same way I did when I first read Anna Quinlen or Wendy Wasserstein as a young working mother in a rocky marriage oh so many years ago. ...more
Aug 02, 2015 rated it liked it
A retelling of The Enchanted April (1922) by Elizabeth Von Arnim, here 4 strangers fleeing problems and spouses rent a big old summer cottage on Little lost Island , Maine , instead of a castle. Ocean, sand, lobsters, blueberries, and sun on an island which can only be reached by Ferry boat is the perfect setting for strangers to become friends, families to reunite, and for some to find love. A nice beach read for those who got to the beach this summer , or for those like me who only wish we had ...more
May 30, 2016 rated it did not like it
Elizabeth von Arnim's The Enchanted April is the book I should've read for a second time and not wasted hours reading this horrid book. I believe they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, well this wasn't! I tried to go with the flow on this novel, and I just couldn't do it. I guess I need to remember to stick with the original and not the copy!
N.N. Light
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this! Such a sweeping novel and didn't want it to end!

My Rating: 5+ stars
Aug 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't stomach the characters, Beverly was the only one I could tolerate. The story teliing itself was also weird- some of the events seemed slapped together and there were a lot of parts where the timing of things didn't make sense. I had high hopes for it- the synopsis seemed so lovely- but everything just fell short.
May 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whether you've read Elizabeth von Arnim's The Enchanted April or not, Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen is a near-perfect summer novel. So clear your calendar, pull up a beach chair, pour a cold drink, and prepare to be transported.

Just like The Enchanted April's castle in Italy, I inhabited Hopewell Cottage on Little Lost Island, Maine... and regular readers of this blog know how much I love Maine! I gazed at the ocean, gathered sea glass, smelled the flowers, listened to birdsong, and feasted o
Monica Edinger
Feb 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
An absolutely delightful confection. This is an ensemble piece, a window into the slow dawning of happiness for a collection of not-so-happy New Yorkers, those of a certain artistic/literary world. The setting is lovingly represented, clearly one the author knows well. There are wittily crafted sentences, nothing harsh, but some gently realistic about this particular class and group of people. Somewhat in the vein of Meg Wolitzer, but a bit more lighthearted. Clever and charming, overall a terri ...more
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
The premise of the book was so promising but it fell short. This was mainly due to the characters who feel flat. None of them were interesting or likable. A month in Maine in August without any responsibilities sounds heavenly but the book didn't lend itself to the escape the reader would expect or want.
Christopher Hicks
Aug 08, 2018 rated it liked it
The premise of this book sounded so promising. It was in fact a fun enough read if you could get past the fact that the majority of its characters were absolutely horrible people. The thought of spending a month at a cottage in Maine and everything that goes with that was what was exciting. The story itself was choppy and disjointed in places and I found myself confused a couple times as to what day we were on but then I realized I really didn’t care. The few big plot twists were easy to figure ...more
The Lit Bitch
3.5 stars
This was a book that is a little outside my comfort zone. I normally don’t read a lot of women’s fiction but I thought the setting and the promise of a personal ‘journey’ for our women characters was appealing.

The setting intrigued me. I haven’t read a lot of ‘true beach reads’ but a summer on the eastern seaboard held a lot of interest for me. Visions of clam chowder, clam bakes, and long lazy bike rides filled my minds eye.

This book and it’s setting embodied the east coast summer hous
May 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Enchanted August
Brenda Bowen

My " in a nutshell" summary...

Lottie and Rose and Caroline and Beverly and even will find out more about Possum when you read the book...find themselves renting a "cottage" in Maine for the month of August. All of them really need an escape and they are all hoping that they will find peace at the "cottage". The absolute best part of the cottage is that it's on an island in Maine...Little Hope Island. The island is inhabited by other summer Islanders and
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
I received a free advanced reader copy for review. I was looking to read something lighthearted and fun and summery but this book was a lot of frustrating fluff. With the exception of Beverly, an elderly gay man mourning the loss of his partner and his cat the characters were insufferable. Robert - owner of the cottage, I think was meant to be a romantic idealist but seemed like a pathetic stalker type. The husbands were terrible and the wives were shallow. Ugh I wish this was better because I d ...more
Jun 14, 2015 rated it liked it
I received this from First to read in exchange for a review. This is the contemporary version of An Enchanted April. Setting is moved to a remote island in Maine. I really enjoyed these characters to the original. Plenty of laugh out loud moments. Favorite character was Beverly Fisher. The author has quite a way with getting the characters personalities to leap off the page. This would make a funny Rom-Com movie.
Original Post: Adaptation: ENCHANTED AUGUST (included a Giveaway)

Audiobook provided by publisher for review purposes. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.

One of my favorite movies has been ENCHANTED APRIL, a 1992 film directed by Mike Newell (IMDB) with actors both well, and not so well, known. It has charmed me each time I have seen it.

So, the title ENCHANTED AUGUST on Penguin Random House’s tear shee
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
I don't know if it was my pain medication or what, but I found it hard to concentrate while reading this book. There was too much going on and not enough to hold my interest. I just read and read and kept waiting for the point to be made.

Enchanted August was hailed as a modern re-telling of The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim. I have not read that book, so I can't really note how this compares to that one.

We follow four characters, Lottie, Rose, Caroline, and Beverly. Most of the book r
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Hopewell Cottage
Little Lost Island, Maine
Old, pretty cottage to rent, on a small island.
Springwater, blueberries, sea glass.

Such a small, nondescript ad, and yet one that Lottie Wilkes and Rose Arbuthnot can't resist. A cottage in Maine, all to themselves. It would be the perfect getaway! To cut costs, the two women post their own ads, bringing in two more renters: Beverly Fisher, who isn't exactly what they expect, and Caroline Dester. THE Caroline Dester.

Hopewell seems to find the ren
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
To the point: I liked this book, I felt it was very realistic and pretty calm. It's a contemporary novel about everyday life.

Review: This book is very tranquil. Just like the tranquility that Lottie and Rose are looking for. There is something so calm about the book that it makes it a perfect read. Especially a beach read. It's easy to get lost in the day-to-day things we all have to do and I think in that sometimes we lose who we are and we lose our connections in our relationships with the peo
Enchanted August certainly lives up to its 'modern retelling' angle - there are entire conversations quoted verbatim here that were from The Enchanted April! There were a few moments when I felt a little iffy about that, obviously there would be similarities, but here the original story was lifted in its entirety and transplanted to present day Maine. Instead of a castle, it's a giant cottage. Instead of a carriage bringing them to their destination, it's a ferry. Rather than send letters home t ...more
Charlotte Lynn
Jul 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good summer read is what I was looking for and that is exactly what Brenda Bowen gave me. The story of two moms, wives, and women who rent a cottage in Little Lost Island, Maine and then invite two strangers to join them to help offset the cost of the rent. I loved the dynamics between the renters. The lifestyles could not have been more different, the reason for escaping to Maine different, yet they worked together. I enjoyed getting to know each of the 4 renters more as the book went on. The ...more
Basically there are three kinds of people who read this book - ones who haven't read The Enchanted April, ones who have read the book, and ones who have read the book and it is one of their favorite books. I belong to the third group and as a result can't help but compare. The names of the four main characters are almost the same and the situations are also very much the same, with some added spice for 21st century readers. But it doesn't work as well in the 21st century as it did in the early 2 ...more
Jun 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Bowen, an award winning children's' author, has made her debut with Enchanted August. Four people rent a home on an island in Maine. Lottie is a young mother of one who has intuitions. She is very sweet and trusting. Rose is a mother of twins looking for an escape as she's just been told it might be a good idea to find another preschool for her son. Caroline is the actress who was humiliated on Oscar night after being snubbed and is looking for somewhere to hide out. Beverly is trying to recoup ...more
May 16, 2015 rated it liked it
An updating of Enchanted April but set on an island in Maine so more all-day lobster bakes than Italian castles. Sweet enough but not my thing. On the other hand, if it makes you go back and read Elizabeth Von Armin, that's a good thing. I don't know what it says about me but I found the ladies from the 1920s so much more sympathetic than their contemporary counterparts.
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
I didn't connect to this book, ended up scanning to read the second half.
Amy Vida
Dec 29, 2019 rated it liked it
This was an average read. There really wasn't much of a plot, and nothing to look forward to at the end.
Lisa Manske
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
Perhaps it wasn't fair of me to read this back to back with The Enchanted April. I did not expect this book to be on par with von Armin's masterpiece but this book was still disappointing. The characters were flat and not believable. One of the main characters causally wonders if her husband is having an affair with a co-worker the same way she might wonder if cherries are in season. Beverly was the only character who I could care about. The husbands, who are supposed to be unlikeable in the beg ...more
May 22, 2019 marked it as did-not-finish
Too much like 'April'
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BRENDA BOWEN read Pride and Prejudice in one sitting when she was twelve and has never quite recovered. She is devoted to Jane Austen, Mary Wesley, Philip Roth, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Dickinson, Billy Collins, Billy Shakespeare, Billie Holliday, Billy Wilder, and many other people named Billy. She lives and writes on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Her favorite food in all the world is the blueberry ...more

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