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The Enchanted April

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  17,550 ratings  ·  2,596 reviews
A recipe for happiness: four women, one medieval Italian castle, plenty of wisteria, and solitude as needed.

The women at the center of The Enchanted April are alike only in their dissatisfaction with their everyday lives. They find each other—and the castle of their dreams—through a classified ad in a London newspaper one rainy February afternoon. The ladies expect a pleas
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Paperback, 232 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Waking Lion Press (first published 1922)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  17,550 ratings  ·  2,596 reviews


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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
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Four proper English ladies, who don't 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?

description
I saw
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Brina
Elizabeth von Arnim strikes me as an interesting character. A writer brought up in influential circles, she married no less than five times in her life, and also enjoyed an affair with writer H.G. Wells after he ended his own affair with Von Arnim's rival Rebecca West. When one of von Arnim's disastrous marriages ended in 1921, she decided to spend a month at Italian castello Portofino as a way to clear her head. The idea for her classic book The Enchanted April has been born. Von Arnim had the ...more
Fionnuala
I was to have been in Italy right now. Flights, accommodation, gallery tickets, all were booked months ago. I had even chosen books to take along.

So much faith in April being exactly how I'd planned seems innocent now.
And holidays have become unimportant—they are frills I can easily live without. In fact I've discovered I can live without a lot of things I used to think were essential, visiting friends, for example, going for long walks, browsing in bookshops, eating out. Eating at home has ch
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Steven Godin
You can't best a good old holiday in warmer climates, but for the four ladies at the heart of Elizabeth von Arnim's 1922 novel there is more to it than that. The story is both a triumph to the transformative power of travel, and charmed with a decorative feel like that of a sun-kissed fairytale. von Arnim certainly cast a spell over me, and although we may only be talking of the Italian coast, it really felt like being whisked further away, enraptured in another world.

Four very different women
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Candi
Mar 27, 2015 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
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Rowena
Jun 15, 2013 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.
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Beverly
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was so mesmerizing and lovely. I had heard of the movie and knew vaguely what it was about, but I didn't realize it was first a book until recently. Why? Everything that is any good, is always first a book. Four women seek a vacation in Italy to get away from a dreary, soggy London. April in Italy sounds like a precious dream and it is. Each lady is miserable and alone in their own ways, even though two of them are married.

Once it seems that the dream might become reality, they start to awa
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Bobby Underwood
Nov 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Much like the film this book by Elizabeth Von Arnim inspired, there is something peaceful here on these pages. This is a gentle novel about gradual internal changes brought about by the beauty of our surroundings. It is a book that reads itself as much as it is read, the author writing with the flow of the characters' thoughts and feelings, as their hearts are changed by the surprise of beauty.

An ad to rent a castle in San Salvatore on the Italian Riviera will prompt two British women of slight
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Diane Barnes
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I'm not sure I have enough wonderful adjectives for this little novel. In this time of bad news all around the globe, travel restrictions, event cancellations, panicked people buying up hand sanitizer and whatever else will see them through, this turned out to be the perfect novel at the perfect time. Through the magic of words, I spent the month of April in a medieval castle on the coast of Italy with four ladies not previously known to each other. Each with her own problems and need to get awa ...more
Dem
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: classic
My first Novel by Elizabeth Von Arnim and while it was an ok read I wont be adding any more of her novels to reading list. It's a charming and breezy and probably works if you like that kind of thing. I however was hoping for more a Daphne du Maurier feel to it and therefore this book just didn't work for me.

The novel tells the story of four dissimilar English Ladies who go on holiday to Italy after seeing an advertisement for a small medieval castle on the beautiful Italian Rivera.
I love nov
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Idarah
Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, own, classics
“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
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Cecily


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 – including, perhaps, the reader. 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 be
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Laysee
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who would have thought that a novel written almost a hundred years ago can bring so much pleasure and delight during our present troubled times? When safe distancing is mandated and travel outside one’s country fast becoming a thing of the past (hopefully not), it is especially refreshing to take a trip somewhere, even if only in our minds.

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim, published in 1922, is dedicated to all who ‘appreciate wisteria and sunshine.’ Four women in England, strangers to
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Christmas Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
4.5 ★

The Enchanted April is an enchanting book!

Within the first couple of paragraphs I knew it was the book for me! I am still in Lockdown and I needed something that would help me escape the world's frightening realities. & mostly set in one of my favourite countries - what could be better?

Answer - not much!

A chance spotting of an advertisement leads to two virtual strangers, Lottie & Rose, deciding to rent an Italian castle together & have a month's escape from their dull, unhappy lives. The
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JimZ
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another 5 star-er! 😊 I’m so happy! Nothing like a great read to make me happy.

This is the second book I have read by Elizabeth von Arnim and I gave ‘Vera” 5 stars too.

In “Vera” von Arnim had a plot line which at least to me was sinister and worrying and dark but at the same time she had me at time laughing out loud. How do you explain that?! I think it is called tragi-comedy. Anyway, in The Enchanted April (published in 1921, re-issue I had was by New York Review of Books, 2007) it is all lighte
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Tony
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are books that I might read and like but that I know are really only for me. Then there will be a book that I read and like and immediately want everyone I know to start reading it too. This is that latter kind of book. And surprisingly so because, in the abstract, it doesn't sound like anything I would really like.

In the abstract, four women in early 20th Century Britain find an ad to rent for one April a medieval castle in Italy. The women don't know each other, but for various reasons,
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Sara
In the words of Cole Porter, It’s delightful, It’s delicious, It’s de-lovely

The Enchanted April is sweet and soothing and heartwarming, like the holiday we find ourselves on with Lotty, Rose, Caroline and Mrs. Fisher. First off, I loved all the descriptions of the grounds and the gardens. I could see the Judas tree in bloom, the wisteria draping the arbors, and smell the frecias. The idea of a medieval castle in Italy was as charming to me as it was to Lotty Wilkins when she encountered the adve
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Judith E
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, italy
After my last, very intense read, I needed something...I dunno...happy? Surrounded by flowers? Under warm, blue skies? Lounging by the Mediterranean Sea? And yes! -that’s it - in sunny Italy!

The four ladies of Enchanted April painted this scene with understated humor (really, the very best kind) while I sipped tea, served by Mrs. Fisher not Mrs. Arbuthnot, in the garden at San Salvatore castle.

At the beginning, the choppy, rambling syntax provided no reading flow and I re-read many sentences b
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Maria
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: great-britain
Four women spontaneously rent a castle in Italy for the month of April. Two of them are distant acquaintances, but other than that, they don't know each other. They are all displeased with their lives, and need a break. Away from everything they know, they get the chance to think things over, to come back to their true selves, as it were.

And the little castle, San Salvatore, seems to be just what they need. It is a place of healing. I would have loved to say that this story has a strong sense o
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Fiona MacDonald
Charming, beautiful and wonderfully witty! This was a complete hidden gem, but I loved it, loved the writing which was lyrical, loved the characters, who were all drawn to minuscule detail and mostly loved the exquisite descriptions of Italy and the flowering and fragrance of early April
Madeline
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Enchanted April is the ultimate comfort read, to the point where I’m almost disappointed that I read it in the summertime rather than the middle of winter, because I love the idea of reading this book while huddled under blankets during a snowstorm. This is the story of four British women in 1922 who rent an Italian villa for a month.

That’s it! That’s the book! Just four nice ladies who are kind of unhappy with their lives decide to go on vacation. Aside from their unhappy marriages (and it
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Sarah
Apr 16, 2010 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
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Grace Tjan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kim
Apr 18, 2015 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
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Betsy Robinson
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you've ever imagined that if you could only _______________. (fill in the blank: get something, get away from somewhere or something, etc.) all your stress would dissolve, you are likely to read about yourself in this book. If you've ever struggled to dismantle your ego but found you cannot do it in a vacuum, and others will surely test the validity of any progress you make, you may squirm as I did. There was not one character of the four ladies who go away for a retreat (in a castle in Italy ...more
Piyangie
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Enchanted April is a very sweet book. I have read. It is a classic which is timeless and of universal appeal. The story is about four women, who are almost strangers, sharing a medieval castle for the month of April in Italy. These four women, having fled from their unhappy homes, reflect on themselves and their past in the quiet, beautiful, sunny surroundings; and at the end of their shared vacation, they come to understand themselves better and see clearly what has made them unhappy while ...more
SallyB
Sep 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I didnt hate it but didnt absolutely love it either. The plot and premise of the story was right up my alley. The description of the scenery and beautiful writing was really fantastic and i enjoyed it, for the most part. This read almost like chick-lit. A girls trip to a castle in italy in the springtime where the flowers and ocean seduced and relaxed. Ahh. Makes me wanna drink some 🍷 What took away from my enjoyment was the amount the author veered off from conversations in the present to think ...more
Olive Fellows (abookolive)
Check out my discussion of this book and its movie adaptation on booktube: https://youtu.be/nbU8WHHkrRE ...more
Mariel
Dec 18, 2011 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
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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 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 of Prussia.

She had met von Arnim durin
...more

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