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The Enchanted April–looking for happiness

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The Enchanted April

by Elizabeth Von Arnim

In an exceptionally rainy and dreary March in England, four strangers decide to get away by sharing the rent on a medieval castle in sunny Italy for the month of April. Lotty Wilkins, who can “see” or visualize people at their best and happiest initiates the effort, recruiting Rose Arbuthnot. Both in their early thirties, they do not have happy marriages. Lady Caroline is a little younger and extremely attractive, but is tired of the superficial cloying of people bewitched by her good looks. The very authoritative Mrs. Fisher in her sixties is still wearing mourning blacks years after her husband’s death and focuses her thoughts and conversations on childhood memories of encounters with famous people, particularly authors. This fictional account relies strongly on character development as these ladies’ situations are examined and they react to each other and to their temporary environment for the month. As I reread the many lines I had highlighted, I found that the writing is indeed exquisite.

The Enchanted April is the kind of book that holds beauty and introspection and gently insists that readers immerse themselves in the deliciousness of a sunny month of flowering plants and enticing foods. There are humorous situations thrown in as Lotty and Rose speak no Italian and the other two ladies don’t want to undertake the bother of dealing with the servants or managing the finances. There are also some surprising plot twists at the end of the tale. If you join the ladies in their Italian castle, your only regret will be saying “Arrivederci” at the end of the stay.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Fiction

Notes: Originally published in 1922.

Publication: July 19, 2005—Project Gutenberg

Memorable Lines:

She wanted to be alone, but not lonely. That was very different; that was something that ached and hurt dreadfully right inside one. It was what one dreaded most…Was it possible that loneliness had nothing to do with circumstances, but only with the way one met them?

“Oh, but in a bitter wind to have nothing on and know there never will be anything on and you going to get colder and colder till at last you die of it—that’s what it was like, living with somebody who didn’t love one.”

In heaven nobody minded any of those done-with things, one didn’t even trouble to forgive and forget, one was much too happy.


  1. WendyW says:

    This sure sounds wonderful. I love the idea of women sharing a castle.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cozynookbks says:

    I can definitely live with “a sunny month of flowering plants and enticing foods.” 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A castle in Italy, I’m in!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lghiggins says:

      It is not hard to understand the appeal, especially if you live in rainy London. Between the flowers and the castle itself, I think you would have a great time with your art there. Too bad it is fictional.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Gretchen says:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Linda! It is one I can see myself rereading. Even just reading your quotes and description reminded me of things I had forgotten.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Carla says:

    Wow, this is definitely a classic. What made you decide to read it? I like the sound of this for a poolside read this summer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lghiggins says:

      It was a book club pick. I don’t even remember the recommendation,but we decided on it and all enjoyed it. After we read it, someone mentioned the movie that had been made from it and she didn’t like it. I believe she said it didn’t follow the book well.

      Liked by 1 person

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