The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von ArnimThe Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
Published by Virago on 1922
Genres: Virago Modern Classics
Pages: 361
Source: Purchased: print book

A discrete advertisement in The Times, addressed to "those who appreciate wisteria and sunshine," is the prelude to a revelatory month for four very different women. High above a bay on the Italian Riviera stands the medieval castle San Salvatore. Beckoned to this haven are Mrs. Wilkins, Mrs. Arbuthnot, Mrs. Fisher, and Lady Caroline Dester, each quietly craving a respite. Lulled by the gentle spirit of the Mediterranean, they gradually shed their public skins, discovering a harmony each of them has longed for but none has ever known. First published in 1922, this captivating novel is imbued with the descriptive power and lighthearted irreverence for which Elizabeth von Arnim is renowned.

This was the first of my April reads.

It is a very fast, very engaging book. I’ve not read anything else by Elizabeth von Arnim, although I have heard good things about Elizabeth and her German Garden, which I have definitely put on the TBR.

The Enchanted April is fluff – enchanting fluff, set in an Italian castle. It is about love in all of its myriad permutations, and about how people can, sometimes, make their own families when the ones that they have leave them unfulfilled. The descriptions of the castle and its gardens are lovely. I highly recommend it as a lighthearted springtime read.

It is a little bit too convenient, the way that everyone ends up with someone, and the ease with which the struggling relationships are put to rights by the happy effects of a vacation are not terribly convincing. But, speaking as someone who vacations far too infrequently, and whose vacations NEVER involve an Italian castle, this doesn’t matter at all. Not a whit.

I want my San Salvatore vacation, please.