The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

1. First lines. 2. Published 2018 Alma Books Imprint: Alma Classics First published in 1922. 3. Profile digital portrait [Public Domain] via Needpix 4. Woman-retro-vintage [Public Domain] via Public Domain Pictures 5. Woman Hat 1920s Vintage [Public Domain] via Public Domain Pictures 6. Background picture: Vintage Sanremo Travel Poster [Public Domain] via Public Domain Pictures 7. 1920s ladies talking to each other [Public Domain] via Free SVG

Four English women, dissatisfied with their daily lives, rent a small castle in Italy on the Lagurian Sea for the month of April. They each have their own reasons for getting away, and they spend the time letting the beautiful surroundings help to soothe their problems.

“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.”

“Exactly like foolish moths did men, in other respects intelligent, flutter round the impassive lit candle of a pretty face.”

~Quotes from “The Enchanted April” by Elizabeth von Arnim.
My opinion:

This book totally immersed me in the time and place – 1920s Italy in a castle on the Mediterranean Sea. The style of writing evokes the charm of the era (it was the time of “dressing for dinner” and “polite behaviour”), and the descriptions of Italy in Summer are enticing. Book me a trip to Italy!

the opinion of others:
  • NPR: “Not all of us have the luxury to spend a month in the glorious Italian countryside, but von Arnim’s novel is the next best thing. It seems like an insult to her keen intelligence to call this book uplifting, but the truth is, happiness is one of the hardest emotions to capture on the page. That she is able to evoke it so genuinely, and without trending into sentimentality, is a testament to the enormity of her talent. She deserves a wider readership, and so does this beautiful, funny and very smart book.”

A selection of different editions.

Author: Elizabeth von Arnim The Elizabeth von Arnim Society

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