The Enchanted April, published in 1922, was written by the Australian-born British novelist, Elizabeth von Arnim (1866-1941). She left Sydney as a young child, moved to London and then to Europe, and never returned to Australia.
The Enchanted April begins in London where Lottie Wilkins, a young married woman neglected and belittled by her husband begins a conversation with Rose Arbuthnot, a woman she only knew by sight in their woman’s club. Rose was also in an unhappy marriage, not that she ever complained. Both women see a small Italian castle advertised in The Times and Lottie screws up her courage to approach Rose to suggest they take it for a month.
Neither of them being big spenders, they decide to find two other ladies to come as well but when all four of them arrive at their destination, personalities clash and the holiday has all the makings of a great disappointment.
However, the magic of the place works itself into the lives and hearts of all four and by the end of the four weeks of April major changes have taken place. ‘Beauty made you love, and love made you beautiful…’
I’d describe this story as a sort of modern fairytale. At first I thought the story was going to involve marriage break-ups and everyone would go off and give up on their marriage partners but von Arnim crafted a lovely turn around in each woman’s life. The author’s descriptive writing is beautiful, especially when describing flowers and she made Italy very enticing, especially for an April holiday! This is the first book I’ve read by this author but it doesn’t surprise me that her first book was titled, Elizabeth and Her German Garden and that in real life she created a wonderful garden at her home in France.
A short biography of the author is here.
Linking up with Reading Europe 2021 @ Rose City Reader – Italy