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The Enchanted April (1922)

by Elizabeth von Arnim

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,3251025,098 (4.07)1 / 545
A discreet advertisement in 'The Times', addressed to 'Those who Apppreciate Wisteria and Sunshine...' is the impetus for a revelatory month for four very different women. High above the bay on the Italian Riviera stands San Salvatore, a mediaeval castle. Beckoned to this haven are Mrs. Wilkins, Mrs Arbuthnot, Mrs Fisher and Lady Caroline Dester, each quietly craving a respite. Lulled by the Mediterranean spirit, they gradually shed their skins and discover a harmony each of them has longed for but never known. First published in 1922 and reminscient of 'Elizabeth and her German Garden', this delightful novel is imbued with the descriptive power and light-hearted irreverence for which Elizabeth von Arnin is renowned.… (more)
  1. 110
    Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson (cmbohn)
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    An Unsuitable Attachment by Barbara Pym (digifish_books)
    digifish_books: Another fine English novel in which a vacation to Italy brings the complexities of personal relationships to the fore.
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    A Room with a View by E. M. Forster (SylviaC)
  4. 60
    Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim (Booksloth)
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» See also 545 mentions

English (97)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (101)
Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
Delightful. Classic. Refreshing.

In an escape from all the horrible happenings in our daily life, I visited 1920 England and Italy and this delightful story where people aren't trying to hurt anyone not in step with them. It was utterly delightful. So much so that when my audio copy from a subscription service I no longer have suddenly stopped at chapter 22, I immediately obtained another copy.

It began in a women's club in London on a February afternoon. A discreet advertisement in The Times, addressed to "Those who Appreciate Wisteria and Sunshine..." lures four very different women away from the dismal British weather to San Salvatore, a castle high above a bay on the sunny Italian Riviera. There, the Mediterranean spirit stirs the souls of Mrs. Arbuthnot, Mrs. Wilkins, Lady Caroline Dester, and Mrs. Fisher, and remarkable changes occur. ( )
  Gmomaj | Oct 28, 2021 |
I read this book years ago, but the slow, inviting spring days still haunt me--- every time that it appears in my life. I remember talking with an ecclesiastical leader and his statement that, if I liked Jane Austen, I would probably like this book because his wife liked both.

I was skeptical, did a little research and decided that they were nothing alike. But then, I don't remember how, someone convinced me to watch the film and I was hooked. It was so lovely, so full of moments when you just took deep breath after deep breath--- as the flowers seemed to seep through the screen, that I had to read it.

And it, too, was beautiful. Different than the film, so full of people growing and changing and connecting, but still being themselves--- it was perfect. So, no. It is not like Jane Austen. Jane Austen starts peaceful, includes a lot of stress in the middle, and then resolves. But this book--- it starts like winter and unfolds like a lovely spring. ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
When I first started reading this, I thought it was going to be one of my favourite books of all time. I was introduced to one of my favourite characters of all time, Lottie Wilkins. I really felt like I was in a medieval castle in Italy. But then the relationships between all the other characters started developing... Most of them were just such horrible and petty people, and all the husbands were so selfish! I do not think that people really are like that; I do not agree with Elizabeth von Arnim's world view. I thought this book would be something enchanting, but it was actually quite sad. At the moment I feel in mourning because I would like to keep on living in the beautiful world I was introduced to in this book, but unfortunately this world ended after the first 50 pages. ( )
  Clarissa_ | May 11, 2021 |
Not often these days I bash out a five star award but this one was a total surprise. I only borrowed the book from the library because I came across it on Amazon as a film. On the face of it - not my kind of novel. But the prose flows - you cannot fault its light touch and it is as fresh as when it was written. It is a kind of Ur-Shirley Valentine and men come out of it very badly. Von Arnim's attitude seems to question men's utility. She seems to admire people who can stand on their own two feet and not be needy. And yet she deals with all the characters (except perhaps Mr Briggs) with such care and attention and love. And love is really what the book is all about and its transformative power. But it is not mushy. One part reminded me of Larkin's "Broadcast" where Mrs Fisher is seen to need to be wanted or cared for by one person out of all the people in the world. Bought Liz a copy. ( )
  adrianburke | Feb 17, 2021 |
Charming and amusing, a little meandering, quite humorous. ( )
  JuliaMay | Dec 10, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (66 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Arnim, Elizabeth vonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Balacco, LuisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Desroussilles, François DupuigrenetTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dormagen, AdelheidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dunant, SarahIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garciá Ríos, BeatrizTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howard, Elizabeth JaneIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lewin, AngieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McFarlane, DebraIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prądzyńska, JoannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rutten, KathleenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schine, CathleenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Terziani, SabinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vickers, SalleyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
White, Terence de VereIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It began in a Woman's Club in London on a February afternoon,--an uncomfortable club, and a miserable afternoon--when Mrs. Wilkins, who had come down from Hampstead to shop and had lunched at her club, took up The Times from the table in the smoking-room, and running her listless eye down the Agony Column saw this: To Those Who Appreciate Wistaria and Sunshine.
Quotations
It was just possible that she ought to go straight into the category Hysteria, which was often only the antechamber to Lunacy, but Mrs. Arbuthnot had learned not to hurry people into their final categories, having on more than one occasion discovered with dismay that she had made a mistake; and how difficult it had been to get them out again, and how crushed she had been with the most terrible remorse.
After those early painful attempts to hold him up to the point from which they had hand in hand so splendidly started, attempts in which she herself had got terribly hurt and the Frederick she supposed she had married was mangled out of recognition, she hung him up finally by her bedside as the chief subject of her prayers, and left him, except for those, entirely to God.
Wonderful that at home she should have been so good, so terribly good, and merely felt tormented. Twinges of every sort had there been her portion; aches, hurts, discouragements, and she the whole time being steadily unselfish.
She did not consciously think this, for she was having a violent reaction against beautiful clothes and the slavery they impose on one, her experience being that the instant one had got them they took one in hand and gave one no peace till they had been everywhere and been seen by everybody. You didn't take your clothes to parties; they took you. It was quite a mistake to think that a woman, a really well-dressed woman, wore out her clothes; it was the clothes that wore out the woman - dragging her about at all hours of the day and night.
Worse than jokes in the morning did she hate the idea of husbands. And everybody was always trying to press them on her - all her relations, all her friends, all the evening papers. After all, she could only marry one, anyhow; but you would think from the way everybody talked, and especially those persons who wanted to be husbands, that she could marry at least a dozen.
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This is the main work for The Enchanted April, by Elizabeth von Arnim. Please do not combine with any adaptation (e.g., film adaptation), abridgement, etc.
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A discreet advertisement in 'The Times', addressed to 'Those who Apppreciate Wisteria and Sunshine...' is the impetus for a revelatory month for four very different women. High above the bay on the Italian Riviera stands San Salvatore, a mediaeval castle. Beckoned to this haven are Mrs. Wilkins, Mrs Arbuthnot, Mrs Fisher and Lady Caroline Dester, each quietly craving a respite. Lulled by the Mediterranean spirit, they gradually shed their skins and discover a harmony each of them has longed for but never known. First published in 1922 and reminscient of 'Elizabeth and her German Garden', this delightful novel is imbued with the descriptive power and light-hearted irreverence for which Elizabeth von Arnin is renowned.

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Book description
From the back cover: "Colour, fragrance, light, sea; instead of Shaftesbury Avenue, and the wet omnibuses, and the fish department at Shoolbread's ... and dinner, and to-morrow the same and the day after the same and always the same."
A discreet advertisement in The Times, address to "those who Appreciate Wisteria and Sunshine ...", is the prelude to a revolutionary month for four very different women. High above a bay on the Italian Riviera stands San Salvatore, a medieval castle. Beckoned to this haven are Mrs Wilkins, Mrs Arbuthnot, Mrs Fisher and Lady Caroline Dester, each quietly craving a respite. Lulled by the mediterranean spring, the violet mountains and sweet-scented flowers, they gradually shed their public skins and discover a harmony each of them has longed for but none has known. First published in 1922, reminiscent of Elizabeth and Her German Garden, this delightful novel is imbued with the descriptive power and lighthearted irreverence for which Elizabeth von Arnim was so popular.
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NYRB Classics

2 editions of this book were published by NYRB Classics.

Editions: 1590172256, 1590174313

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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