The Enchanted April – Elizabeth von Arnim

It is one of the 11 books I bought this year, it looks like my book buying ban will result in me limiting myself to buying on average one book a month, which still is not bad, especially that it looks like I’m going to read more than 80 books this year, so the TBR will definitely be reduced. I discovered Elizabeth von Arnim thanks to other bloggers and I loved Elizabeth and Her German Gardenso buying this book, so loved by everyone, was the logical next step.

I’ll defer to the blurb from the back cover to give you the overview of the plot:

A notice in The Times addressed to ‘Those Who Appreciate Wistaria and Sunshine’ advertises a ‘small medieval castle to be let for the month of April’. Four very different women take up the offer: Mrs Wilkins and Mrs Arbuthnot, both fleeing unappreciative husbands; beautiful Lade Caroline, sick of being ‘grabbed’ by lovesick men; and the imperious, ageing Mrs Fisher. On the shores of the Mediterranean, beauty, warmth and leisure weave their spell, and nothing will ever be the same again.

I’m sure you get the picture now, it is an escapist and feel-good book and there is nothing wrong with that. But it was not fully what I expected, after the witty and often sharp irony of Elizabeth and Her German Garden I expected a similar book, but Enchantedd April is a lot sweeter. Too sweet for my taste and my small black heart. The characters are well developed, we get to know their thoughts and understand their motivations, but when the time comes for their transformation it is really not very credible. I was also getting annoyed how the book seems to revolve around love and the need for a man all the time, I really, really don’t like romances, they bore me to death.

What I liked was the delicious descriptions of nature and the concept itself of a month of complete laziness. Von Arnim also touches on how women felt oppressed and often lonely in the society, but what annoyed me is how in the end they all happily succumb to this state with a smile, because they had a month to rest in a beautiful landscape, I’m sorry, but I’m not buying it. I think maybe I read it at a wrong time, I just didn’t have the patience for all the sweetness and charm, that everyone else so loves about this book. As much I as I am not a fan of it I do not deny that if you read it at the right time and in the right frame of mind it will be lovely. My mum recently bought all of von Arnim books, so I will definitely give her another chance.

Here are some more reviews from the blogosphere, to give you a more balanced view:

JacquiWine’s Journal

Rose Reads Novels

Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings

reading the cereal packet

Is Narnia All There Is?

 

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11 thoughts on “The Enchanted April – Elizabeth von Arnim

  1. I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy this book as much as Elizabeth and Her German Garden. Interestingly, I tried to read that one last year but couldn’t get into it, mostly because I found the central character too sharp and dismissive of others. It just goes to show how dull life would be if we all liked the same things! Many thanks for linking to my review, much appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, that’s very true. I will keep reading her books. I do think that maybe I simply wasn’t in the right mood for this one, while Elizabeth and Her German Garden was just at the right place at the right time.
      I really enjiyed reading your review, sharing it was a must 🙂

      Like

      1. The thing about the late stages of marathon training (it’s on Oct 15) is that you need more rest. So I have been getting up later and going to bed earlier, and the borders between sleep and busy have been full of reading!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your mention of your “small black heart!” Sometimes I am in a mood like that – so we’ll see how this one hits me when I finally read it. I bought it used a few months ago. It’s nice to see a different take on it since it’s so popular.

    Like

  3. Pingback: August round-up – bookskeptic.com

  4. Pingback: September round-up – bookskeptic.com

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