The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

The Enchanted April

Elizabeth von Arnim

Four very different women take up an offer advertised for a “small medieval Italian Castle on the shores of the Mediterranean...” As each blossoms in the warmth of the Italian spring, quite unexpected changes occur.

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The charming, slyly comic novel of romantic longing and transformation that inspired the Oscar-nominated film
 
Four very different women, looking to escape dreary London for the sunshine of Italy, take up an offer advertised in the Times for a “small medieval Italian Castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be let furnished for the month of April.” As each blossoms in the warmth of the Italian spring, quite unexpected changes occur.

An immediate bestseller upon its first publication, in 1922, The Enchanted April set off a craze for tourism to the Italian Riviera that continues today. Published here to coincide with a contemporary retelling, Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen, it’s a witty ensemble piece and the perfect romantic rediscovery for fans of Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love as well as of Downton Abbey and the hit movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


Advance Galley Reviews

Got a copy from first to read, but was not for me. I had a very hard time getting in to the story

Sadly, I couldn't even get into this book; it just didn't suit me. I received a copy of The Enchanted April free from First to Read. The writing was great, but the topic did not interest me at all.

This isn't my typical read but I decided to branch out s but. I was looking for a great women's fiction book and this was perfection. The bond between the characters is a tangible thing. It warmed my heart. They were brave woman however able to overcome certain obstacles in their lives with the help of each other. I would absolutely recommend this one.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. Would it keep up with the times? Would I be able to understand and bond with the characters? I would say yes. The book was well written and I can see what has held it as a highly acclaimed book up until this age. It was a bit of a slow start, but really picked up when the character development launched. Still gives heart to women struggling with still valid events up to this day and age.

This captivating tale brings together four women for a heartwarming vacation in Italy away from all their English troubles. The imagery will sweep you off your feet to Italy where you will join the women while they share with each other and discover things about themselves that they never knew.

Somehow I overlooked that this book was written in the 1920's, and thought the writing was quaint, until I realized it was actually from that era! I loved the story - how the four women fought to overcome their unhappiness. I am glad I learned of a new-to-me author & will read more from von Arnim. And for those that enjoyed the book, the movie was wonderful as well.

I could not get into this book. I'm sorry to say that I could not finish it. That rarely happens when I read.

This was a very interesting book. It's a book about finding that one place that is just so special, that everything seems to get better just by being there. And taking that specialness of that place and making it a part of who you are, so that you can live and be better long after leaving. It was one of those books that's just a story - about four women and their trip to Italy. But by the end of the book, you realize that it was about so much more than just that. The descriptions of the flowers and the scenery just blew me away completely. I swear that I could smell the sometimes. I love how all four lives were changed, the author doesn't leave anyone out. You just have to wait for the magic to settle in a bit longer on some of them. *This book was received in exchange for an honest review*

The first two-thirds or so of the book was great. We learn about the women and their pasts, we watch them learn and come to understandings at this month-long girls get away. I would have been satisfied with them discovering truths about themselves and the bonds forms among them. However, the last part of the book (spoilers!) turns to love. I’ll try to say this with as few spoilers as possible here. As a modern day woman, I found the ultimate endings for Lotty and Rose hard to fathom. I suppose it was a nice romantic ending for all, but I didn’t find it satisfying, especially for Rose. I did enjoy the journey and growth the four women experienced, the lovely setting, and the beautiful writing. Overall I would recommend this book.

This addition to Penguin's Classics catalog is being released together with Brenda Bowen's tribute tale, "Enchanted August." Both stories concern four strangers who take a vacation rental for a month to escape their dreary or over-complicated lives. In this novel, four women run off to Italy and use the time to rediscover themselves. In "August" the three women and one gent use the weeks to reinvent themselves, their marriages, their careers. I enjoyed reading this volume as well as it's contemporary homage. The writing style from 1922 can seem a bit out dated, but it retains its elegance for me. My thanks to Penguin's First to Read program for a complimentary copy of both books.

Awesome book! Thanks for the free read Penguin First To Read!

When two women enter each other respective worlds because of a small ad in a newspaper a tremendous amount of change takes place. Separated by class the find they are not altogether different in their desire to love and be loved. This is a moderately face paced story of the events that unfold after two woman answer an ad in a local newspaper for an Italian Castle that is available to rent. A wonderfully told story of human kindness.

I tried so hard to get into this book but I just couldn't. I'm not sure if it was the writing or I just found it uninteresting. I generally like this type of book. It sounded so good but the book itself left me disappointed.

I was offered this book from Penguin first to read program. I found it to be a very enjoyable summer read. The characters are believable and a little quirky. I'm looking forward to reading the modern version "Enchanted August and comparing the two

This book was hard to get into and not very interesting. I'm not sure why it is considered a "classic" and I definitely would not compare it to Jane Austen. The basic idea of the plot is vaguely interesting, but I could not enjoy it. At least it was short, otherwise I may have given up on it.

I started the book but I could not really get into it. I tried again and again. There was not a connection between the characters and myself so I did not finish it. It is not for me. If you like books that are an older style of writing then this book if for you.

Going in I did not know this book was originally published in the 1920's, but I really enjoyed the old world writing style.Two ladies, Lotty Wilkens and Rose Arbuthnot, virtual strangers meet at their London club. Both spot the newspaper listing for the villa rental in Italy's Cinque Terre and decide to rent it together for the month of April. To cut costs they advertise for two more ladies, Mrs. Fisher and Lady Caroline Dester, answer the ad, and so four strangers head off to Italy for a month's escape. They all have their own need for escape.They all want to be left alone, but they realize as the month progresses they do need each other as the villa works its magic on them. I thoroughly enjoyed the bath scene with Mr. Wilkens. I found it a nice light, well written story of a bygone era.

I received this book through Penguin's First to Read program in exchange for an honest review. At first, I found the writing tedious--definitely had a British flair to it. But as I continued reading, the characters and their development (sometimes humorously) intrigued me. The description of the Italian castle getaway that the four women lived in for a month was simply beautiful. I found myself wanting to book a flight to Italy to experience it in person. What I found to be most interesting was that the insecurities, frustrations, fears and longings each of the characters had, during their existence on the timeline of life, easily translated into the same as those women in the twenty-first century deal with. The manner in which each woman's struggles emerged and how they were able to shift their points of view in order to develop and overcome their challenges was beautifully portrayed. The book has elements of both the serious side of life and the lighthearted, comical side.

Penguin Books made this book available to me, and to be honest, I was a bit confused. I do not usually read this sort of book. The whole “four women go away to get to know themselves again” just doesn’t interest me. Personal tastes, not that it is a bad genre – it is simply not something I find enthralling. But this one surprised me. Another reviewer stated that books of this genre are often dismissed as “sentimental trifle.” I suppose that has been my thought as well. Well, this shows me! “The Enchanted April” is set on the shores of the Italian Mediterranean, a land of breathtaking beauty, a perfect setting for this story. Lotty and Rose, Mrs. Fisher and Scrap. All have problems in their lives, all have battles they have fought, and often lost. The story is filed with each of the women finding realization, new meanings, and even hope. I don’t think I will ever become a complete fan of the genre, it simply isn’t ‘me’. But this book was highly enjoyable. This book was provided to me by Penguin Publishing in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

I got this book free from FirstToRead.com but really couldn't get into it. I'm generally not a fan of classics but if you are then I'm sure it's delightful

I received a copy of this book from Penguin First to Read program in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are my own. When I began reading this book I felt like I was whisked back in time. I found myself hoping to be able to take a trip like the characters in the book. I enjoyed watching the friendship develop between the two ladies thinking about and planning this trip. I would recommend this to other readers. This is a great book to read any time of year!

For a book that was originally published in 1922, I found that Elizabeth von Arnim's "The Enchanted April" was one that just as easily resonated today. The unhappiness in the characters and desire to escape to Italy for a chance at rediscovering themselves is one that many people even today I think could relate with. I can very easily understand why this book helped to kick up a desire amongst it's readers following its original publication to travel to Italy and explore it themselves. Elizabeth von Arnim did a wonderful job of creating the Italian countryside and making one wish that they themselves could visit for a chance at some much needed R&R, as well as a chance to rekindle the flame that resides in them and those around them. Although I found the book hard to get into at first, once the women were all at the castle and began to loosen up I found that I came to like each of them in turn and really enjoy the book.

I enjoyed this book. The story was well written and the characters were believable. This was a pleasant read. I received a copy of this book for free from Penquin's First to Review Program.

This book is breathtaking in its descriptions. You immediately want to run off and escape to Italy with your besties for a month. I think the illustrations of the landscape and scenery are just as beautiful and lush as the illustrations of friendship. Nostalgic and lovely!

I didn't realize the book was written in the 1920's until I had finished it and read the reviews. The main characters were well developed and believable. Sometimes the old fashioned style of writing made it a little slow but overall, I enjoyed the story.

I loved totally immersing myself in this story. This is not the genre of book I normally read but it hooked me. This book had an older style than what I am used to both in language and in setting. However I felt that I was back in Italy during those times. Each character was unique. I would recommend reading this just to get outside of your comfort zone.

This is usually not a book I would usually pick up, but I did think it was very charming. It's definitely geared towards a more older crowd and seems to have more of a classic novel tone. You sympathize and try to learn along with the ladies. It isn't a bad novel, just not my cup of tea.

An interesting read that allows a glimpse into the lives of four very different women. Since it was written a very long time ago I can imagine how shocked society must have been when this came out as it has quite a few taboo subjects of those times. I am sure that is why it did as well as it did and continues to do so. The monologue tends to be quite boring and I had a hard time following the story line. I credit the writing style of the 20's to that downfall and do not credit it to the author at all. It was well written and the characters have so many cracks and crevices it took a while to keep them all straight. Overall and thoroughly enjoyable read if you stick with it and finish it.

What a charming, old fashioned novel. The leisurely narrative unfolds in rich language which allows the reader to travel with the characters to a serene, quiet retreat in Italy. This is the story of the inner life of four women, different in character, in age, and in background who find peace and contentment in near isolation. There is a mystical quality to their retreat as all unfolds as Lottie has "seen" it. This is a contemplative novel, not much outward action, slow paced and intricately detailed. May not be the style in vogue today, but a style I have missed.

I received a copy of this book through Penguin's First to Read program in exchange for an honest review. I wrote this review before discovering that the book was first published in 1922, a fact that would have been very good to know while reading (but I'm weird and don't look things like that up even though I have the internets.) I would have felt a little differently about the book had I known how old it was when I first started reading. This book made me want to take a month long vacation in Italy, not that it's too hard to convince me that I need a month long vacation in the first place. The descriptions of San Salvatore sound so idyllic that it wasn't hard to believe it would be the absolute most perfect place to rest and relax. The story is told in omniscient third person, delving into each characters mind whenever it suits the narrators fancy. I found the mind jumping to be a little discombobulating at times because although the characters are all very different, some of them have very similar ways of thinking so it wasn't always clear whose head we were in and I found myself having to reread some parts to get myself oriented. Another issue I had was there were many long, complicated, tangental run-on sentences (much like my last sentence) that I also occasionally had to reread to grasp what was being said. It felt a little bit like I was reading a classic novel like War and Peace at times (because it turns out I was reading a classic novel, maybe somewhat like War and Peace). I wasn't expecting that kind of mental commitment when I started this book. At the beginning of the women's vacation in Italy, I couldn't stand half of them. I thought they were rude and ungrateful and I wanted to jump into the story and slap them. They pissed me off so much I actually commented on it on Goodreads, and I rarely post book updates while reading. The characters themselves were well written, but they were horrible people. Overall I give this story 3.5 out of 5 stars because it was entertaining but gave me some problems while I was reading. I would definitely recommend it to classical literature fans though.

If you enjoy classic English literature such as that by Jane Austen, you will enjoy The Enchanted April. Four very different women who are complete strangers end up sharing a villa in Italy for the month of April. Each of these women is dealing with frustration in their current life, and a month's escape seems like a wonderful idea. As much of the action is in the internal dialog of the women as they evaluate the others and their circumstances. The women are often catty and judgmental of each other, engaging in subtle manipulations and power plays, but the sun and flower-drenched villa by the sea gradually changes each of them. I loved the depictions of the scenery, and the book was pretty true to an older literary style with both the strengths and flaws of early 19th century romance works. I was a little annoyed at the cattiness of the women and that they really started to become better behaved only after a few men showed up, which is also true of the classic books so I didn't get too worked up about it. I definitely finished up the book wishing I could also rent a villa in Italy for April, and wanting to spend a bit more time lounging around the garden this spring! So, I'd recommend it for fans of classic 19th century literature who don't mind a book being as much introspection as action.

What a charming book! "Enchanted April" centers around 4 women at different points in their lives who share a "small medieval Italian Castle" for a month. Each woman has their own reason for wanting to escape from their normal, day to day, lives in London. They are virtual strangers when they first arrive but over the course of the month different relationships begin to develop. The writing evokes images of grand houses and beautiful gardens. If you like British period pieces, this is a book for you.

This is definitely not like most of the books I read. The style was repetitive, and hard to keep up with. I caught myself having to reread a lot just to figure out when the perspective had changed. It isn't a very long novel, and I feel like it took way too long to read. The storyline was okay, once you get past the writing style.

THE ENCHANTED APRIL by Elizabeth von Arnim This book was originally published in 1922 and is dated in its structure and as such I struggled through to the end. I do not care for the repetitive nature of phrases and sentences. This is the story of four women who decide to answer an ad in the London Times for a rental home in Italy for the month. Two women are taking leave of their husbands due to feeling unloved and the other two women are trying to run away from themselves. All four women's pettiness grated on me in the beginning but the setting working its magic on the characters calmed them and thus they became tolerable. The setting is the best drawn character of the book. One can smell the flowers which are in a great profusion and the slower pace of the rural setting is a balm that comes off the page in gentle waves. Not my usual reading material but glad I stuck it out to the end.

This is not my typical read but I was gifted this book by First to Read for my review. While I love the story having never read The Enchanted April until now I prefer the new updated book Enchanted August because I can relate more. Never the less this is a great book club or summer read. The setting in Italy is describe beautifully but I did find the story choppy and hard to keep track of which character was talking at points but it is a beautiful story. While you do not need to read both books (The Enchanting August or The Enchanting April) as one is not a continuation but and updated version of the same story it fun to compare the 1920's characters to the modern ones.

“Beauty made you love, and love made you beautiful.” I was gifted this book as a companion to the “Enchanted August” novel to review for Penguin First to Read program. I read “Enchanted August” first and so may compare the books in reverse. I have never seen the 1992 movie or read this particular novel before. It was originally published in 1922 shortly after World War I and the British were still reeling from the costs and horror of that devastation. Two women, Mrs. Wilkins and Mrs. Arbuthnot answer an advertisement in the Times to rent an Italian castle for the month of April. The also get Caroline, a young beauty, and Mrs. Fisher, an older woman who likes getting her own way. Together they are captured by the beauty of the castle and it’s grounds and are able to find out what is truly important in this life. Throughout the book we are treated to some beautiful descriptions and some humorous misunderstandings. I enjoyed this story very much and can recommend it.

3.25-3.5 Stars Four women travel to exotic Italy to rediscover themselves in this historical novel. The Italian countryside is described and discussed so well it's like it's a character unto itself. I love the journey that the MCs take to attempt to find themselves. It feels just a little dated, but if you are into classics, then this book may be up your alley. Penguin First to Read Galley

This book was very enjoyable for me, I really like how the author brings the story to life and how you don't want to put the book down! I enjoyed reading from the first page to the last and look forward to reading more by this author!

If you are a fan of chastely written English literature this is the book for you. It left you room to imagine what the actual inner working of the relationships were with the couples and the interaction between the women was as proper as an English bred lady should conduct herself. I read "Enchanted August" first and then compared the two which made me wish I had this book first so I was not comparing the two as much.

I have to admit I was skeptical of this read. Elizabeth Von Arnim does a great job of writing a beautiful easy to read novel. I have to admit it is not action packed or fast paced, but if you love a feel good story with a happy ending you will love this.

I thought I would try a different genre (I usually like Thrillers, especially political thrillers) but I should have stayed true to my tastes. This is not a negative review of this book but rather an indication of my likes. I apologize for taking one of the available copies. I may still to 'get into it', but in case I don't, I wanted to at least leave an indication I tried.

This is a fast, sweet tale of four women who rent an old villa in Italy for a month and experience profound changes in the process. While this book about manners and social expectations surrounding women one hundred years ago may seem dated, it is quite timely. It translates beautifully to the similar wishes and desires of women today. Our social expectations and morals may be far more elastic than the post WWI era, but the need for respite time, or time to refresh, is a constant today. If the ending is a bit happier than we might expect today, it is nonetheless welcome. The film of the same name hued remarkably close to the novel. This book was very enjoyable to read and an unexpected pleasure to receive from First to Read.

Honestly speaking, this book was one of the best holiday books I have ever read. I loved the character Lotty and her optimistic nature that transforms everything around her in a good way. I liked the setting of an Enchanted villa in Italy that positively changes the love lives of the four beautiful ladies who rent it just for a month. Great book must read.

The Enchanted April was a great book beautifully written by the author Elizabeth von Arnim. Its about a villla in Italy San Salvatore, which is so beautiful that it positively transforms the lives of four gorgeous ladies from totally different backgrounds. Read this book to experience a wonderful enchanted holiday.

Wow! What a book. I finished it in single sitting because I just couldn't put it down. Thanks to the author for writing such a beautiful book. I must say that I am definitely going to read more of this author. I have watched the movie before but I am going to watch it again.

The Enchanted April is one of the best books I have read. Its a wonderful page turner that refreshes your mind. I am going to watch the movie tonight because this book has given me many beautiful dreams and I am not ready yet to get over with these dreams.

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim was a great book. It was not my genre at all still I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Four ordinary women from totally different backgrounds end up on a holiday in Italy and how their holiday becomes enchanted is a lovely story plot. I highly recommend this book. I had a great time reading this book so I want everybody to enjoy it too.

This book was a difficult read because of the endless ramblings of each of the characters. It could have been an interesting story had the author just gotten to the point, so much redundancy in every spoken word and thought! The characters were never developed and little was known about their lives before coming to Italy and how the time in Italy would affect their lives upon returning to London, if at all. The book portrayed women as needy and flighty, needing men to make things right for them. It took me a week to finish them book and a book this length, I'd normally finish in a day. I didn't enjoy the story at all except to say the castle in Italy sounded like a beautiful place to stay.

4-Stars! This is a lovely book by Elizabeth von Arnim. 4 women decide to leave their dreary lives in London and rent a villa in Italy. A delightful afternoon read, and a great homage to friendship, and most importantly the power of travel and how transformative it can be in our lives. I love Arnim's descriptions of the landscape, the scenery, the flowers. I love flowers and I could almost smell them on the pages of this book. My only compliant, and reason I didn't rate this book 5 stars is the fact of the husband's part on the story. I would've let them out and glorified the power of female friendship. I'd wished for a more girl-power book. Overall, a wonderful read.

Four women decide to go to a small little town in Italy to find their happiness. While a little slow in places this book did grow on me. I wanted to know more about the characters, but sometimes the drama that was supposed to be drama wasn't. All in all a decent summer read.

I've seen mixed reviews, however for me i found it a bit dry of a read. For me it read like stereo instructions. I tried so hard to like it but I just couldn't.

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Armin has almost reached classic status, having been made into both a Broadway play and a popular movie, therefore, I’m embarrassed to say that I wasn’t that fond of this book. To me, the true mark of a classic is that it doesn’t seem dated and The Enchanted April seemed old-fashioned and out of touch to me. The movie was better. For a beautiful setting that inspired such love and transformation in its occupants there was very little depiction of the surroundings, except for some brief descriptions of the flowers that were basically cut-and-paste paragraphs. And the women were portrayed as either washed out or unlikable in the beginning that their transformation in one month didn’t ring true, especially Lotty’s, who went from a timid little mouse to a lovely, yet outspoken, leader the minute she set foot in the castle. And the husband’s transformations were also immediate. Wish this were true in real life. But perhaps that’s the key. This holiday was an enchantment and not real. Either way, this novel didn’t touch me like I’d hoped.

Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim Saw the movie version of this book some time ago, very entertaining. A good movie with some surprises for the audience as four British ladies spend an idyllic summer holiday in an Italian villa, away from a rainy London, learning about themselves and much more. I was interested in seeing if the book was, as so many times is, better than the move and if the movie did the book justice. That said, the film did follow the book fairly closely and captured each of the women fairly well. I could see scenes of the movie in my head as I read the book. Of course as in many book to film adaptations the actual descriptions of the characters don't always match the actor(s) that closely and that is maybe one of the 'let-downs' for me. All in all a very good read and a bit of a get-a-way for the reader, from what's going on in their daily world. I always enjoy a book with the benefit of great character description and would recommend this book for similar readers. It will not be everyone's 'cup of tea' but for many an enchanting read. Being set in the 1920's was a very nice gift. by Kevin w. Flegal

This book is not one that I would have selected on my own, but overall I found it to be a light and pleasant read. Four very different women make unlikely travel companions and transform in their new location and company. Each woman becomes what the others see in them. The characters are well developed and interesting, but the plot did lose my interest a bit in the middle.

This is one of those books that I have always seen on the shelf and thought - woman's book. I know that sounds offensive, but it's the truth. When I was given the opportunity to be an Advanced Reader I had slight misgivings... which quickly vanished. I found a truthfulness in the four main characters that rang true, and really wanted them to find their enhanced April in Italy. The writing was crisp, with just enough humor and style to pull me into their little vacation. As I read on I found the other characters growing on me too - especially the servant at the villa. I am glad that I finally read this book and thankful for being selected to read it. It's a very charming and delightful read.

I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. While it is not of the style of novel I normally read as I read on it grew on me. Four very different women get together for a months vacation and in the beauty of their surroundings they confront problems they have had in their lives and overcome them. As time goes on these very unlikely people become fast friends despite coming from different walks of life. While it is difficult reading it does cause a person to dream of a vacation just like this one!

A delightful spring/summer read. A bit predictable -- everybody starts unhappy and ends happy. But the process is delightful anyway. Particularly pleasing was the theme that people become what you treat them as. That was the magic of the castle. If you treat someone as lovely and charming, they will be come lovely and charming. A nice little theme. This was on my to-read list, but I actually got a copy of it from First to Read because of the upcoming publication based on it, The Enchanted August. We shall see...

This book provides the comparison of four women from different backgrounds and lifestyles coming together in a beautiful location. They each find themselves and develop undeniable bonds with each other. They are able to find and renew their bonds of love and explore how they approach relationships and how they can be more open after experiencing a time out from their usual day to day existences. This book was hard to put down

 


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