Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Review of The Enchanted April

Book 48. The Enchanted April, by Elizabeth von Armin. Unabridged audio.

This 1922 novel finds a pair of English ladies planning to flee the rainy environs of London for a month-long vacation in Italy. The women are members of the same social club, but have never spoken a word to each other. Their first conversation ensues after they both see the same notice for a medieval castle on the Riveria.   

When they learn the cost of the excursion, they realize they need two more women to share the costs. So the four of them (Mrs. Arbuthnot, Mrs. Wilkins, Mrs. Fisher & Lady Caroline) find their ways to San Salvatore.

The women have little in common, save that they are all struggling to make the best of troubled marriages. But their relative social standing, different worldviews, and diverse attitudes add enough conflict to add drama to the story. And yet they manage to achieve their goals of rejuvenation.

The ladies have such a good time that the married ones invite their husbands. Mr. Arbuthnot appears within a day of his wife’s telegram, which confuses her, until it is revealed that he was in fact invited by Lady Caroline, with whom he was conducting an affair.

And even the lovely surroundings cannot completely handle this level of drama.

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