The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim: 4****

The Enchanted April is one of those books that you accidentally stumble across but once you read it, it will remain indelibly in your memory. A beautiful book written by Elizabeth Van Arnim over 100 years ago, but one which captures the love and beauty that we many times fail to notice in our own present day lives. This is a book about four women who get to spend the month of April in a castle in Italy. They are all different in terms of backgrounds and personalities. Two come from seemingly loveless marriages, another is a 65-year-old widow hopelessly lost in her past, and the fourth is a beautiful socialite, Lady Caroline. Until an ad appeared in London paper none of these ladies knew each other but eventually they arrive at the castle in Italy, and beginning on the first day one of the ladies begin to experience beauty and love that is so obvious at the castle.

Mrs. Wilkins sends a letter to her husband to please come and join her. As time goes on more men enter the story and by the end everyone who’s there leaves a changed person. This is not a book filled with a lot of action and adventure, but rather is one you want to savor for the truths that lying just beneath the surface, and that we so many times overlook. What kept this from being a five star read for me is that I would’ve liked this book to been about 40 or 50 pages longer because after the beginning of the third week of that long ago April, the book quickly moves to the end when everybody leaves, but still smells the aroma of the flowers of Italy. Having been to Italy many times myself, I can tell you that it is a wonderful land filled with beautiful sites, and it’s something that certainly can rekindle one’s love and passion for life as it did for fictitious ladies many a year ago. And even if you have never visited that country, Van Arnim does a superb job of bringing that country to you in this book!

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