2015 book challenge – #2 – The Enchanted April

Explanation of why this is not a challenge to read 2015 books can be found here

Book #2 is .The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

This book appeared in a discussion on the subject of When rich people have chefs, do they know what’s going to be for dinner or is it a surprise? The answer turned out to be a rather disappointing Sometimes with a side order of It depends, but the sources of information varied from personal experience (both as the dinner-eater and the dinner-creator), the behaviour of Emily Gilmore on Gilmore Girls, and this book.

The essence of the story is that two ladies who are members of the same club (oh, how I long for a club, and time to visit it) but do not otherwise know each other are both entranced by an ad in the newspaper for “a small mediaeval Italian castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be let furnished for the month of April”.

They gather two more ladies to split the cost, and can be summarised as:

  • the dipsy one who “sees things”
  • the self-sacrificing saintly one who feels that self-indulgence is a sin
  • the elderly one who is prevented from many things by her stick
  • the one who is just too beautiful and finds it rather a drag

My favourite description in the book is of the last of these – she is cursed with a beautiful face and pleasing voice, and no matter how much she might intend to be rude to someone they insist on believing her charming. This means that nobody ever leaves her alone.

The main strength of this book is in the setup and the introduction to the characters, once they are well-established in Italy and start to be transformed by the natural beauty and flower-scented air the rhythm and wit is blunted a little.

They do have some good altercations with the cook about the price of cream though.


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