The Enchanted April, Paperback Book
2.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


A notice in The Times addressed to 'Those who Appreciate Wistaria and Sunshine' advertises a 'small mediaeval Italian Castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be let furnished for the month of April'.

Four very different women take up the offer, escaping dreary London for the sunshine of Italy.

Among the party are Mrs Wilkins and Mrs Arthuthnot, both fleeing unappreciative husbands; beautiful Lady Caroline, sick of being 'grabbed' by lovestruck men; and the imperious Mrs Fisher, who spends her time remembering the bearded 'great men' she knew in her Victorian childhood.

By the end of their holiday, all the women will fall completely under the spell of Italy in this funny, insightful and very charming novel.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780141191829

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Four women escape the dreariness of March in London to spend a month in a flower-strewn medieval castle in Italy. Initially inhibited by social constraints and their own private concerns, sunshine and natural beauty (along with a series of gently humorous misunderstandings) help to bring them all into blossom. I expected to love this book but ended up feeling a bit ‘meh’ about it – perhaps unfairly; it felt a bit like a Dodie Smith premise to me (big fan of hers) and so I kept comparing the prose unfavourably to Smith’s. It was a bit repetitive, which was a slightly irritating narrative device. Finally, I didn’t really like the way that the characters’ warming to each other was largely based on misunderstanding each other’s motives when in fact they would have been hurt if they could have accurately divined each other’s intentions (for example, the society beauty who keeps trying to be rude to everyone and fails to drive them off because her loveliness makes her seem benign). I’m sure The Enchanted April has redeeming qualities that were lost on me. Perhaps, in this wet and windy February, I was just envious of the women in their gorgeous Italian spring!

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