‘The Enchanted April’ by Elizabeth Von Arnim.
After answering an advertisement in ‘The Times’ four women spend a month in San Salvador. These four, are very different in temperament and lead very different lives. As strangers they are embarking on an exciting journey. To reap the benefits of their stay in a medieval, Italian castle they must leave their usual lives, including spouses and be willing to embrace a new climate.
A place where romance and beauty seem the norm…
‘They passed along another flat bit of path, with a black shape like a high wall towering above them on their right, and then the path went up again under trellises, and trailing sprays of scented things caught at them and shook raindrops on them, and the light of the lantern flickered over lilies…’
Amidst this backdrop of beauty their personalities clash and when even more visitors arrive at the castle the conversation becomes strained, but eventually therapeutic.
‘That first week the wisteria began to fade, and the flowers of the Judas-tree and peach trees fell off and carpeted the ground with rose-colour.
…and the big summer roses suddenly flaunted gorgeously on the walls and trellises.
…and on the rocks sprawled star-shaped flowers, some vivid purple and some a clear, pale lemon.’
It is April and if I see such an advert, my bags will be packed!!. Describing the scenery in this book, Elizabeth Von Armin has created a landscape worthy of any artist, she paints a heavenly sight.
I adored this book, one that I will re-read, perhaps in the depths of winter, when the sight and smell of springtime are so alien. Although the scenery was very descriptive I don’t want to divert the reader from the excellent storyline, a witty prose enables the characters to assess their usual lives in a humorous way and just as the seasons change the landscape so April in San Salvador changes lives.