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The Enchanted April
Elizabeth Von Arnim
The Enchanted April is a 1922 novel by British-American writer Elizabeth von Arnim. The work was inspired by a month-long holiday to the Italian Riviera, probably the most widely-read (as an English and American best seller in 1923) and perhaps the lightest and most ebullient of her novels.
The novel follows four dissimilar women in 1920s England who leave their rainy, grey environments to go on holiday in Italy. Mrs Arbuthnot and Mrs Wilkins, who belong to the same ladies' club but have never spoken, become acquainted after reading a newspaper advertisement for a small medieval castle on the Mediterranean to be let furnished for April. They find some common ground in that both are struggling to make the best of unhappy marriages. They also reluctantly take on the waspish, elderly Mrs Fisher and the stunning but aloof Lady Caroline Dester to defray expenses. The four women come together at the castle and find rejuvenation in the tranquil beauty of their surroundings, rediscovering hope and love.
Von Arnim wrote, and set, the book in the 15th-century Castello Brown. Critic Terence de Vere White credited The Enchanted April with making the Italian resort of Portofino fashionable.