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The Enchanted April



Elizabeth von Arnim is an exquisite author whose whit and social commentary rivals, and in my opinion surpasses, that of Jane Austin. Surely her novels belong at least in the company of Ms. Austin's. The Enchanted April is a supremely positive novel about the effects of beauty and love on the souls of four women, who begin this novel as complete strangers. Each are from different social strata; each are in a different marital state: Mrs. Wilkins unappreciated in her marriage, Mrs. Arbuthnot self-righteous in hers, Mrs. Fisher widowed and dead to the present and Lady Caroline Dester single and determined to stay so. And so, because of the yearnings of each to escape their particular circumstances and the dreariness of England in late winter, they seize upon the opportunity to share the rent of a castle, appropriately named San Salvatore, on the Southern coast of Italy for the month of April.--Submitted by Dana Sherstad

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