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The Enchanted April | [Elizabeth von Arnim]

The Enchanted April

This is a journey of both escape and discovery for four exquisitely different women, a month of bliss and privacy for four weary souls. Their refuge on the Italian Riviera provides the perfect backdrop for a story about the search for spiritual harmony within and without.
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Publisher's Summary

Four very diverse women, all seeking revitalization and escape from the dreary February rains of 1920s London, rent the small medieval castle of San Salvatore, nestled high above the bay of Portofino, Italy. Arriving at San Salvatore, they find it awash with the scent of flowers, its olive groves terracing down to the sun-warmed sea.

Mrs. Wilkins and Mrs. Arbuthnot are glad to leave their insipid duties and unresponsive husbands behind; the elderly Mrs. Fisher wishes only to sit in the sun and replay her youthful memories; and the bewitchingly beautiful Lady Caroline Dester desires to have seclusion from all adoring suitors. A month of blissful privacy at San Salvatore promises to be the remedy each of them is looking for. Amid the canopies of fragrant wisteria, in the sweet sunshine and melodious silence, four lives are transformed and resuscitated by the magic of San Salvatore.

©1922 Elizabeth von Arnim; (P)1994 Blackstone AudioBooks

What the Critics Say

"Nadia May's narration is excellent, especially in differentiating the women's voices and in reading their inner dialogues." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (54 )
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3.9 (34 )
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4.0 (36 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Katie Herefordshire, United Kingdom 03/05/2012
    Katie Herefordshire, United Kingdom 03/05/2012 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    54
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    236
    34
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    10
    0
    Overall
    "A trip to heaven!"

    Nadia May excels herself here as the narrator, she sounds as if she's enjoying reading the story. All in all, it's a lively, refreshing, simple book making it easy to listen to. One character in The Enchanted April describes their holiday in Italy, as taking place in heaven. Elizabeth Von Arnim also lavishly describes a garden and the flowers of Italy, interwoven in a lovely story. There's gentle comedy in here too, what more can you ask for?

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mrs WOKING, United Kingdom 06/02/2014
    Mrs WOKING, United Kingdom 06/02/2014 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    22
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Did not seem to be going anywhere"
    What would have made The Enchanted April better?

    I just could not enjoy the book as it seemed to drift without any purpose or meaning in sight. It was hard to maintain interest, just speaking Mrs this and Mrs that doing mundane things. I would have wanted some deeper meaning to what had made them go on holiday and what they hoped would happen/what did happen.


    What will your next listen be?

    Sycamore Row.


    Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Nadia May?

    Dont think it would have made a difference as I found both the characters and the story rather weak.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment.


    Any additional comments?

    None.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-2 of 2 results
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  • Amazon Customer
    St Paul, MN, USA
    26/02/05
    Overall
    "Excellent book, excellent narrator"

    I have to admit that I started listening to this book simply because it was read by my favorite narrator, Nadia May. I'd enjoyed the movie made from this book but didn't feel the need to read it, much less listen to it. But I started listening, and really enjoyed it! No it's not a book that'll change how you view the world, but it's funny, interesting, and highly entertaining. Better than mind candy but far from heavy-duty literature. A perfect holiday listen. And Nadia May is once again terrific. She does different voices for the characters that really seem to capture their personalities -- and unlike some narrators, her voices never get irritating. Far from it. An excellent choice.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Joseph R
    Dry Prong, LA, USA
    24/02/09
    Overall
    "San Salvatore, a place of pure magic"

    I read (listened to) this book only because Nadia May was the narrator. The title alone proclaims it to be a "girly" book. I had never heard of Elizabeth von Arnim. Well, I am a convert. This is a great book. Elizabeth von Arnim is a terrific writer whose works can be enjoyed by "girls" as well as by grizzled old men. Essentially this is story of four women who had empty places in their hearts. They came to this magic place (a real place by the way), this magic garden of San Salvatore and found themselves and refilled those empty places. Two rediscovered their husbands, one who despised all men found an exception and the last found that there are different kinds of loves which can fill one heart. There is one scene in particular which makes this book memorable. Let us call it "Mr. Wilkins takes a bath". The darn thing blows up and out runs Mr. Wilkins right into Lady Caroline Dester. She naturally introduces him on the spot to the rich and proper lady, Mrs. Fisher so they stand in the hall chatting while Mr. Wilkins dripped with only a towel wrapped about his middle. This is a delicious scene.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • aerlys
    Bellevue, WA USA
    09/01/08
    Overall
    "A happy book"

    This was a pleasure to listen to. Beautifully written, and narrated, with wry humor and insight. I highly recommend it, especially if you are tired of listening to books filled with angst.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Steven
    Campbell, CA, USA
    28/02/05
    Overall
    "If you loved the movie, the book is even better"

    I have seen the movie and the play. The book is the best of the three. It is hard to believe that it was written in 1922. Nadia May, the narrator, as always is lovely to listent to.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Polly
    WOODRIDGE, IL, United States
    19/12/11
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Forever Favorite"
    If you could sum up The Enchanted April in three words, what would they be?

    delightful, surprisingly apt


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Enchanted April?

    First morning they woke up at San Salvatore.


    Have you listened to any of Nadia May’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes I have. I think she's an excellent reader, and this one is as well.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book always makes me feel good!!! I love the book even more than the movie. It's an old favorite of mine. Never


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Lori
    United States
    29/07/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I loved this feel good story!"
    Any additional comments?

    This was a great listen. It's not a book to change your life, but such a welcome relief from life! A feel good story that I will listen to over and over.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Fran Pearson
    Fayetteville, AR United States
    08/08/10
    Overall
    "Almost as good as the movie"

    Lovely and witty, with more detail than the movie (good) but without the visual beauty of the movie.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Loretta Cameron
    Woodstock, GA United States
    14/05/10
    Overall
    "Truly Enchanting"

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading (listening) about the differnent personalties of four women who became friends forever. A fun read....no stress, no tears.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Siri-Mette Amble
    Norway
    27/04/10
    Overall
    "Entertaining"

    Makes you want to meet these 4 ladies "in person". Excellent narrator, she painted a very vivid picture.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • C. Telfair
    Shepherdstown, WV, United States
    17/06/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Gem"

    I saw the movie and loved it, so I decided to try the book. It is wonderful! If you are at all a fan of Masterpiece Theatre, I think you will agree.
    This is a book about women - lonely women, unfulfilled women - who need a holiday. From their sojourn in Italy, they gain peace and quiet, friendship, and a renewed appreciation of what's really important in life. The characters are delightful; there's a lot of humor; we all get a new perspective on English life between the World Wars.
    Still love the movie, but I also really enjoyed this audio experience.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 20 results PREVIOUS12NEXT

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