Enchanted April: Renewal and Possibilities

Are you wishing for different weather just now?

Maybe a change in scenery is all you need to perk up. After a rough winter, the drowsy dreaminess of a warm, languid clime may sound very appealing.

If so, you have something in common with the middle-aged Lottie Wilkins and Rose Arbuthnot, both members of the same London ladies’ club, who become acquainted after reading a newspaper advertisement for a small, furnished medieval castle to be rented for the month of April on the balmy shores of the Mediterranean. They are seeking enchantment – and in April.

*  *  *

In February, I met Timeless Lady, a blogger who blends quirkiness and a strong, spiritual core in her posts. In a recent piece about the book/movie Enchanted April, she published the words in the newspaper ad that enticed these ladies to exchange London fog for idyllic Italy at a castle in Portofino, Italy no less. Here is The TImes newspaper ad that drew them in:

To Those Who Appreciate Wisteria and Sunshine. Small mediaeval Italian Castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be Let furnished for the month of April. Necessary servants remain. Z, Box 1000, The Times.

 

Lottie Wilkins and Rose Arbuthnot, both wishing to escape the drab days of winter, also share a desire to leave the day-to-day drudgery of housekeeping and the struggles of marriage, Lottie to the klutzy Mellersh and Rose to her gawky Frederick. But there is the matter of money, so to share expenses they take on the elderly, crotchety Mrs. Fisher played by Joan Plowright, and the stunning, but aloof Lady Caroline Dester. As the wisteria and sunshine slowly work their magic, the characters are rejuvenated and re-discover hope and love.

Film, 1992  Courtesy Wikipedia image
Film, 1992 Courtesy Wikipedia image featuring Lady Caroline Dester, who is sick of being grabbed by men!

In the early 1920s, just after World War I, author Elizabeth Von Arnim vacationed in the serenity of Portofino, Italy at Castello Brown, the same castle featured in the movie. Inspired by the magnificent medieval castle and the luscious gardens of San Salvatore, Von Arnim wrote “Enchanted April,” the book on which the movie is based.

I discovered a link to a free copy of the book via the Guttenberg Library, where you can search and find links to other books and stories you read as a child.

Want more Elizabeth Von Arnim? Click here for her Collected Works!

Cover image: courtesy Amazon Books
Cover image: courtesy Amazon Books

In case you haven’t seen the movie, or if you want to succumb once again to its captivating charms, here is the trailer from Miramax Films:

Quotes from Enchanted April

I want to just sit and not talk and not think . . . .  ~ Caroline

If you wish for something hard enough, it happens!  ~Lottie

 

Wisteria in patio garden
Patio garden wisteria

 

When you want to get away from it all, where do you escape?

What is on your bucket list – Where would you like to go right now, or sometime soon?

 

Coming next: Moments of Discovery # 6 ~ Food for Thought, Stirred with Imagination

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48 thoughts on “Enchanted April: Renewal and Possibilities

  1. Good morning, Marian! Your timing is impeccable, as always. 🙂 A few days ago, my daughters’ former Latin teacher (who I am now friends with) posted some photos of trips to Italy she took with students. They were in April, over spring break. I went on two trips–once with each daughter.

    I saw the movie, Enchanted April, and I remember enjoying it, but I don’t remember it very well. I may have to revisit it and/or read the book. I suppose there is a whole genre of English men and women visiting warmer climes–A Room with a View, for example, and now the Marigold Hotel movies.

    Our daffodils have started blooming, so in my mind spring has arrived. Temperatures around 70 yesterday, but in the 40s today!

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    1. It sounds as though spring is flirting with you, and will soon arrange a date for a lasting commitment.

      We loved Italy – there is simply nothing like the clear, clean Mediterranean air, especially in places like Tuscany. I’m glad you made memories there with each daughter.

      I always enjoy our Wednesday and Saturday morning meetings here. Thank you, Merril.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Marian from a damp and cold Johannesburg up here on the highveld in South Africa (now raining again). Winter has arrived, a bit early. I REALLY would love to go to Florence and see those cathedrals, experience the light. I MAY be going to S. India later this year with US friends and if on my own with them so be it. There are times I want to escape …:)

    I am bookmarking your post to re-read and thank you for the link to free book and the trailer – will definitely check it out!

    Thank you for this delightful post, all of it, including the wistful wisteria .. (maybe that can be my non-de-plume for the moment). And perhaps in MAY I may see about hiring the film …

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    1. I always enjoy your commentary – and especially today with your clever word plays. Wistful wisteria may be a good way to describe the bittersweet sensation of conflicting emotions.

      You’d love the vicarious experience of seeing “Enchanted April.”

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  3. Oh Marian I am a dreamer , fantasist, romantic and this book / film is made for me .
    I suppose I don’t have to GO anywhere just look inside my head but if my head is a bit full of the fluffy stuff I go to the beach where I can dream to my hearts content …do you know I wouldn’t want to be anything else because I am only ever happy being me .
    I wish I could see that advert. I’d be on the first plane out there and husband (who is completely down to earth ) would say ‘Now hang on a minute Cherry. Can we just have a think about this ‘ ☺️☺️☺️
    I am going to live forever Marian because I have too much on my bucket list. Either that or I’m coming back .
    Cherryx

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    1. What a sense of humor, Cherry.

      It seems to me you are from Wales. Right? Yesterday I watched an episode of Rick Steves’ Europe, a TV travel show popular here in the States. The topic was North Wales, and the commenter mentioned the charm and friendliness of the people there. Apparently, most can speak Welsh along with English. I wonder if that is true of you.

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      1. I am originally from England but have Welsh on my dad’s side and Irish on my mum’s side . Where I live is West Wales near the Georgian town and harbour Aberareon ( it’s beautiful look it up on net). The people here are bilingual, Welsh and English , it fascinates me because I only speak English . Welsh is a lyrical language , that’s probably why they sing so well . Thank you for asking . It’s great to know we are known over your side of the pond .
        Cherryx

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          1. There is a sizable Welsh population around us and two churches I know of had a Welsh origin. They still have, and I will spell this wrong, I know…Gymfana Ganu open to the public for hymn singing.

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  4. Hi, I loved reading your blog post. Thanks so much for the reminder that there are many of us who love the magic of “Enchanted April.” Thanks also for the link back to my blog. 🙂

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  5. Lovely post, Marian, as I look out upon our now-only-two-feet-of-snow. Enchanted April is one of my favorites. I have a collection of “British ladies vacationing down south” that includes Room With a View, Tea with Mussolini, and Ladies in Lavender. As far as where I’d like to be? I’m leaving Saturday for Chincoteague again. This time with my mom.

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    1. I feel a pop of joy at the mention of Chincoteague, which should be sprouting some green and yellow any day now. How fortunate you can spend time with your “mum” after slaving away on your edits in snowy Vermont. Cherish the moments, Janet.

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  6. Marian — Watching the clip of “Enchanted April” makes me want to rent the movie again. I’d forgotten how great it was the first go-round and I know it’ll be just as wonderful all these many years later.

    Thank you for the link to the Guttenberg Library — you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll check that out!

    You asked:

    When you want to get away from it all, where do you escape?
    If I’ve been writing and need a break, I escape on a long walk or bicycle ride along the Boise river. If I haven’t had the opportunity to write for a while, I go into our window-lined office that overlooks a lovely garden and escape into a work in progress.

    What is on your bucket list – Where would you like to go right now, or sometime soon?
    This summer we’re heading north to wine country in and around Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

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    1. You always have something good brewing, a very good thing!

      Maybe I blogged about it, but I’m sure I posted on Facebook about our trip to Coeur d’Alene and then farther east to Silver Valley for skiing last year. I don’t think you had moved to Idaho yet (January 2014) or we certainly would have looked you up. Always, “muchas gracias” for showing up here. What a delight!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am sure I have not seen this movie, it does not seem familiar. Or the book. I do remember years and years ago seeing a movie called WE OF THE NEVER NEVER that took place in Australia, a somewhat autobiographical movie of an author, whose name I have forgotten. Then there is CROSS CREEK, a movie that takes place in the South swampy areas about Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. They are both female-led movies and I would recommend them. I know this does not answer your questions, but I always love a movie recommendation myself.

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    1. Thanks for your recommendations, Athanasia. Cross Creek is set in Florida not too very far away from my home base. One of my colleagues did her PhD work on Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ writings, so I learned to admire her work as a respected, award-winning writer. I’ll have to check out your other title as well. Again, thanks!

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      1. I always enjoy reading your posts when I take the time to stop by. I have not been doing a lot of writing lately. Mostly I have been writing the beginnings, but not endings. That is, until something motivates me to the point that I’m less concerned about perfection, and more concerned about expression.

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  8. I love the British novels, often made into movies, about British women finding their passion in Italy. You made me see it.
    I tend to turn inward or to reading when I need a break. I also have a few friends who I love but don’t see often because they live thousands of miles away. I’d like to visit them for extended periods and take some long hikes in the west. I’m considering how to do this with my pooch. We may have a long road trip in our future.

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    1. I’m glad this post re-ignited your desire to reach out and connect, always a good counter-balance to the introspection of our writing life. I imagine Willow would be happy to be your wing-doggie! Thanks for commenting, Elaine.

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  9. The line “necessary servants remain” is perfect! I’ll take it! My bucket list includes getting back to Spain, where I spent my junior year of high school. I’ll take it without servants even. Thanks for this breath from somewhere else!

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    1. The oozy space between hard winter and the permanent arrival of spring calls for a breath of fresh air, we both think. I just checked out the Enchanted April DVD from the library again – reminisce, refresh. Ahhhh!

      You’ll have to check out Rick Steves’ Spain – book or video format. So tantalizing. I think of Spain as a happy place bright with color; hope you make it back there soon.

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  10. Enchanting post, Marian! I’m off to Gutenberg to download a copy of Enchanted April. It sounds like my kind of reading. Where would I be off to if I could? In my adirondack chair under the biggest trees in our backyard with a glass of iced tea to read. It’s not warm enough yet. So I’ll continue to dream.

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    1. If you could zip over here, you could enjoy our patio with the same accoutrements. It’s not yet 9:00 am, and the temp is at least 75 degrees here in Jacksonville. I’d trade with you this summer though, when it’s hot and steamy.

      Cliff is looking forward his visit with you and Bob today. So sorry to miss this personal encounter. RIght now I have plantar fasciitis, so I’m hobbling around in pain. Next time!

      Thanks for the compliment – and for the reply here, Sherrey.

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      1. Oh I know what you mean. I’ve found over the years that Birkenstock sandals and shoes are the only shoes I can wear and to never ever go barefoot on a hard surface. I hope your spell passes quickly.

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        1. You are very observant, Athanasia. This is my second bout, the first one about three years ago. I have been on my feet too much lately and not wearing proper orthotics. So I’m mending my ways, wearing the right shoes and doing rehabilitation exercises. I don’t want a repeat of this ever again. Thanks for caring, Athanasia.

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