Yesterday, on Austen Authors, Cindy Jones, author of My Jane Austen Summer, asked her fellow authors to share where they would like to vacation if they could be dropped into one of their favorite novels. I immediately thought of Elizabeth Von Arnim's The Enchanted April. The setting, post World War I England, is a sad place. In addition to the hundreds of thousands of men who died in the war, there are even a greater number of men who returned home wounded in mind and body. War widows and those who have lost fathers, brothers, and friends walk about in the dreary colors of mourning.
But then Lottie, who is married to a boring accountant who views her as a necessary adjunct to his career, sees an advertisement in the paper for a villa in Italy where the walls are covered with wisteria and the grounds populated with ancient trees, and she immediately enlists another lonely lady in her venture to go to San Salvatore for the month of April. They are soon joined by a cranky old spinster and a beautiful lady of England's elite who lost her lover in the war.
I don't want to spoil the story by sharing too much. But allow me to say that all return to England completely restored and better prepared to face the vagaries of everyday living. It is a beautifully written novel that was made into a movie. Polly Walker, Miranda Richardson, Joan Plowright, and Michael Kitchen are among the stellar cast. It's the perfect book (or film) for a cold winter's day or a summer escape. I highly recommend it.
If you could be dropped into a favorite novel, which one would you choose?