It might be August, but this is certainly the month to discover an Enchanted April.
We all have a list of books in our heads that we've never quite got around to reading. Either because there's something brand new that we can't wait to get started on or simply because we hear about it, make a note and then promptly forget. Well, no more.
Each month we're highlighting a classic novel which we want to shout about. The sort of books that have stayed on our own bookshelves for years and will likely always stay there. This month, it's Elizabeth von Arnim's beautiful The Enchanted April
, arguably one of the perfect books for Summer.
Following a notice in The Times, addressed simply to 'Those who Appreciate Wistaria and Sunshine' and advertising a 'small mediaeval Italian Castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be let furnished for the month of April', four very different women take up the offer.
They are escaping a dreary London for the bright sunshine and promise of freedom within Italy. Among the party are Mrs Wilkins and Mrs Arthuthnot, both leaving unappreciative husbands behind in the capital along with the beautiful Lady Caroline, sick of being 'grabbed' by lovestruck men. The final member of the party is Mrs Fisher, who spends her time remembering the bearded 'great men' she once knew in her Victorian childhood.
The Enchanted April is a funny, insightful and charming novel that Philippa, one of our booksellers, describes as "a wonderful classic for all those garden enthusiasts, this is not to be missed."