Enchanting! Mesmerizing! Ultimately... spellbinding!
How else can one describe the written wonder that is "The Enchanted April," a classic novel written by the incomparable Elizabeth von Arnim in 1922, a novel that still has the ability to capture a reader's senses so fully it becomes an instant, never-to-be-forgotten, lifelong favorite for many readers several decades after being published!
The characters, dialogue, setting and plot within this book are so equally well-developed they weave a mosaic of finely-knit ingredients that create the perfect recipe to formulate a stellar novel. The characters are revealed like paint being chipped from a wall, a bit at a time, unveiling so much of the brewings within their mind and actions you cannot help but be transfixed.
Take for instance this revealing line:
"How passionately she longed to be important to somebody again—not important on platforms, not important as an asset in an organization, but privately important, just to one other person, quite privately, nobody else to know or notice. It didn't seem much to ask in a world so crowded with people, just to have one of them, only one out of all the millions, to oneself. Somebody who needed one, who thought of one, who was eager to come to one—oh, oh how dreadfully one wanted to be precious!"
A flurry of emotions wanting to break free is evident here. And this is just a minute example of the descriptive reflections portrayed from each character. No one character and their thoughts are left mysterious in this book. There is a sweet, poignant longing to fully live life and love and be loved with all their hearts by the ladies in this book. Their emotions are palpable, splattered on the page for you to revel in with every turn of the page. Whatever the characters were experiencing in their lives and the dreams and hopes they aspired to- I felt it... all of it.
In addition, this quoted line conveys a classic connotation in that it can easily fit into today's society. It is indeed timeless. Anyone of us can feel like this at any time within our lives- longing to be "privately important"- not for the "mechanical" asset we can bring to an organization or platform but what we can bring of our true selves in authentic relationships we keep near and dear to our hearts in humble privacy.
Another line strikes a poignant chord:
"Why couldn't two unhappy people refresh each other on their way through this dusty business of life by a little talk—real, natural talk, about what they felt, what they would have liked, what they still tried to hope?"
The setting was magical, so tangibly alive I could actually feel the soft breeze caress my own cheeks and imagine the scent of flowers and sea that lingered in the air. The vivid scenes permeated my own senses. This descriptive paragraph says it all:
"The ripples of the sea made little gurgling noises at their feet. They screwed up their eyes to be able to look into the blaze of light beyond the shade of their tree. The hot smell from the pine-needles and from the cushions of wild thyme that padded the spaces between the rocks, and sometimes a smell of pure honey from a clump of warm irises up behind them in the sun, puffed across their faces. Very soon Mrs. Wilkins took her shoes and stockings off, and let her feet hang in the water. After watching her a minute Mrs. Arbuthnot did the same. Their happiness was then complete."
My heart was elated... my soul was transported to that beautiful vacation spot skillfully depicted by the author. I felt like I was right there in Italy, in a world teeming with visual beauty, color and a hearty abundance of hope. A world where dreams can turn into reality just by sight and breathing in the air. This is magic skillfully, yet naturally, etched by the author. Words flowed into cinematic scenes that unraveled within the mind. The spot-on extent of this writing perfection is rare. Incomparable.
There is no doubt... I am gushing for I was quite simply and irrevocably... "enchanted."
You can find out more about the author, Elizabeth von Arnim, by visiting this delightful web page:
Elizabeth von Arnim – The International Society Devoted to Scholarship on Elizabeth von Arnim (elizabethvonarnimsociety.org)
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Book Reviewed: "The Enchanted April;" author: Elizabeth von Arnim; written in 1922
Book Blog Copyright (C) 2022 Mary-Lisa Russo
You have stumbled into the writing world of Mary-Lisa Russo, an avid storyteller observing the universe around her and her humble place amongst the stars. “Excerpts From The Wandering Mind” is Mary-Lisa’s first collection of poems and she is currently working on her next book to be released in 2022. She recently created an e-book, namely, "Voices From the Universe," for her subscribers which is available for download via BookFunnel. She is a university graduate having majored in English Literature and continues to nurture her ongoing writing education at a local college. She is a member of the Ontario Poetry Society and various writers’ groups.