Elizabeth Von Armin

Elizabeth Von Armin’s 1922 novel The Enchanted April is one of the most soothing books I have ever read. The story is simple: four very different Englishwomen respond to an advertisement for a month-long stay in an Italian villa. During their stay, each discovers something about themselves that allows them to move their lives in a new direction. While the bare bones of the story look disturbingly like a 1920s version of a Chicken Soup for the Soul book, Von Armin’s style is so full of dry English humor that the book never (okay... rarely) seems cloying.

Note: There is a film version of The Enchanted April. It’s not bad, but it simplifies too many of the book’s more subtle points.

Note #2: According to contemporary reports, Elizabeth Von Armin was not exactly a fluffy bunny, personality-wise. After her relationship with fellow author H. G. Wells fizzled out, she promptly wrote a letter describing him as “very rotund and simultaneously haggard with cold evil eyes”. Sweet little thing, wasn't she? She was said to have a great love of flowers, though, so if the male-female relationships in The Enchanted April seem a little forced... well, at least her landscape descriptions were heartfelt.


Libraries and most bookstores.

Other Recommendations:
Wives and Daughters, by Elizabeth Gaskell
Posted by: Julia


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