Monday, June 8, 2015
The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim and Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen Book Review
I'm doing these book reviews together because Enchanted August is an updated version of The Enchanted April.
In both cases we have a simple story line of two women captivated by taking a vacation place for a month. In April the house is in Italy during the early 1900s. In August, a story happening today, the place is in Maine.
What starts out simple in April turns into a celebrity ridden story in August, perhaps a sign of the times.
I loved Von Arnim's narrative of women escaping restricted lives to rediscover who they are, and really embrace friendship without pretense. The writing is visual and vivid. Indeed, it can be biting. But I felt as I was reading that I was transported into a different time and place. The book is gorgeous.
Enchanted August is a lighter book, written more to appeal to beach goers looking to escape, though not as much emotionally as into a glamourous vision of a summer retreat. The basic two initiating women who organize the cottage are joined by a movie star and the surviving gay partner of a famous composer. It's a good book still, but a very different one. And it doesn't delve as deeply into the women's psyches, instead looking at day to day interactions.
I loved reading the two together. Combined, they give us a sense of how women and their roles have progressed, but we're all still just girls at heart.