The Enchanted April: Elizabeth von Arnim

IMG_3109I am an English teacher, and am lucky enough to be part of a fantastic department; full of creative, passionate, interested people. This book was given to every member of our faculty by our esteemed head of department. She had enjoyed it, and thought we all would too. She was not wrong.

I admit, I was not convinced at first. Really? A novel about 1920s housewives from Hampstead going on holiday? Surely not. But even as I was rolling that prejudice around in my mind, reading the first page or so, I felt some of that resistance go slack. I was totally unprepared for what followed.

This is one of the funniest, most precisely observant novels I have read in a very long time. Elizabeth von Armin writes such perfect characters, with such knowing humour, that I no longer cared about the unlikeliness of the plot, or my – misplaced and irrelevant – impatience with female authors writing on purely social/domestic themes. It’s an utterly charming, absorbing, hilarious novel. That is all.

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