After selecting the Regency romance novel, Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen for January and February, we’ve picked a classic comfort novel for The Silver Petticoat readers to check out in March and April. We’ve chosen The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim for our latest book club selection.
ABOUT THE ENCHANTED APRIL BOOK
This time around, we’re doing something a little bit differently than we have in the past with the book club. Before, we always read and reviewed each book beforehand and then selected it because we liked it!
Well, The Enchanted April book by Elizabeth von Arnim is a classic book that’s been on our reading list for a long time, and it’s one we’ve never gotten around to reading yet.
So, we thought it would be fun to select the book (based on its special anniversary this year) and read it for the first time with each of you.
And what better time than March and especially the month of April? It is in the title, after all!
THE ENCHANTED APRIL CELEBRATES ITS 100th ANNIVERSARY
One hundred years ago, the charming novel, The Enchanted April, was first published and became an immediate bestseller, selling 40,000 copies in the first year! The book even had a play based on it within a few years. A couple of film adaptations later adapted the book as well.
Mike Newell adapted it into an award-winning film in 1991. The witty ensemble piece stars Joan Plowright, Miranda Richardson, Josie Lawrence, Polly Walker, Alfred Molina, Jim Broadbent, and Michael Kitchen. Downton Abbey fans should like it!
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The author of the book was Elizabeth von Arnim, an Australian-born English writer born in 1866 who became a massive success with a wide circle of famous literary friends, including her lover, H.G. Wells.
Besides The Enchanted April (her most famous book), she’s also well-known for Elizabeth in Her German Garden, a book beloved by Anne of Green Gables author, L.M. Montgomery! No surprise, since von Arnim’s novel discusses kindred spirits.
Suppose you’re not familiar with The Enchanted April. In that case, the novel showcases the sunshine of Italy and tells the tale of four different women (and English ladies) on a joint holiday at a small medieval Italian castle, the San Salvatore in Portofino, only to discover the transformative power of travel and their true natures there.
Now, if you’re unable to travel currently, then reading this book could be the next best thing!
The main characters include the youthful Lady Caroline Dester (a socialite), an elderly woman (the formidable Mrs. Fisher), Lottie Wilkins, a young housewife, and the pious Rose Arbuthnot, a religious housewife who disapproves of her husband’s scandalous novels. The dissimilar women come together as they make unexpected changes in a lovely tale of women finding their own way at an Italian villa.
As far as content goes, it’s considered a clean read with mild language. The genre is literary fiction with a happy ending.
Here is the official synopsis for the beautiful reprint of the novel from Macmillan.
OFFICIAL BOOK SYNOPSIS – MACMILLAN
Originally published in 1922, The Enchanted April is a charming and light-hearted novel about unlikely female friendships and the power of a blissful escape.
Complete & Unabridged. Part of the Macmillan Collector’s Library; a series of stunning, cloth-bound, pocket-sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover.
Four mismatched women respond to an advert in The Times offering a beautiful medieval castle to rent on the Italian Riviera. Bashful Mrs. Wilkins, cheerless Mrs. Arbuthnot, widowed Mrs. Fisher and socialite Lady Caroline Dester are each enchanted by the promise of ‘wisteria and sunshine,’ and they arrive on the tranquil Mediterranean shores full of hope for a heavenly escape. Tensions mount between the group at first, but as the idyllic spring days tick by, each is slowly transformed by the warm sunshine and unexpected company.
BUY OUR MARCH AND APRIL BOOK CLUB PICK
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(NOTE: If you like this book, you should also check out the contemporary retelling, Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen.)
JOIN THE SILVER PETTICOAT BOOK CLUB
If this is your first time hearing about The Silver Petticoat Book Club, we’d love for you to join us! We’re a group who love to read and discuss great books together.
You don’t even have to be the type of person who usually enjoys reading classics — we’re all different, and that’s the fun part. We want to share our love of books with others and share our thoughts in a safe space with each other.
The Silver Petticoat Book Club focuses on sweet, smart, or Austenesque books with love stories. We select a book once every other month to discuss, alternating book club choices between new and classic books.
This time around, we’ve chosen a classic book to read. So, in May 2022, we will select a newer book (any book published in the 21st century) to read.
The genres that interest us for this book club include:
- Classic Literature
- Clean & Wholesome Romance
- Fairy Tales
- Gothic Romance
- Historical Fiction
- Historical Romance
- Literary Fiction
- Paranormal Romance
- Romantic Mystery/Romantic Suspense
- Women’s Fiction
- YA Fiction (typically fantasy/paranormal, romance, or historical)
Check out our previous choices HERE!
Our book club does not discuss explicit books or books with lots of profanity or excessive violence. We focus on books with steam levels between one and two with a few threes.
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A one on the steaminess scale is much like a Hallmark romance. A two may include implied love scenes or some language and frightening situations, like a PG movie. While a three may have an explicit love scene or even two, they’re more emotional and necessary to the story. So, PG-13-like.
We don’t cover fours or fives.
Also, we should say that this is not a “romance genre” book club, even though we discuss romance! We choose from many genres and not just romance – but these books have some love story in them – even if it’s not the book’s main point.
HOW THE ONLINE BOOK CLUB DISCUSSION WORKS
At the end of the second month, we’ll discuss the book on Facebook and Goodreads, with a bit of discussion also available on Instagram. Feel free to join us, as we’d love to hear your thoughts on the book.
You can also choose to download our free printable discussion questions and discuss the book on your own time with your friends or family. These discussion questions will post on The Silver Petticoat Review for your personal use!
After announcing a new book club pick, make sure to find a copy – buy it, borrow it, or even check it out from the library, and start reading! You’ll have about two months to finish.
We give a longer reading time because some classic books are long and readers want more time!
You can follow our site, The Silver Petticoat Review (subscribe to our newsletter for updates), for up-to-date information on the book club. You may also connect with us via our social media sites using the hashtag #TheSilverPetticoatBookClub.
Read more about The Silver Petticoat Book Club HERE.
Are you going to read The Enchanted April with us? Have you read this classic book before? Let us know in the comments below!