The Enchanted April

Naxos. Feb. 2023. 8:18 hrs. ISBN 9781781984338. $25. F
In this perfect summer listen, a romantic classic from 1922, four women escape their dreary London lives for a trip to the Italian Riviera. Lottie and Rose, lovely young women who are both unhappily married, impulsively respond to a newspaper advertisement for “a small medieval Italian castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be let furnished for the month of April.” In order to help with the cost, the two invite cantankerous widow Mrs. Fisher and outwardly vapid socialite Lady Caroline to join them in San Salvatore. While the rather ill-matched quartet gets off to an awkward start, Lottie, ever the optimist, is sure the trip will transform them all—and, delightfully, it does. Lucy Scott’s smooth-as-silk, nuanced narration is simply wonderful. Her excellent middle- and upper-class British accents and stellar characterizations expertly differentiate the four women, and she skillfully reflects how the women grow and evolve in her narration.
VERDICT Although it was published over 100 years ago, modern listeners should appreciate author von Arnim’s (Elizabeth and Her German Garden) lovely armchair trip to a sunny Mediterranean estate, where vacationers gaze at the glimmering sea and blooming gardens instead of smartphones and laptops.
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