And our loved-up February Book of the Month is...THE ENCHANTED APRIL by Elizabeth Von Arnim (discussion Tuesday 24 February)

(103 Posts)

We'll be chatting about our Book of the Month, THE ENCHANTED APRIL by Elizabeth Von Arnim, a witty, escapist classic, here on Tuesday 24 February from 8-10pm.

Don't forget you can order your copy here

Keen to know how the votes turned out? Have a snoop at the results here

And, for anyone who missed them first time round, here were February's passion-filled book choices

Cocodrillo Wed 21-Jan-09 11:50:41

Have ordered my copy! Looking forward to it smile

Cocodrillo Wed 21-Jan-09 14:18:17

Though have just realized I will probably be in hospital on that date recovering from a c-section - d'oh. Not in denial at all, me. Never mind, will read anyway!!

twinsetandpearls Wed 21-Jan-09 22:54:00

I am going to try and read this and join in as it will be a good way of having me time.

coco, I didn't realise you were having a baby - is this number 2/3/4? How are you feeling (apart from being in denial)?

Twinset, this book is perfect me-time fodder. And given the weather right now, the Italian Riviera seems the place to be, even if just in the mind.

Cocodrillo Thu 22-Jan-09 17:01:45

This will be no 3. Feeling not too bad, thanks Tilly, though sleeping's a problem. It helps that my eldest has just started school. People keep coming up to me and saying oh, you're going to be one of those women, with 3 kids under the age of 5 hmm. To which I've been saying well, you know, not permanently!

Psychobabble Thu 22-Jan-09 20:08:33

it's not in the library! hooray, I will have to buy books! grin

Parcels of books arriving at the door always a cheery sight.

Coco, I say lets hear it for close-together kids. Hectic, yes, but very fun and we will cross over into those sun-filled, nappy-free lands that much sooner.

Spice1 Thu 22-Jan-09 21:39:02

This will be the first time that I have joined in with the monthly book club and am very much looking forward to it. A break from reality is much needed!

Tatties Thu 22-Jan-09 22:45:38

I have never joined in this before - always see the thread and think ooooh that sounds nice but I won't have time to the book. I might just do it this time!

Tatties Fri 23-Jan-09 21:44:40

I got the book from the library today so I guess I'm in!

jacx40 Sat 24-Jan-09 01:01:51

Just got back from my Local Book Club 'Girls Nite in' to watch DVD of our choice this month - something very satisfying about sharing a good read so count me in!!

Ahwishahwuramermaid Sat 24-Jan-09 21:54:30

I wanted to read this and join in, the book sounds so interesting, so off I went today, plus DP and children, to Waterstone's and they had none sad

The lady behind the counter had read it though and I told her it was the Mumsnet book for Feb so they are going to order more in grin

Welcome all - looking forward to this one, I think it will be just the thing for this dreary month. Hope you've got the date in your diary - Tuesday 24 February, 8-10pm...

And if you're around tomorrow evening, we'll be talking about I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, come along if you're free...

flake Mon 26-Jan-09 11:23:12

That looks like a great book i'm going to see if i can get it today and join in on feb 24th thanks!

cilitbang Wed 28-Jan-09 09:22:01

Download for free it to your ereader from here smile

CRAZYHAIRALWAYS Fri 30-Jan-09 21:37:29

I'm reading "The Enchanted April" at the moment and absolutely loving it - total escapism. Looking forward to joining the chat on the 24th Feb.

dylsmum1998 Sun 01-Feb-09 21:41:43

oh, can i join in please??
just checked my library website and they have the book, so just need to get down there and get it smile

spursmummy Tue 03-Feb-09 21:49:37

I've been wanting to join a book club for ages but due to working full time and commuting as well as having cute but demanding toddler I don't have much spare time and can't make local ones, so this is perfect for me. I've just ordered the book, and I've made a note in my diary that it's the 24th as I've got a terrible memory {smile]

dylsmum1998 Wed 04-Feb-09 21:30:17

i got the book yesterday and am over half way through all ready. tis very good, i couldnt sleep last night so read for hours instead.

i want to do this for similar reasons as you spursmummy mumsnet solces so many little probs LOL grin

morningpaper Thu 05-Feb-09 16:22:42

I am reading this too - I'm enjoying it, although I keep going off into fantasies about escaping somewhere hot and forrin which is distracting

dazmum Sat 07-Feb-09 11:38:36

I have always wanted to be part of a book club, enjoying the book and looking forward to the discussion - how does it work please?

dazmum Sat 07-Feb-09 11:39:51

PS anyone who can't get a copy in a bookshop, I got a very good condition used one for a couple of quid from Amazon, and its like new!

Mip Sun 08-Feb-09 21:01:26

Just saw that you had a book club. So exciting! Was part of a 'real' one before I had my son and I miss it (even though the book club has become a mummy group as we all had babies at the same time!). Am ordering the book today. Really hope I remember (and baby sleeps) on the 24th.

coconutice Mon 09-Feb-09 21:47:31

Modern I really enjoyed Joanne Harris' Five Quarters of the Orange for a classic I do love P&P but that's everyones fav... so perhaps I'd say Lord of the Flies, William Golding.

dazmum, I can't seem to link you to the page on how it works at the moment, I'll keep trying. But all it entails is reading the book and then logging on to this thread on 24 Feb 8pm. You'll see everyone posting their thoughts - it gets a tad surreal with the timelag, but just pitch in and watch everyone wildly agree/disagree/talk about something utterly different.

Mip/dylsmum/spurs/crazy/flake: great to have you.

Hope everyone enjoying the book - I've loved it.

abdnhiker Tue 10-Feb-09 21:34:18

I've just ordered the book on amazon - see you in two weeks!

bobdog Wed 11-Feb-09 21:02:31

My new year's resolution was to find book club in local area to inspire me - still no luck, but here you are with a book I've been meaning to read for a while.


dazmum Sun 15-Feb-09 17:55:32

Thanks TillyBookClub, have read it and I will be there!

Pinkfluffyslippers Sun 15-Feb-09 19:28:25

OK I've never done a book club before but have always meant to, so this is going to be my first time.
The book sounds great according to all the reviews on Amazon. I've just ordered it so I'll try to speed read it within the next week. Thank goodness it's half term and DD is off to holiday club. See you on the 24th.

mummycat1 Mon 16-Feb-09 08:36:47

Just started The Enchanted April and reading it as fast as I can! Looking forward to book chat on the 24th, it beats the 2ww blues smile

Wheelybug Tue 17-Feb-09 11:23:39

Just received this today - must get reading....

LucyEllensmummy Mon 23-Feb-09 18:53:46

I picked this up in a charity shop as i recognised it from mumsnet - glad i did. Cant see me finishing it by tomorrow though grin

Looking forward to tomorrow, everyone welcome whether or not you've got to the finale...

See you at 8pm.

Hello all

To kick off, I wondered what you all thought about this review quote I found:

'The Enchanted April sounds as if it would be an appallingly cloying cream puff of a fairy tale, but that would be to ignore that the author habitually kept a pot of lemon juice mixed with vinegar beside her ink-pot. With this bracing element there is additionally what can only be called a feast of flowers, hanging from every wall and pouring scent over the company.' — Times Literary Supplement

Did you find the book more cream puff than lemon vinegar? Or did she achieve the right balance?

Interesting review quote Tilly. Can definitely see where the cream puff/lemon vinegar comes from. For me it was more like a disappointing apple - you bite it expecting something quite delicious, but it turns out to be woolly and therefore doesn't live up to your expectations at all....

lemurtamer Tue 24-Feb-09 20:02:23

For me it was the right balance. There were no huge surprises in the book, but was so beautifully written that it kept me reading it.

lemurtamer Tue 24-Feb-09 20:03:46

Strawberrylace - it was better than I expected, and I want to read the German Garden book now.

Psychobabble Tue 24-Feb-09 20:05:33

definitely cream puff.

Also thought it was 'woolly' - very good description in fact! Definitely didn't live up to my expectations. I thought the characters were quite weak. There were some very humorous moments but overall I was bored.

Lemur - glad you liked it. i don't know why i didn't, but i didn't. i think it didn't really engage with my emotions in the way I thought it might, hence my overall disappointment. However, there were some great descriptions of place that made be feel like i could really see where they were staying

lemurtamer Tue 24-Feb-09 20:07:51

I didn't find Lady Caroline came to life very well but did the others.

psycho - completely agree about the weak characters - think the author didn't explore their motivations enough, and that didn't gel with me.

I found it witty and well observed, the ending was definitely cream puff though - there could have been a bit more drama and unpredictability about it

spursmummy Tue 24-Feb-09 20:09:40

I enjoyed it, but I felt like it was rushed at the end, especially regarding Scrap and her sudden liking of Mr Briggs, and Mrs Fisher suddenly mellowing. Will try some of her others though as overall I liked it, especially the excitement at the start.

lemurtamer Tue 24-Feb-09 20:10:46

I would agree that it didn't engage the emotions, and although everyone found happiness in Italy with not the kind of self-analysis you find in other novels I found it really charming and surprising that I hadn't come across the author before.

coconutice Tue 24-Feb-09 20:11:27

I am absolutely loving the book, haven't quite finshed but close. The woman are real and the situation, that desire to be alone, the need for time to think, all meant something. I was really gripped.

Yes agree about the weak characters. There were hints that difficult things had happened to them such as Rose's baby dying and Lady Caroline losing the only man she loved in the war. But nothing ever came of these events so the characters stayed shallow

Psychobabble Tue 24-Feb-09 20:11:33

I found it really hard to distinguish between the two main characters (whose names I have already forgotton) until she pointed out that one was fair and the other dark!

Wheelybug Tue 24-Feb-09 20:12:00

I only finished this afternoon and agree about the wooliness. They were all quite stereotypical I thought - Lotty was simper-y, the old lady was a typical old lady (cna't remember her name - preggohead), Caroline was nothing really and Rose was a bit weak as well.

morningpaper Tue 24-Feb-09 20:15:39

Well I really liked it. It was sort of like a nice pantomime, all pleasant and cheerful and everything came out all right in the end. I was a bit worried that there might be some sort of ghastly massacre at the end but was pleased that there was not.

spursmummy Tue 24-Feb-09 20:16:38

I think the male characters were more real than most of the female characters, they were more rounded and their actions were explained better. They definitely had more fun!

morningpaper Tue 24-Feb-09 20:16:40

I enjoyed all the characters and thought there was a bit of each of them in me, IYKWIM. I really wanted to travel to a lovely castle, especially as it is so cold and miserable here. It left me with wild gardening fantasies every night.

lemurtamer Tue 24-Feb-09 20:17:09

A massacre where the housekeeper stuffed everyone with meatballs for complaining! That would have been a surprise ending.

I'm edging towards the cream puff side. I loved the escapism, and thoroughly enjoyed the book. I thought the vinegary bits were very funny (especially the way Rose counter-offers Mrs Fisher cups of tea in the battle to be in control, plus the observant asides about husband and wife relationships), but essentially the plot twists were a mite too contrived and gloriously neat.

And you've got to question whether Lottie's unfailing optimism and serenity would last back in the grey streets of London (lets face it, her husband still counted her as 'useful' to him).

Did everyone believe in the husband's recognition of the beauty of their wives? I believed in Mellersh's more than Frederick's (mainy because Mellersh was still quite practical about it all and saw how many new clients he could get)

morningpaper yes I loved the garden descriptions too, it made me want to be in a warm climate with lots of flowering plants and lovely scent. I thought the male characters were all a bit hopeless. I thought Scrap would have a fling with Mr Wilkins as she seemed to like him after seeing him in his towel

Wheelybug Tue 24-Feb-09 20:21:13

Mellersh's was maybe more believable because it developed over a longer period of time in the book. Frederick arrived (by mistake) and suddenly fell in love (again) with Rose. Difficult to say whether either would last back in London but less so with Frederick's as it was so sudden.

morningpaper Tue 24-Feb-09 20:23:15

Nah Freddie was basically there to dribble over Caroline. But he did seem grateful, which is always a charming quality in a husband.

It was contrived and neat but I enjoyed that - it made a bit of a change to be honest. I felt like I was reading one of the children's nice Enid Blyton books but with lovely prose and adult wit.

god it was SO much nicer than Wetlands which I have just finished <scrubs self all over>

It was hard to find the new-found beauty in their wives believable. Especially as they were described as so dowdy and plain at the beginning of the book. And also how could they be so beautiful when in the same room as Scrap. It's a nice sentiment though - who doesn't want their husband to find them beautiful after years of marriage?

morningpaper Tue 24-Feb-09 20:29:31

Yes it's a lovely sentiment. We all know that really they would be thinking filthy inappropriate thoughts about Lady Caroline but who wants to dwell on that sort of nonsense all the time?

missclovis Tue 24-Feb-09 20:32:19

I liked it, although it wasn't very profound. It was more a period comedy with some good observations about snobbery, social climbing and self delusion. I thought Mrs Fisher was a ghastly old woman and by far the most interesting character because she was so embittered.

coconutice Tue 24-Feb-09 20:33:55

It was the perfect book for a dull Februray, warm and tingly. The Italian atmosphere I agree came across better than the characters, the colours and the smells, very evocative.

Okay, everyone's alternate ending please:

I think

Lady Caroline decides to wear the burka

Lottie and Mrs Fisher elope

Rose murders all men present by stuffing wisteria flowers into their mouths whilst asleep.

spursmummy Tue 24-Feb-09 20:35:22

missclovis - good point! I'd read a whole book about Mrs Fisher, but not about the other characters.

CarrieMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 24-Feb-09 20:37:34

Well there's been division over this book at Mumsnet Towers. We all enjoyed it but some more than others. I think I was expecting more romance, more drama, there seemed a lot of drama at the beginning (and I loved all that and the idea of escaping to a castle) and then a lot of frenzied activity at the end, but it was all a bit languid for me in the middle - though agree the vinegary bits were good. I love a happy ending so was glad about that but like Wheelybug I was also worried that the happiness was a bit ephemeral and might disappear once they left the sunshine... I do hope not.

Couldn't decide if it was just a light read, almost Mills and Boon-y or whether I was missing some deep and profound have been really looking forward to tonight's chat.. sorry I'm late blush

morningpaper Tue 24-Feb-09 20:40:15

Lady Caroline should have decided that all men are awful and should have embarked on a life of christian chastity and mission

Lottie and Rose elope with Frederick's cash

Mrs Fisher forms exclusive club with Frederick and Mellersh so she has company and they have lots of work

Evil landlord lives lonely life for being so horrid to Rose

spursmummy Tue 24-Feb-09 20:40:29

Alternate ending:

All the ladies decide to stay in Italy and get huge from eating pasta at every meal.

Mellersh and Freddie fall out of love with their wives because they're fat, fall in love with each other, and run off back to Hampstead.

morningpaper Tue 24-Feb-09 20:41:20

What is that spursmummy, some sort of slashfic ending? <appalled>

I agree about characters being stereotypical, and yet that was part of the enjoyment. I wallowed in the fact that the author wasn't trying to be too clever or tricksy. Enid Blyton is a good comparison, both like a guilty pleasure. Yet this was just witty enough to keep me charmed and not bored (Blyton definitely bored me).

I thought Lady Caroline was actually quite well drawn, her immediate recognition of people who were going to 'grab' and her world-weariness. Perhaps he terrible dilemma of being too beautiful was a little hard to stomach but I did like her.

Mrs Fisher was so annoying that I found it hard to get under her skin.

Rose and Lottie were both quite intriguing, but I found Lottie lost any edge once she became deliriously, armour-proofed happy. There was no suspense in her character development after that. And Rose was like a mournful labrador, waiting for its owner to come.

Lotty and Rose throw their deceitful husbands into the sea

Mrs Fisher joins a hippy commune in California

Lady Caroline falls asleep with a cigarette in her hand and burns San Salvatore down. Briggs rescues her and all the servants but later dies of his injuries and Scrap decides she did love him after all and spends the rest of her life in mourning

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 24-Feb-09 20:53:16

Loved <envied> the contrast between damp, dull, stuffy London and sensuous Italy, with gorgeous garden, lush food, sunshine and a sexy gardener. Despite caveat of weak ending, the bits of ephemeral joy pleased me. Reminds me of Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Grabbing a bit of joy while it's going.

morningpaper Tue 24-Feb-09 20:53:32

Yes I agree tilly, Lottie could have been a bit darker. A nice lesbian ending would have been jolly.

Agree also that her dilemma of being too beautiful was a bit over-done. It verged on the fairy-tale porridge-pot sort of story, which was a bit irritating.

morningpaper Tue 24-Feb-09 20:54:39

yy gerry

missclovis Tue 24-Feb-09 20:56:15

Lottie leaves Mellersh to live in sin with dark eyed mysterious Italian shepherd type she's been trysting with up the mountain.

Lady C renounces her title and wealth finding true authenticity as a deck chair attendant

Mrs Fisher realises she's living in the 20th century and spontaneusly combusts.

Rose fades into the wallpaper.

The men all go down the pub.

mummycat1 Tue 24-Feb-09 20:57:36

Hello - I think that the book was thoroughly enjoyable; the more you got into it, the more you got into it. It was brilliant escapism.

The balance between lemon vinegar and cream puff was just right for me too. I loved the way that Lotty launched herself into a new friendship like that - it's something I think we all fancy doing sometimes, but are too reserved to do. Even when you meet someone new who you get on with, you often let that slide away.

The ladies had no names or sense of self until they arrived at San Salvatore. They were only known by their married names, or in Scrap's case by her formal title, and were trapped and lost in England. But this was not, as I first suspected, an attack on men. There was room for them too in San Salvatore.

San Salvatore represented a feminine utopia of communal living where there is no one dominant leader, but rather a commune where everything is shared and all are welcomed and embraced.

Naturally as a utopia it had to be beautiful. I enjoyed the descriptions of the medieval castle and gardens, and feel that there was the right amount of description, but can see that some may feel that it was over the top - but isn't this afterall what a utopia is?

I have read "Elizabeth's German Garden" recently. This is more about vivid descriptions of a garden than anything else, and charts a period in Elizabeth Von armin's life. I think we can conclude from these two books, that Von Armin rather liked gardens!

The garden was the main focus of "The Enchanted April" too, more than the castle that they originally sort. The surrounding countryside played a role aswell. The women were able to go back to their feminine roots and find themselves in nature, which they are ultimately linked to.

The book was written in the 1920s when people were still in shock after the hideous fallout of WW1. Writing like this was popuar because people needed something comforting and beautiful to escape in. Interestingly, the war is only mentioned once (I think) and then this is brief. Men and women, at this time were trying to find and redefine themselves. It struck me that Rose and Lotty have no children, but have been married for some time and then lost their way in there relationships. Perhaps their husbands were away in the war for some time?

Please don't mind me rattling on - I'm really enjoying myself and could keep going all night grin

There's still Mrs Fisher and Lady C to talk about yet...

morningpaper Tue 24-Feb-09 21:01:23

hmmm vv interesting, do go on

<pours tea>

agree about feminine utopia - it just needed a jacuzzi and more gin and I'd be there in a flash

Hurrah for throwing the husbands into the sea. I felt they didn't really deserve their open armed embrace, though the women did deserve one (and they wanted it with the husbands, so I guess that's that).

The setting reminded me so much of The Talented Mr Ripley that I did keep expecting something weird and sinister to happen.

Looking upthread I realise I sound rather negative about the book which isn't how I felt when reading it at all. I think it holds you in a warm blanket spell and only afterwards, back in the real world, do you feel like criticising..

It is a blessed relief to read a happy dreamy book, lets face it.

Perhaps the difficulty is that you cant quite see why the women loved their men in the first place, even if they do go through a process of transformation and self-recognition.

mummycat1 really interesting to remind us of the context of when this book was written. If we find a romantic Italian castle appealing in this day and age, it must have been an incredible thought for people reading it and living with the fallout of war. I think this is where the book had a chance to be deeper but didn't do it. And probably didn't do it because, as you say, people wanted some light escapism

don't think they made enough of the wonderful castle and weather and scenery as i would've done (jealous, moi?)
but i wouldn't have wanted to spend a month with any of them.

Alternate ending:
In the first recorded episode of Italian Big Brother, the four housemates and their surprise men visitors have the length of time it takes for Mrs Fisher to eat a bowl of pasta to decide which one of them should leave in a surprise eviction

I really enjoyed the book as I read it and it's feelgood enough to be a Hollywood movie. Maybe Scarlett Johanssen as Lady Caroline and Judi Dench as Mrs Fisher? Keira Knightly and Kate Winslet could be the other two.

Utopia idea very interesting - so often utopias are really hidden distopias. Do you think the women could have continued in a happy commune without the arrival of men? Mrs Fisher was actually rather horrid and unhappy until Mellersh arrives and puts her at ease. Caroline is also unhappy-ish until she knows that Mellersh isn't going to grab. They need the catalyst of men arriving to hang together properly.

spursmummy Tue 24-Feb-09 21:11:00

Thanks mummycat 1. Having read what you've put I'm going to re-read it and think more about the time in which it was written rather than just reading it for its own sake (if you see what I mean). I suppose if Rose and Lottie's husbands have been away at war that's a huge reason for why they are so distant from each other (and it's also maybe why the men are utterly fixated with their work to the detriment of their relationships), and maybe because it's so lovely out there as opposed to any past experience the husbands have of Europe that the magic of the place works on them too, if only to a little extent in Mellersh's case.

mummycat1 Tue 24-Feb-09 21:12:57

Took so long writing all that, that I've only just caught up with the rest of the chat!

Lots of you seem to be drawn towards the lesbian - there was definitely an element of it wasn't there? I did wonder at times if Lotty and Rose might, Rose fizzled out a bit after a while - I kept wanting her to come back into it and live properly for herself, not merely exist for the sake of a man! angry Or maybe it was maternal longing?

To be fair - ending was very neat and the Briggs/Lady C bit didn't quite work as he wasn't any different to all the men who had bored her before.

*morning paper* Gin and jacuzzi sounds fab - would have jazzed things up a little! wink

Apparently this is already a brilliant film - a great mate told me she grew up watching it with her sisters and mum every Christmas. The cast was:

Josie Lawrence ... Lottie Wilkins
Miranda Richardson ... Rose Arbuthnot
Alfred Molina ... Mellersh Wilkins
Jim Broadbent ... Frederick Arbuthnot
Michael Kitchen ... George Briggs
Joan Plowright ... Mrs. Fisher
Polly Walker ... Caroline Dester

just added it to my lovefilm list

mummycat1 Tue 24-Feb-09 21:16:38

whistlejacket there is a film version - done in 1990s - available on dvd soon from Amazon - think I might take a look - Josie Lawrence is Lottie and there are some other famous bods in it, but I'm hopeless with names of famous people and names in general to be fair [confused emoticon}

mummycat1 Tue 24-Feb-09 21:17:15

yeah that's it Tilly smile

Psychobabble Tue 24-Feb-09 21:17:21

did anyone else not know how to pronounce 'Arbuthnot' and found it made it difficult to read?!

lemurtamer Tue 24-Feb-09 21:19:16

I haven't seen the film, quite glad before I read it, but couldn't help seeing Mrs Fisher as Joan P while reading.

Brill I'll try and get hold of it will be interesting to see how it's been done

Another trivia fact: the von Arnims hired EM Forster as a tutor to their kids at one point. This did remind me of A Room with a View, but less critical and more flippantly fun. Forster wrote his in 1908 and this was 1922 so surely she was influenced by him...

I agree about post WW1 literature. The demand for unthinkingly uplifting, relentlesly happy stuff must have been huge. Otherwise I suppose you did bitter satire like Evelyn Waugh?

spursmummy Tue 24-Feb-09 21:34:19

Tilly, I tried to read A Room with a View years ago but just couldn't get into it, if I wanted to read something like The Enchanted April but with a bit more bite to it would you recommend it? (Sorry for going off-topic).

Wheelybug Tue 24-Feb-09 21:35:18

good point about the post war period. I guess it would have been suitable for then. I think like Carrie said - I was expecting (or wondering if there was) a deeper meaning to it but I don't think there was. It started off relatively feminist - 2 women bored with their lives, leave their men (in Lotty's case, fairly deviously) and run off to the sun to enjoy themselves. Then they actually realise all they want is their husbands anyway and that makes them happy so not very feminist after all.

CarrieMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 24-Feb-09 21:42:23

oh I love that trivia fact... it does remind me of Forster when I think about it...Sorry don't feel I've contributed much, but have really enjoyed everyone else's contributions!

Will definitely look out for the film, though was quite enjoying the casting speculation

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 24-Feb-09 21:44:55

Ooh, Joan Plowright is SO Mrs Fisher: exactly who I was picturing when reading the book!

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 24-Feb-09 21:45:11

Bet Elizabeth would have been good value for a webchat. You get the feeling she would have been entertainingly <alarmingly?> frank.

mummycat1 Tue 24-Feb-09 21:48:03

I found EM Forster quite tough to read, but that's just my opinion, but go for it - just remember it's modernism so not much happens!

Speaking of which if you want haunting, depressive writing post WW1 then go for Ginny Woolfe - she's fab smile

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 24-Feb-09 21:49:46

And what happened to the sexy gardener? He sounded so promising when they got to the castle and then he just disappeared (presumably into the acacias).

Maybe it would have been less trite if he had ended up with Lady Caroline?

mummycat1 Tue 24-Feb-09 21:50:25

Bye everybody - it's past my bedtime - have loved chatting smile smile

mummycat1 Tue 24-Feb-09 21:51:40

yeah - more could have been made of the sexy Italian, but maybe then we would be annoyed about the romantic fiction sterotype?

mummycat1 Tue 24-Feb-09 21:52:13

Night - laptop is officially shutting down now!

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 24-Feb-09 21:52:13

Not so much a room of one's own, as an italian garden of one's own <with optional sexy gardener>

Virginia Woolf... hmm tried hard with her but not for me. Found I had to concentrate too much whereas Enchanted April was an easy read. But I wouldn't have read it if I hadn't joined the book club, I'm enjoying reading stuff I wouldn't have otherwise picked up

Agree that book club is a good way of reading things you wouldn't normally choose. Have reserved next month's book from the library - see you at the end of March!

Racking brains for an escapist read with more bite. Trying to remember stories where characters are discovering their true selves in hot country and can only come up with Evelyn Waugh's Scoop - not quite what we were looking for but incredibly funny all the same.

What a great night's chat, thanks everyone. I've loved doing this book.

See you on Tue 31 March to discuss WHAT WAS LOST by Catherine O'Flynn. Hoping to get an author chat for this one, will keep you posted...

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