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

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...

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!

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

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>

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

Night - laptop is officially shutting down now!

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 21:50:25

Bye everybody - it's past my bedtime - have loved chatting smile 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 21:48:03

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

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.

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!

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

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.

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).

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?

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

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.

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?!

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

yeah that's it Tilly smile

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}

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 21:12:57

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

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.

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.

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.

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