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Rowena's Reviews

My true loves: Wilkie Collins, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anais Nin, George Eliot, James Joyce, James Baldwin, George Orwell, Oscar Wilde, bell hooks, Chinua Achebe, Langston Hughes, William Shakespeare... I'm falling for : Italo Calvino, Toni Morrison, Frantz Fanon, Wole Soyinka, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, Albert Camus, Margaret Atwood, Somerset Maugham, Junot Diaz, A.S. Byatt... And the lists continue to grow! I will read almost anything, as long as it's well-written. I always love to expand my reading horizons.

Currently reading

Edward W. Said
Infinite Jest
David Foster Wallace
Finnegans Wake (Trade Paperback)
James Joyce
The Enchanted April - Elizabeth von Arnim “All down the stone steps on either side were periwinkles in full flower, and she could now see what it was that had caught at her the night before and brushed, wet and scented across her face. It was wistaria. Wistaria and sunshine.”

This was a lovely book about four English women who answer an advertisement to rent an Italian chateau in San Salvatore,Italy during a dismal April in England. The advertisement seems to be a godsend to these women, whose lives are not going the way they had hoped. As the title word “enchanted” implies, the story does have a slight fairytale-like aura to it, but not annoyingly so.

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book so much, on the outset it looked like it would be an extremely slow read. However, it turned out to be very enjoyable. Elizabeth Von Armin is a masterful storyteller. Her writing is beautiful and witty. Also, for a floraphile such as myself, her descriptions of flowers were heavenly:

“The wistaria was tumbling over itself in its excess of life, its prodigality of flowering; and where the pergola ended the sun blazed on scarlet geraniums, bushes of them and nasturtiums in great heaps, and marigolds so brilliant that they seemed to be burning, and red and pink snapdragons all outdoing each other in bright, fierce colour.”

Additionally, as a person whose life has been changed by travel, I think this book is a great advertisement for travelling to renew your soul and learn more about yourself and others.

My first Von Armin and it definitely won’t be my last. Highly recommended.