This is not just my first A to Z Challenge post; it is my first proper blog on any subject. Writing about a book, a film and Italian gardens, 3 of my favourite topics, seemed like a good way to start. I’ve read quite enviously about some of the intriguing themes other participants are using; I’m not sure how my blogs will progress, perhaps a theme will emerge. I would love some feedback, good or bad, as entering this Challenge 3 days after starting my first blog site was quite possibly a mad idea. In contrast, Arlee Bird’s idea to start the A to Z Challenge in the first place was inspirational and I am so glad I read about it on Joanne Phillips’ “a writer’s journey” blog in time to enter for 2013.
The Enchanted April, by Elizabeth Von Arnim, is about four English women who rent an Italian Castle, San Salvatore, for the month of April; it is set in the 1920’s but the writer’s understanding and portrayal of human relationships keeps the book relevant as we approach the 2020’s. I had never heard of it until, on 5th April 1992, I watched the tv premiere of the BBC film adaptation; I was captivated by it, and doggedly searched the local secondhand book and charity shops until I found an old hardback copy of the original book. As I read it I could smell the flowers, feel the sun on my back, see the glint of light rising from the sea-water in the bay; I yearned to go there and spend time with Lotty, Rose, Lady Caroline and Mrs. Fisher (and, it has to be said, with Michael Kitchen who played Mr. Briggs in the film.)
I went on a gardens tour of Tuscany in late April 1995 . It rained on seven of the eight days I was away; not occasional light rain but relentless downpours that soaked through my inadequate showerproof coat. The water ran down my legs into my sturdy English garden- visiting shoes where it remained trapped, causing squelching noises as I walked, so I took a taxi to Florence and bought a pair of soft, violet open-toed shoes that would let the rain escape.
A couple of months ago, as I was purchasing a DVD online, the recommendations for future purchases included The Enchanted April; I bought it immediately and also downloaded the book onto my Kindle. As I read I can still smell the flowers; I still yearn to travel there with Lotty and the others, but now I would be sure I packed my gaberdine mac.
Thanks for the comment Natalia, glad you agree about The Enchanted April. I enjoyed looking at your photos of Sienna, a place I found fascinating and one I hope to return to soon.
I’ve been looking for a new read as I just finished a book and am getting rather tired of my go to authors. This one sounds fantastic. I will have to see if I can get it on my Kobo.
Hi Allison, thanks for the comment. The Enchanted April was first published in 1922 so the writing style and use of language might be too old fashioned for some readers but I think that you would enjoy it. I feel I must tell you that one of the character’s reflections on her sadness might stir up some painful memories for you. I admire your courage in sharing your life story so openly on your blogs and I am sure you have helped many other women to keep hope alive. Good luck with the A to Z.
I like your guts! Starting a blog AND the challenge! But heck, at least the challenge gives you a focus and an opportunity to experiment a bit with your blog. Good luck! Have fun!
Hi, thanks for stopping by my blog and for the good wishes; I think you were very clever going from A to Z in just one blog. Glad you are living your dream.
This is why I am so glad to be participating in the #atoz challenge. I loved this post you have written about Enchanted April. A movie I enjoyed. Now I will download it and read it too. The experience captured for me too Lynne, that longing to go off as these women did and live a month in Italy. I would pick Pienza. Let’s go together in our imaginations and share an adventure. I’ll see you there….in my dreaming. Look forward to more of your writing. Thanks!
Thank you for making such kind comments about my writing. I visited Pienza briefly when on my way to Siena and I can see why you would want to spend a month in that beautiful area. I do not know if you also looked at my post for the letter F, called Films from Fiction; I mentioned The Enchanted April again in that post. There are, almost inevitably, some differences in the storyline between film and book but I think,and hope, you will love reading it as much as I did.
Oooh, I want a pair of violet coloured open-toed shoes now 🙂
They were truly beautiful and I felt soooo guilty wearing them in the rain.