Thursday, June 11, 2015
Enchanted August: A Novel by Brenda Bowen
Enchanted August: A Novel
by Brenda Bowen
Pamela Dorman Books, 2015
source: publisher via Netgalley
Summary (from goodreads):
On a dreary spring day in Brooklyn, Lottie Wilkinson and Rose Arbuthnot spot an ad on their children’s preschool bulletin board:
Little Lost Island, Maine.
Old, pretty cottage to rent on a small island.
Springwater, blueberries, sea glass.
Neither can afford it, but they are smitten—Lottie could use a break from her overbearing husband and Rose from her relentless twins. On impulse, they decide to take the place and attract two others to share the steep rent: Caroline Dester, an indie movie star who’s getting over a very public humiliation, and elderly Beverly Fisher, who’s recovering from heartbreaking loss. If it’s not a perfect quartet, surely it will be fine for a month in the country.
When they arrive on the island, they are transformed by the salt air; the breathtaking views; the long, lazy days; and the happy routine of lobster, corn, and cocktails on the wraparound porch. By the time of the late-August blue moon, real life and its complications have finally fallen far, far away. For on this idyllic island they gradually begin to open up: to one another and to the possibilities of lives quite different from the ones they’ve been leading. Change can’t be that hard, can it?
With a cast of endearingly imperfect characters and set against the beauty of a gorgeous New England summer, Enchanted August brilliantly updates the beloved classic The Enchanted April in a novel of love and reawakening that is simply irresistible.
Whether you've read Elizabeth von Arnim's The Enchanted April or not, Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen is a near-perfect summer novel. So clear your calendar, pull up a beach chair, pour a cold drink, and prepare to be transported.
Just like The Enchanted April's castle in Italy, I inhabited Hopewell Cottage on Little Lost Island, Maine... and regular readers of this blog know how much I love Maine! I gazed at the ocean, gathered sea glass, smelled the flowers, listened to birdsong, and feasted on lobster. Pure bliss.
Bowen's characters - a pair of harried New York City moms, a publicly humiliated movie star, and the elderly, grieving Beverly Fisher - offer an entertaining twist on Von Arnim's Londoners... especially Beverly Fisher. I delighted in my time with this group.
As a rule, I am not a fan of 'modern retellings'. In fact, I can only think of one I truly enjoyed. Now that number has doubled. And by the way, If you haven't read The Enchanted April, now is the perfect time. Why not read the two books back to back?
Relax and enjoy some summer fun. Escapist reading doesn't get much better.