Enchanted August

Enchanted August

A Novel

Book - 2015
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Four women struggling with loss, disappointment and overwork rent a small summer cottage in Maine, where they find wholeness in regional comforts while sharing their respective stories and rediscovering their passions.
Publisher: New York, New York : Pamela Dorman Books, Viking, 2015.
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780525429050
Characteristics: 311 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

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Oct 14, 2018

The Enchanted August is a modern retelling of The Enchanted April (1922), which is one of my favorite books! Instead of London, the four renters are from Brooklyn, and instead of Italy, they head to a glorious cottage off the coast of Maine; there is no internet service on the island, and no cars; you have to reach it by ferry. I grew up on the coast of Maine, so I loved the idea of setting the modern version of this book there!

Now I must admit that The Enchanted August is very much like The Enchanted April. Most of the characters even have the same names. So if it bothers you to read a book that is so derivative, this might not be the book for you.

And it could have been horrible, to take a much-loved classic like The Enchanted April and update it. It could have lost all the magic of the original.

But somehow it works! I love The Enchanted April, and I thoroughly enjoyed The Enchanted August! I totally lost myself in this book. But I must say that I think The Enchanted April is the better book, probably because it is the original, and people are still reading it and loving it nearly 100 years after it was first written. I also enjoyed The Enchanted August so much because of all the parallels and references to The Enchanted April. I think that someone reading The Enchanted August without having read The Enchanted April would be missing a lot—and reading them in the wrong order would ruin the classic book.

So my advice to you is: Please read The Enchanted April first! It is not long, and it is a lovely story! Be sure you read an unabridged edition. WARNING: it may give you and uncontrollable desire to go to Italy!

ArapahoeKati Aug 20, 2018

I was utterly charmed by this, a little magic, a lot Maine. Maine! A place where I'd love to sit on the seashore and make lifelong friends.

Ali_at_library Jul 06, 2018

A lovely summer read with interesting characters in a beautiful setting. Everyone is looking for something in their lives and these 4 found it at Hopewell Cottage.

Apr 02, 2016

Good book - Nice, light, easy & enjoyable read!

SPL_Robyn Aug 24, 2015

Reviewed, Stratford Gazette ,August 2015

JCLMelodyMK Jul 01, 2015

Modeled after the 1922 novel "Enchanted April"
" Enchanted August" is nicely updated to the 21st century. I found it to be a good summer read with likeable characters, a nice story and a lovely setting. I wish I could go to Maine and stay at the Hopewell cottage for a month.


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SPL_Robyn Aug 24, 2015

August may be almost over but that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for one last great summer read.

If the title Enchanted August sounds somewhat familiar, it is because author Brenda Bowen is paying homage to an earlier work of fiction, the 1922 novel Enchanted April, by Elizabeth von Arnim; this novel in turn may be better known for the film starring Miranda Richardson and Joan Plowright. Bowen uses most of the character names from the original, and dots references to the source novel throughout her story. The original sees a group of four unhappy British women of disparate backgrounds rent an idyllic Italian villa together, become acquainted and even fond of each other, and in the process rediscover a new love for their own lives.

The homage begins instead in New York City, and the idyllic retreat is on a tiny island in Maine. It is an audacious move to ‘re-write’ a beloved novel (though that does not stop Jane Austen knock-offs), and Rose, Lottie, Caroline and Beverly vary slightly from their forbears, but the mood of the original – languid, whimsical and reflective – is wonderfully matched by Bowen’s update (lest you think the story is nothing more than a girl’s getaway romp). It is the type of novel sure to become an instant favourite just for the feeling it generates with its descriptions of the island cottage, the salt-sea air, the evening cocktails on a wrap-around porch, the lazy meanderings on winding forest paths, the starry, starry nights… it is a novel that simply evokes the best of the season and is sure to get re-read each summer.

There’s still time to capture that summer feeling – reserve a copy of Enchanted August at spl.bibliocommons.com


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