this is really a lovely little book. i have seen the movie it is based on several times and always enjoyed it, and i suspect the fact that the film is so faithful to the novel lessened the impact of the read for me -- it is so very true that i found less engaging than i expected it to be. i suspect that had i read it first i would have given the book a higher rating, and i almost feel badly about giving it three stars. the film was shot in the place where the author wrote the novel, and its lush beauty, even in memory sort of overwhelms the pleasure that the text gave me.
the novel, for those who haven't seen the film, is a story of women who need a holiday and happen upon an advertisement regarding a small castle in italy to be let for the month of april. two women who belong to the same ladies' club, spy it, and decide to try to let themselves have this one month idyll without their husbands. in order to make the venture more affordable they advertise for two more companions and find them. once there, they are at first stuck in their old ruts but very quickly succumb to the beauty and yes, enchantment of that april.
also, when push comes to shove, my least favourite name in the world may be mellersh.