When I read a review on Reading Matters of this lovely book, I wondered how much the movie that I have seen more than once departed from the book. Very little, it turns out. The movie captured much of the charm of the book and had the advantage of the visual beauty.
The book was written in 1922 and tells the story of four unacquainted women, each struggling with their own unhappiness, all suffering the damp chill dreary London winter. Mrs. Wilkinson sees an advertisement for a small medieval castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to let for the month of April. Thoughts of the wisteria and sunshine mentioned in the ad result in her overcoming her shyness and many other obstacles with lovely results for all.
Here's a meditation by the beautiful Lady Caroline about nice clothes:
…she was having a violent reaction against beautiful clothes and the slavery they impose on one, her experience being that the instant one had got them, they took one in hand and gave one no peace til they had been everywhere and had been seen by everybody. You didn't take your clothes to parties; they took you. It was quite a mistake to think that a woman, a really well-dressed woman, wore out her clothes. It was the clothes that wore out the woman, dragging her about at all hours of the day and night. No wonder men stayed young longer. Just new trousers could't excite them. She couldn't suppose that even the newest trousers ever behaved like that, taking the bit between their teeth.
It's been a treat to walk up the Monticello Trail, wash dishes, and weed the yard while listening to this book.