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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Enchanted August: A Novel by Brenda Bowen

(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book: Out in paperback on July 5th!

It’s an unusually rainy summer in Park Slope, Brooklyn, when Lottie Wilkinson and Rose Arbuthnot spot a battered index card on their children’s preschool bulletin board:
Hopewell Cottage
Little Lost Island, Maine.
Old pretty cottage to rent on a small Maine island.
Springwater, blueberries, sea glass.
August.
Neither of them can afford to take a month away from their spouses and kids, but one look at Hopewell Cottage online and they are smitten. To share expenses, they find two unlikely companions to join them: Caroline Dester, the damaged, beautiful darling of the independent movie scene, and Beverly Fisher, a retiree recovering from a heartbreaking loss. Though they get off to a rocky start, soon the four begin to relax into island life. And, as the sea breeze works its magic, they rediscover the best versions of themselves, and find, to their surprise, that they can indeed be happy, and with the people they least expect.

my thoughts:

Talk about the perfect summer read! Enchanted August is about four lost souls who find themselves  sharing a beautiful cottage on an island named Little Lost Island - how apropos?

An updated version of the classic novel, The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim, Enchanted August provides a modern twist to the story.  In the original, its a foursome of British women who rent a villa in Italy, but this time round we have a group of Americans renting a cottage for the month  of August in Maine.  Oh, and the one named Beverly Fisher happens to be an elderly gentleman who misses the loves of his life - Sammy (the love of his life) and Possum (his beloved cat).  However, the heart of the original story remains true -  rediscovering your self.  Its about being selfish and taking the time to figure out what it is you want from your life.  And its about hope and love - the key ingredients everyone needs in their life. 

Lottie's marriage is not in a great place.  Her husband works all the time, they haven't had sex in a year, and she's tired of the distance in their relationship.  Her life is devoted to her son, Ethan, which is not such a good thing.  Why? Because, what about Lottie?  One rainy morning after dropping her kid off at school, she finds herself mesmerized by a notice on the message board on the wall - a piece of paper that reads:

Hopewell Cottage
Little Lost Island, Maine.
Old pretty cottage to rent on a small Maine island.
Springwater, blueberries, sea glass.
August.

Suddenly, the answer is clear.  So, she turns to the mother nearby, who is also clearly in need of a month at Little Lost Island, and tells her that they need to go to Hopewell Cottage.  Rose (the woman Lottie was talking to) is too exhausted to pay much mind to Lottie, so she tells her she doesn't need to go anywhere and walks away for a meeting with the head of the school.  Life isn't as perfect as everyone thinks it is for Rose and her literary genius husband.  Nope, in fact, its far from happy.  And now, Rose has just learned that the school does not want her son to come back for the new school year - WTF!? She calls her husband to tell him the bad news, but isn't happy with his response and finds herself angry with him, her kid, and her self - Ack!! Walking home, she spots Lottie sitting in a coffee shop.  Without giving it much thought, she finds herself entering the coffee shop, marching up to Lottie's table and asking,"Please, can I just look at that place in Maine?". 

Soon, plans are set in motion, bags are packed, and the two women are driving up to their summer getaway.  They've decided to arrive a day early to check out the place before their two other roommates show up - Caroline and Beverly.  Of course, sometimes great minds think alike and the two women discover that both Caroline and Beverly have beat them to the punch.  Yep, rooms have been declared, coffee makers hoarded, and privacy boundaries have been set.  Seems like Hopewell Cottage has its work cut out, if its going to help this unhappy foursome find some peace (and a way to survive under the same roof). 

Enchanted August is a delightful and charming story that will have you flipping pages faster than you can spell the word "summer".  The writing is engaging, the characters relatable, and the story lines interesting and fun.  I found myself easily caught up in the drama, summer time clam bakes, enchanting island, and the hopeful tone of the story.  It was so much fun getting to know this motley crew - from their first awkward, unfriendly meeting to the final pages when they are all happy and loving with one another.  Its quite a transformation.  You can't help but wonder just how magical Hopewell Cottage really is. 




Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!!

4 comments:

Lark said...

This sounds like the perfect summer read. I want to rent a beach house in Maine for a month! Plus, I love Enchanted April, so it's fun to have that connection, too. Can't wait to get my hands on a copy of this one. :)

Nadia A said...

Lark, it really is the perfect summer read. And I know what you mean - a beach house in Maine!! How amazing would that be? I still need to read Enchanted April, but I'm really looking forward to it now :) You are going really enjoy this book! Let me know what you think :)

Get Best Info for Alaskan Brown Bear Hunts brooks range said...

This is a delightful summer read!! Fun and easy, yet still so well written!! Bowen has certainly developed a wonderful setting and really puts the reader into the story!! I loved the all the characters and found them all extremely relatable. Defiantly a new favorite!!

Hyacinth Marius said...

This book is beautifully written about people connecting in ways they never imagined. You won't want to miss this one!

Hyacinth
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