Review: Enchanted August-Brenda Bowen*

Enchanted August (Aug)

Right, I’m going to have to start this review by saying that this book is definitely not my usual choice. I was aware that it was a re-visiting of a book from the 20s called Enchanted April and, as I have a love of anything 20s, I thought I’d give it a go.

Lottie and Rose are mums from Park Slope in New York (a place frequently mentioned in any ‘mummy wars’ article about NY) and both spot a small, simple card advertising a holiday cottage in Maine. They don’t know each other, but they rent the cottage anyway and end up looking for two more people to join them via a similar ad. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? (Unfortunately, not a lot.) So they end up leaving their husbands and kids for a month and heading out to Maine.

Now, the cottage and island sound lovely. Really, truly lovely. It’s just a shame I hated every character, with the exception of Beverly, who has rented a room in the cottage in order to grieve for his longtime partner and their cat. I liked him. What I didn’t like was being reminded every ten pages that he was colour blind. Seriously.

Lottie and Rose are both married to men who seem to be lead by their genitals, until they both end up going to the island (separately) and despite both being on the verge of affairs in NY, end up remembering why they fancied their wives in the first place. I liked the character of Caroline, a sort of Jennifer Lawrence starlet who’s recovering from the humiliation of not winning an Oscar, although she’s never really fully realised. The owner of the cottage, Robert, annoyed me too. He’s a bit of a wet lettuce.

The island-dwellers could have been further developed for my liking too; there are hints of one of those snobby class set ups you sometimes get in novels set in America (old money vs new.) One of the young people actually says “Hashtag (something)”, which is interesting as no one else seems to be able to get internet access without shimmying onto a ferry.

However. I seem to be in the minority in disliking this novel- I’ve looked around and it’s been well received. In its defence, it’d be a good light beach read, especially if you like romantic stuff. I’m going to take Amy Poehler’s stance on this: “Good for you, not for me.”

Overall, I think I was just a bit frustrated that some of the more interesting characters were left to fade into the background at the expense of some of the more irritating ones (*cough* Lottie *cough*)

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