The Enchanted April and The Late Bloomers’ Club: Reviews and Comparisons

*this post contains affiliate links

January 25, 2019

I read back-to-back light women’s fiction books (chick lit) in recent days, unusual and interesting for me since chick lit isn’t my preferred genre. The Enchanted April was originally published in the 1920s, and The Late Bloomers’ Club is contemporary. As I read them, I couldn’t resist a comparison.

Girls decide to take a girls’ trip to Italy…..does this sound modern?… happened in 1920!

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

enchanted april original cover

Collector’s edition (in box)

Genre/Categories: Women’s Fiction, Classics, Romance, Italy


Set in the 1920s, two women (strangers at this point) sitting near each other in a woman’s club strike up a conversation about an advertisement they see to rent a medieval castle in Italy. Both women are lonely and are in marriages that are less than satisfactory. One of the women, Mrs. Wilkins, inspires the other and soon they are making plans to rent the castle. Each has a nest egg that she can use, and they decide to embark on this adventure without sharing their exact plans with their husbands. While making plans, they come to the conclusion that since it’s a huge castle with eight beds, that it would be a good idea to find two more women so that four of them are sharing the cost to rent the Italian castle for one month. The four lonely strangers, all miserable in their own ways, converge on the castle and each one of their lives is changed because of the almost magical experience. (more…)

Blogiversary Give Away!

July 27, 2018

What a great year of reading, reviewing, and meeting book buddies….THANK YOU for your support and encouragement! I appreciate each of you who have “followed” along on the journey and “welcome!” if you’re visiting today!

1st blogiversary

My blog is one year old!

A Place For Us Giveaway!

Welcome to my first anniversary post in which I explain the connection between my blog and “The Happiness Project” and offer a GIVE AWAY.

happiness projectIn June, I received a book to read from my Postal Book Club titled “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. Honestly, I wasn’t thrilled with the selection because I had already read the book and when I thumbed through the index my reaction was “I already know and practice a lot of this.” Because I’m an avid reader, an observer, heavily reflective, and mature (on the youthfulness scale), I’ve made peace with “happiness.” I’ve tried to buy it, search for it, pray for it, wish it into existence, and campaign for it. I have enjoyed a reasonable amount of happiness along the way and I’m fairly confident about achieving happiness. Grudgingly, I started flipping through the book (because I’m a responsible book club member and needed to give this some effort) and the heading “Launch a Blog” (page 74) caught my eye. Wait a minute! I want to read that!

“…challenge and novelty are key elements to happiness.”

“If you do new things–visit a museum for the first time, learn a new game, travel to a new place, meet new people–you’re more apt to feel happy than people who stick to more familiar activities.”

“…we seek to control our lives, but the unfamiliar and unexpected are important sources of happiness.”

~Gretchen Rubin

I hadn’t specifically connected launching a blog to happiness! However, as I reread through this and other sections of Rubin’s book with new eyes, I realized that the creation of my blog met many of her suggestions for “the happiness project.”

  • I tapped into a passion: reading (I was an English lit major once before pursuing my multiple subject teaching credential).
  • I had enough basic skills in technology from previous attempts at happiness (I have a graphics technology certificate from community college and worked in the field of graphic design for several years before teaching).
  • I love a challenge.
  • I love learning something new.
  • I love words: writing them, reading them, thinking about them, and constructing sentences with them.

What I didn’t realize was that launching a blog would be a significant boost to my personal “happiness project”!

“Seeing that first post hit the screen gave me an enormous rush of triumph. I couldn’t believe I’d managed to do it. The experts had certainly been correct about the happiness effect of novelty, challenge, and atmosphere of growth.”

“My blog gave me a new identity, new skills, a new set of colleagues, and a way to connect with people who shared my interest.”

~Gretchen Rubin

I could have written the above quote!

The technical aspect of launching a blog led me into more “opportunities for happiness”! Suddenly, I realized I needed to create an Instagram (Bookstagram) community(@readingladies_book_club), to build my Goodreads community, and venture into the world of Pinterest. All of these endeavors brought novelty, many challenges, and substantial opportunities for growth; in other words, more potential for “happiness.”

I’m thrilled with my Bookstagram community of book buddies! Thank you for the “follows” (I follow you back if it’s apparent that you have a bookish account)…. all your fabulous book recs and bookish talk is a highlight of my day.

This past year of publishing a book review blog has been an unsuspected joy!

Give Away!

To celebrate and thank my followers I’d like to give away my favorite read so far this year! A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza (U.S. only…sorry)

a place for us 2

To enter the giveaway :

  1. U.S. only
  2. FOLLOW this blog (if you’re already following, thank you)
  3. Leave a COMMENT on this post (which part of the blog you have enjoyed the most, a book that you’ve read because of the blog, introduce yourself, or any other kind, constructive comment)

***I would appreciate a follow on Instagram, too, if you have a Bookish account: @readingladies_book_club

Enter the giveaway here:  a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I will announce the winner in two weeks (Aug 10, 2018)

**This is my first time using Rafflecopter….I hope it works ok….if there are glitches, I’ll draw the winner directly from comments.

Happy Reading Bookworms!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection!
Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

My Summer TBR

I’ll be updating my Summer TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often!
(So far I’ve read about half of the list, some I’ve been more thrilled with than others, and I’ve only abandoned one)

Let’s Discuss

Do you have a blog? Is it part of what brings you happiness? How long have you been blogging? Do you have any tips for “newbies”?

Looking Ahead:

 In the next few days, I look forward to providing a July wrap up and choosing the most compelling character from July reading (Link Up). My next read will be An American Marriage (I’ve noticed mixed reviews of this Oprah Book Club selection so we’ll see how it goes).

An American Marriage

Amazon Information Here

Sharing is Caring

Thank you for reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s website.