Driven to action by the dreariness of their lives in London, two not-quite friends, in the hopes of finding renewal, plan to rent a medieval Italian castle for a month. They are joined by two other women, a socialite and a dowager, each also seeking a remedy for their dissatisfactions. As the quartet eventually (though not necessarily gracefully) settles in together, they share the beauty and joy of their springtime palace, and each becomes reacquainted with the self they had forgotten. Whether or not the enchantment can carry into their lives and loves in the "real" world is the question. The basis for the film, of the same name, this is a classic to cherish. British novelist ELIZABETH VON ARNIM (1866-1941) wrote numerous books, including Elizabeth and Her German Garden and The Solitary Summer.