2007: 71. The Solitary Summer

“May 2nd-

Last night after dinner, when we were alone in the garden, I said, “I want to be alone for a whole summer, and get to the very dregs of life.  I want to be as idle as I can, so that my soul may have time to grow. …”

The Solitary Summer, Elizabeth von Arnim

This is a Virago modern classic, by the author of The Enchanted April.  It’s the sequel to her first novel, titled Elizabeth and Her German Garden.  I must say that while this book was relatively inoffensive, it doesn’t make me want to run out and read the first book in the series.  I called The Enchanted April slight, but this is even slighter.  It is a series of essays about Elizabeth’s summer in her garden.  Elizabeth is sweet and twee and charming (and totally the condescending lady of the manor), and loves flowers and trees and herself.  This is the kind of book that Anne read when she was at her most insufferable about the flowers and the fairies.  It has some cute passages - I loved the parts when she talked about her children (the April, May and June babies) and their talk - that seemed like the authentic life of a mother who loves her small children, rather than the flaky talk of a nature lover.  I would say that it is a perfect book to read in the doldrums of winter, when you miss Spring dreadfully and need something light and non-taxing to take you there, at least briefly.

Recommended for:  People who love gardens; people who are more sweet than cynical; people who need Spring.


Date/Place Completed: 5/15/07; D.C.

Categories: Fiction; Virago Modern Classics


© Carrie Dunsmore 2017