I´ve never heard of Brenda Bowen and never read any of her books for certain. This one is the very first and I have to admit, that though it was a nice read it didn´t have that much of an impact on me. And here I have to say, that, although the cover is created in a very simple and naïve way, the German edition looks much better than the original cover does. So advantage here for that. Enchanted August is a soft novel, with very different characters who come together at a house for a few weeks and which come from totally different lives.

Enchanted August*
by Brenda Bowen
Publisher Viking Penguin on June 2, 2015
Genre Novel
Pages 320
Format Softcover
Source Publisher

Hopewell Cottage; Little Lost Island; Maine; Old, pretty cottage to rent on a small island; Springwater; blueberries; sea glass. August.
So reads an ad on Lottie Wilkes´ and Rose Arbuthnot´s children´s preschool bulletin board.
When the mothers arrive on the island, they are transformed by the salt air; the breathtaking views; the long, lazy days; and the happy routine of lobster, corn, and cocktails on the wraparound porch. By the time of the late-August blue moon, real life and its complications have finally fallen far, far away. For on his idyllic island they gradually begin to open up: to one another and to the possibilities of lives quite different from the ones they´ve been leading. Change can´t be that hard, can it?
Rose and Lottie are both not really happy with their lives – at least not with the current situation they are living. Rose just got informed, that her son isn´t really accepted and that hi´s abnormal aggressiveness towards others is not really appreciated. Lottie feels that her husband is close to being unfaithful if he not already done that step, and she has no clue how to deal with all the uncertainty she´s feeling. 

Brenda Bowen writes very soft, very shallow and it seems that her only strength lies in describing landscapes. In that she is great. You can literally see the view from the house over the island, how the island itself looks, and all those different flowers, trees, and herbs – just fantastic. The rest is nice to read a story with no depth, no claim to the reader.

Enchanted August is a novel I call a-in-between-read. You don´t have to think as a reader, you don´t need to keep in mind what was written a few pages before. It doesn´t matter because the story, as well as the figures, don´t require much of your attention. Everything is handled so simple, so easy to follow, so average. Don´t misinterpret me, I am not saying that this book isn´t worth being read. It is if you are in for such books.

I can´t help it but all the women in this novel are way too naïve for my taste. I know that not everyone gets the same education (sadly) and that not everyone can know the same things, but here? Good heavens! The women altogether seem only capable of doing things if they have a man at hand who does it and they have a way of seeing life and everything that comes along with it, that frankly said my toenails were rolling up. Nothing said against some naiveté, but here it is way too much.

Rose is kind of frustrated that she put her dreams, her life, and even her work behind the success of her husband. She seems like a woman who has no own head to think, no own will to act, and no own self-assurance at all. With a house all to herself on a beautiful island and enough time to think things over, one would think that at some point she will stand up for herself and say “stop, enough”. Not Rose.

This is the perfect novel for all those who like shallow, naïve novels with little till none figural draft in combination with a beautiful landscape. Enchanted August has, despite being so shallow, beautiful charm and some really nice and warm scenes.

Happy reading

*I read the German edition new release May 25, 2016, by Fischer

Brenda Bowen
©Elisabeth McKay

Brenda Bowen, born in Philadelphia, grew up in England, is a literary agent and Children´s author. She lives in New York and spends her summer holidays on an Island very much like Little Lost Island.


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