Winter and Spring 1922
London and Tuscany
2:20 With an Intermission
It’s a miserable, rainy, dreary day in London and LOTTY WILKINS, a dowdy yet comely woman, is miserable and dreary in it. Longing for a respite from the rain, Lotty finds refuge in her women’s club where she happens upon an ad in the “Agony Column” in the London Times that reads: "To Those who Appreciate Wisteria and Sunshine. San Salvatore, a small medieval Italian castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be let furnished for the month of April. Necessary servants remain.”
Lotty longs to bask in wisteria and sunshine, and leave her drab and tedious life behind, if only for a month. She befriends ROSE ARBUTHNOT, a rigid, reserved and sad sort of woman who yearns for a rest from her stifling duties, crippling memories, and distant husband as much as Lotty. But they can’t possibly afford the castle so they advertise for companions to share the expense, and are joined by two other ladies: MRS. FISHER a formidable and disapproving “elderly” woman, who wants only to sit in the sun to read and remember her receding youth; and LADY CAROLINE DESTER who longs for a place she can ponder life’s existential questions that face her without the prying eyes and oppression of her parents. The women agree to rent the castle for a month of blissful privacy.
Lotty embraces the castle immediately. Only in dreams has she dared to imagine such a place as over the weeks she transforms from the mousey, stuttering housewife and blooms into a radiant, confident woman. Wanting to share, she writes and invites her husband, MELLERSH, an ambitious solicitor, who finds himself charmed by not only the place – but by his wife.
Meanwhile, Rose is tormented by memories of a personal tragedy which have estranged her from her husband, FREDRICK, a writer of lurid novels. She yearns for the love they used to have before everything went horribly wrong.
Amid the blossoms of fragrant wisteria, the hazy heat and sensuous silence, Lotty innocently and lovingly helps each lady through this place and past their loveless lives to rediscover their hearts. Rose finds the redemption she needs as she reunites with her husband; Mrs. Fisher embraces the present and the love and kindness it affords as she lets go of her past; and Lady Caroline finds a peace and place where she can live and move forward.
In just a month, in just a short Enchanted April, the lives and hearts of four women are transfigured by wisteria...sunshine...and a small medieval castle.
(Photos on this page by Carol Rosegg)