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Four very different women, with very different reasons for wanting to escape a cold and dreary London, come together to share a month's holiday in a medieval castle. They are brought there by the promise of the advertised 'wisteria and sunshine', but they find so much more than they bargained for, as the place transforms them and changes their lives in ways they could never have expected. The novel is dominated by four wonderfully drawn characters: timid Lotty Wilkins, terrified of her domineering husband; sober and religious Rose Arbuthnot; rigid and judgemental Mrs Fisher; and the breathtakingly beautiful but disillusioned and unhappy Lady Caroline Dester. Von Arnim's story of their transformation under the Italian sun is warm, witty, intelligent, and as enchanting as the title suggests. - Summary by Helen Taylor