Saturday, May 21, 2022

Writing That Inspires

by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

I wonder what it would be like to escape from the daily boring routine of my life to a lovely seaside castle where one would awaken to the scent of wisteria and the soft lapping of the sea upon the rocks below? 

Such were the thoughts of Lotty Wilkins in Elizabeth von Arnim’s delightful 1922 novel, The Enchanted April and subsequent 1991 film. Set in England just after World War I, we enter the lives of two unhappy and unfulfilled young women whose husbands were too absorbed in their careers to pay them any attention. Lotty and Rose were longsuffering in their roles until they read an advertisement in The London Times for a castle in Italy for rent for the month of April. 

To Those Who Appreciate Wisteria and Sunshine: Small mediaeval Italian Castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be let furnished for the month of April. Necessary servants remain. Z, Box 1000, The Times.

Lotty was the first to imagine, to see herself there. The ad gave rise to a respite from her situation. Just the thought of it ripped at the protective wall in her soul uncovering a glimpse of the woman hiding inside. Determined to hold on to the vision, she convinced her friend Rose to join her in taking their nest egg to embark on this month-long adventure. Surely their husbands would barely miss them, they concluded. 

When the plan had been agreed upon, they added to the ease of their finances by placing an ad for two more ladies to join them. The two that applied were an unlikely duo. Mrs. Fisher was an elderly widow who lived in past memories surrounded by photographs of the dead. Lady Caroline was a young and beautiful unmarried socialite who needed to get away from all the attention paid her.

Once ensconced in the beautiful castle aptly named San Salvatore, meaning Holy Savior, the women bent to the beauty and serenity of life in a paradise, where servants saw to their every need. Sunny days and the scent of acacias, roses, and jessamine acted as a healing balm, untangling their thoughts and erasing their hopeless image of themselves and their future. Lotty and Rose were so changed that they wanted to share this beauty with their husbands. They each sent letters inviting them to join them on their holiday.

Both men did come, but for all the wrong reasons. Instead of being hurt and once again ensnared with disappointment and despair, Lotty and Rose were able to move on emotionally and leave their husbands to experience the transformation of San Salvatore on their own. Once there, however, their husbands too became enchanted with the restorative beauty and spirit of San Salvatore.

Lotty, Rose, and Lady Caroline had judged themselves as to how the people in their world perceived them. They had lived in a wounded state because this limited vision painted a picture of them as victim—a person of limited or no worth. Mrs. Fisher had believed her life was over. She had been content to close any possibility of future happiness and condensed her world to ghosts of the past. 

There are times we don’t have the stamina to dream big. Like Lotty and Rose, we’re stuck in today. We’ve lost the energy to look beyond the image we have of ourselves and our writing. We muddle through, while our dreams struggle to burst free. We dutifully perform our tasks, which often become habits instead of passion. We congratulate ourselves on being able to cross off our lists, not realizing the dedication and worship of our habit has taken preeminence over the vision we once had.

For Lotty and Rose, the advertisement gave them the courage to have hope for tomorrow, even if they couldn’t yet define it. They were willing to break away from the tidy world they had created to protect themselves from rejection and go into the unknown to escape from their dreary image of themselves. They found themselves at San Salvatore.

Bottom Line

Our San Salvatore can be any safe place where we can yield our fears and inhibitions—a place where the dark messages that have pushed us into complacency are uprooted to reveal our true purpose. Each of us have stories hiding behind a dreary situation or poor self-talk. The adventure to new beginnings is often scary but the revelation of that deeper dimension of who we are is worth the leap. It’s never too late to begin again. Our place of healing starts with a yielded heart. It is there God takes away what was and fills us with His image of us. There we find spiritual sunshine and, just maybe, even the scent of wisteria and acacias as our true self emerges.


Emme Gannon is a wife, mother, and grandmother who loves to write stories that stir the heart. Her award-winning writing has appeared in Focus on the Family magazine, several anthologies, and numerous newsletters. She just completed her first novel.


  1. Always enjoy your inspiration and perspective Ms. Emme. I agree, when you stop dreaming (envisioning the future), you stop growing and living life. You merely exist. God's blessings ma'am.

  2. How lovely. Thank you, Emme.

  3. Thank you all so much for your kind comments. So happy you were blessed.

  4. You write so very well communicating your thoughts in wonderful word pictures.