Elizabeth von Arnim's novel tells of four dissimilar women in 1920s England who leave their rainy, grey environments to go on holiday in Italy. Mrs Arbuthnot and Mrs Wilkins, who belong to the same ladies' club, but have never spoken, become acquainted after reading a newspaper advertisement for a small medieval castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be let furnished for the month of April. They find some common ground in that both are struggling to make the best of unhappy marriages. Having decided to seek other ladies to help share expenses, they reluctantly take on the elegant but peevish elderly Mrs Fisher, and the stunning, aloof, and very wealthy Lady Caroline Dester. The four women come together at the castle and, after many unexpected twists and turns, find rejuvenation in the tranquil beauty of their surroundings, rediscovering hope and love.