T.S. ELIOT FAMOUSLY OBSERVED in The Waste Land that “April is the cruellest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing / Memory and desire, stirring / Dull roots with spring rain.” I remember my shock when I realized that the persona in this poem does not want spring to come. That’s why she sees April as “cruel”: if the dead land can breed lilacs, she will have to hope again, and she prefers winter “covering / Earth in forgetful snow” to the emotional strain of hoping—which always brings with it the possibility of being disappointed.

Sometimes I think she must be the only person in the history of the world who’s ever felt this way–because the rest of us can hardly wait!

By contrast, Vita Sackville-West called April “the angel of months, the young love of the year.” As I listen to rain and hail pounding on the roof for the third time today (to be followed shortly by blinding sunshine before the next storm), I’m thinking much less poetically that April is more like the spoiled brat of the year than the “young love.” April is a toddler having a tantrum because she can’t decide if she wants to wear her pretty Easter dress or her warm winter coat. Or maybe both together! She doesn’t want to be reasoned with or jollied along—the only thing she’s certain about is that she wants what she wants, and she wants it NOW!

Sigh. That’s April. I get it. It drives me crazy, but I get it. I’ve written before about my love of Enchanted April (both the book and the movie), but I’m starting to wonder if April can only be enchanted if one is fortunate enough to be spending it in Italy.

In a twist of fate, The Walled Garden spent part of April in Italy—at the Foreword Reviews booth at the Bologna Book Fair. Though it wasn’t at an Italian castle; I paid for it to travel, hoping to pick up some European sales.

The Walled Garden goes to Italy at the Bologna Book Fair

No word on that yet, but I’ll keep you posted!

I had a great time talking about The Walled Garden and meeting writers and readers at the Her Story, Her Words event at the Woodinville Library last month. It gave me a chance to reflect on Lucy’s “girl detective” origins inspired by Nancy Drew and my youthful longings for adventure.

Reading at Her Story, Her Words

And recently, a reader from Southern California reached out to me on Instagram to say how much she and her book club were enjoying the book, so I’m excited to zoom in to their meeting and hear their impressions later this month.

So, whether April is the “young love” or the “spoiled brat” of the year, I’m happy it’s here. And I’m delighted that almost two years after publication, The Walled Garden continues to go out in the world and find its readers.

Happy spring, my friends!

My lady tulips trying to decide whether it’s safe to open up or whether there’s another hailstorm on the way . . .


Featured image: Photo by Dagmara Dombrovska on Unsplash

Bologna photo courtesy of Foreword Reviews

Library photo: Kurt Maass

Lady tulips: my own