I finished the book and the next night I watched the movie. I have to say that the book is slightly better. But I now understand why I was a bit unsatisfied with the movie.
Part of the story is that 4 different women share a holiday in Italy for a month, for different reasons they want to get away, Lottie and Rose from their husbands (though for different reasons), Mrs. Fisher from loneliness and old age and Caroline from being the social life of the party and wanting some time alone. Italy works magic on them and in the end the husbands come, the owner comes and falls for the single woman and they all go back happy.
And that’s the part that always bothered me a bit, the sudden interest of Caroline for Mr. Briggs and how that relationship started didn’t really make sense and Lottie and Rose, it was clear they were somewhat tired of their husbands but the swiftness with which they went back to them also bothered me (I would pick Italy first!)
After reading the book I understood much more. The book goes into more depth in an interior monologue way for each character and this also explains why the movie had problems for me because all the interior angst was hard to catch on film. The movie also made a change or two, one with how the whole Caroline and Mr. Briggs thing comes about which makes much more sense in the book and the beginning with how the whole trip is planned.
Still, I enjoyed the movie and think they did a good job considering the story and I would watch it again. The book was a beautifully written story that gets into the characters heads so they are real and you feel what they feel and everything that happens to them makes sense.
I’m keeping both in my to be re-read, re-watched pile. I’m also going to look for more books by Elizabeth von Arnim.