Read I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith Online

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I Capture the Castle tells the story of seventeen-year-old Cassandra and her family, who live in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle old English castle. Here she strives, over six turbulent months, to hone her writing skills. She fills three notebooks with sharply funny yet poignant entries. Her journals candidly chronicle the great changes that take place within the caI Capture the Castle tells the story of seventeen-year-old Cassandra and her family, who live in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle old English castle. Here she strives, over six turbulent months, to hone her writing skills. She fills three notebooks with sharply funny yet poignant entries. Her journals candidly chronicle the great changes that take place within the castle's walls, and her own first descent into love. By the time she pens her final entry, she has "captured the castle"-- and the heart of the reader-- in one of literature's most enchanting entertainments.Bonus: Reading Group Discussion Guide included in this edition...

Title : I Capture the Castle
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780312201654
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 343 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

I Capture the Castle Reviews

  • Maggie Stiefvater
    2018-11-12 16:15

    What a generous caretaker of a novel.If I say that this novel didn't require me to do any work, it sounds like a vague insult, as if I'm saying that the story or the characters were slight, and that's not at all what I mean. I mean that the novel, both through format (a very self-aware narrator's journal) and authorial intent (with a firm eye on the sort of story-telling pedigree that brought her there), anticipated my readerly needs and desires with such swiftness that I felt agreeably anticipatory and satisfied at all times. I did not have to tell myself to be patient to wait for one plot line to play out, because the book helpfully plied me with a pleasant drink while I waited. I did not feel done after it had given me a good meal, because right before the last course, it promised dessert. The summary is accurate and pointless. It is about Cassandra writing about herself in a journal. Their family is penniless. They do live in a castle. She is, as it promises, deeply, hopelessly in love. But not with any of the men in the book. They're all intriguing in their own way, don't get me wrong, and she does love many of them, in many different ways. The novel takes place in one of my favorite intellectual time periods to read and study, and this book plays across all of its nuances: artists' models and intellectuals, servants' quarters and vicars, romanticism and mysticism, the religion of church and the religion of a well-turned-out drawing room. But all of that is sort of beyond the point. The point is that Cassandra is deeply, hopelessly in love with life, and her utter, wry engagement with the castle she adores is what pulled me through the pages. Her voice is kind and self-deprecating, generous and wondering. The humans she observes — Topaz, her often-nude step-mother; Rose, her selfish and hungry sister; Mortmain, her once-famous father — are all seen through this well-meaning gaze, and even terrible events are colored with love (even when I thought characters could do with a polite punch in the mouth).This book took very good care of me. It goes onto my comfortable re-read shelf immediately.

  • Martine
    2018-11-06 09:17

    This is going to be the shortest review I've written on this site in a while. The reason I'm going to keep it short is because no description could possibly do justice to this quintessentially English coming-of-age story which ranks among the most pleasant surprises I've had, book-wise. A summary would make it sound slight, trite and predictable, all of which it is, and would not reflect the fact that it's also funny as hell, charismatic, deliciously eccentric, Austenesque and so utterly charming that I quite literally had sore cheeks after reading it because I couldn't stop smiling at the delightful nonsense the incomparable Cassandra Mortmain spilled out on the pages. I'm not exaggerating here -- this book will charm the pants off you, especially if you happen to have two X chromosomes and a bad case of Anglophilia. It's what would happen if an early-twentieth-century Jane Austen were to grow up in a dilapidated castle and get into financial trouble, and that's all I'm going say about it, except that I want to be Cassandra Mortmain when I grow down. Only I think I'll write my book on a computer rather than sitting in the kitchen sink, because it would be so much more comfortable, thank you very much.

  • Paul Bryant
    2018-11-12 10:36

    My name is Cassandra Mortmain, I know it sounds made up but it’s true. I’m 17 and bright as a button and never been kissed because it’s the 1930s. My family are effortlessly bohemian, we all live in a crumbling castle – oh yes, quite literally! – and we have no money at all and we have only barely heard of the twentieth century. How poor we are since father stopped earning any money. He used to be a genius but now he does crosswords. We eat the occasional potato and scrape plaster off the walls for pudding. We have thought of cooking one of our dogs but that would not do. Also, something you should be aware of, although you will find out pretty soon I believe, is that I suffer from acute logorrhoea, which is a debilitating condition that impels its victim to write a never-ending journal into which is debouched every last possible banal but extremely charming detail of one’s life and that of one’s immediate family, which is, the pulchritudinous Rose, my 21 year old sister, my doughty schoolboy brother, my poor damaged papa who wrote one brilliant book once but has since sunk into a kind of bewilderment, and his nude model youngish wife, the unusual lute-playing nature-communing Topaz whom we love immoderately in spite of her frank farfetchedness, along with various cats and dogs with classically-derived names and a servant boy called Stephen who gauchely is in love with my 17 year old preciousness and whom we do not pay but who contrives to be preternaturally handsome and work for us for free. Anyone might think I have made all this up out of my own coquettish head!We may live in a literal castle but we haven’t got the price of a loaf of bread. It’s enough to make a cat laugh. Our situation is so wry that fairly broad comedy oozes from its very pores. Rose said only last night that she was quite up to walking the streets to earn a crust if she thought it would do any good, but the quaint rural byways of the Suffolk countryside don’t possess the required type of street. So here I am, as usual, sitting on something odd, it could be a turret, or a tuffet or a large mammal, carefully noting down in my journal everything I hear and see along with the weather at the time and the precise location of the several animals we own, what I am wearing and what my immediate family are wearing, with various passing references to the utter beauty of the crumbling literal castle that we all inhabit over which the moon sheds its downy light and lambent whatnots.Four months later Something has actually happened! Yes, new owners of the mansion have taken possession – new neighbours! And it’s just like a fairytale, for they are none other than two handsome American bachelors, with whom I and my sister will fall in love, and they with ourselves, naturellement. But not before many pages of microscopic examination of every trifling occurrence so that a single evening in their company will take 30 pages for me to detail and the sisterly debate about it another ten. And certainly not before much gentle yet sharply observed observations on the romantic yearnings of two beautiful yet penniless girls who get the brothers the wrong way round at first. Now, let me explain how I first met the American brothers. I was in the bath and I had been dying clothes that day, so my entire body was coloured a violent sea-green, and they wandered into the crumbling castle thinking no one could possibly live there. Imagine the scene! They took me for some kind of turtle.

  • Elliott
    2018-11-03 10:09

    That's right. I really liked it. And I'm not ashamed to admit it. Now, would you please excuse me while I go read Hemingway and then kill something with my bare hands.

  • Laurie
    2018-10-21 16:17

    With many of my favorite books I can still remember the person who put a copy in my hands. Matilda was given to me for my 8th birthday by my stepdad, the title Pride and Prejudice scribbled on a piece of paper and handed to me by my young (must've been straight out of college) 7th grade English teacher-- she gave me the paper and sent me to the library to find it, and I still remember sitting in that classroom taking in the opening page with grand delight ....I hadn't ever heard of I Capture the Castle until Stephanie handed me a yellowed beaten up well loved copy. To keep! (At least, I think it was for keeps-- was it Stephanie?! I still have it if you need it back!) I was about to leave for France. I saved the book for the trip, started it in Bretagne in a little loft bedroom and couldn't put it down. Read it late at night when everyone else was sleeping, sometimes suck outside and read it with a pack of Camel oranges. The story is lovely, haunting, hilarious. One of the great poor-girls-coming-of-age stories.... And any girl who has a tendency to romanticize the world in bizarre ways will find a kindred spirit in Cassandra. I know I did.

  • mark monday
    2018-10-14 17:14

    Dear I Capture the Castle,What to say, what to say? Hard to put down all the feelings. To put it simply: you did everything right. The characterization like flowers slowly blooming. The story like seasons changing, invisibly but inevitably. The romance made both heartfelt and utterly, often infuriatingly real. The details, oh the details! I was put right into this world and right into Cassandra's head. And the charm! You are such a charming book - so amusing and so sweet-tempered yet with a certain saltiness as well, and a sharp tang. Head in the clouds; feet firmly planted on earth. You are a love letter to the past and to writing and to what makes a home and to young people with all of their future ahead of them and older people who have all of their future ahead of them. You are a love letter to love! I fell in love with you in turn. I would change nothing about you.DEAR HATERS,NO THIS IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE A "YOUNG ADULT" BOOK! IT IS A BOOK ABOUT YOUNG ADULTS. SOMETIMES THERE IS A DIFFERENCE.NO THIS BOOK IS NOT LIKE "POND SCUM" AND USING THAT DESCRIPTION FOR IT SAYS MORE ABOUT YOU THAN IT DOES ABOUT THE BOOK.NO THE FATHER IS NEITHER SEXIST NOR ABUSIVE FOR CHRISSAKES.YES ALL OF THE NUMEROUS AND OFTEN QUIRKY DETAILS ARE THERE FOR A REASON. THEY ARE THERE TO PUT THE READER IN CASSANDRA'S MIND AND INTO THE WORLD OF THE BOOK. I'M SORRY YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT. PLEASE STOP READING BOOKS LIKE THIS.Dear Friends,It is so very nice that we have this book in common! I congratulate us on our mutual good taste! Our ability to enter into a new world and experience new things and new people with patience and an open heart are all hallmarks of our exquisitely nuanced, tender, and subtle sensibilities, as well as our sublime and near-saintly powers of empathy! People like us are, as they say, "Simply The Best"! Now let's have a nice cup of tea together, shall we?

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    2018-11-14 11:20

    Upcoming fall 2017 buddy read with the Retro Reads group if anyone is interested.I had never heard of I Capture the Castle until a friend gave it an extremely strong recommendation a few weeks ago. Dodie Smith is the author of The 101 Dalmatians (the original basis for the Disney movie, and the only reason I was familiar with her name), which I read many years ago and really enjoyed.This 1948 novel is a coming of age tale about an intelligent 17 year old girl, Cassandra Mortmain, who lives in semi-genteel but crushing poverty in mid-1930s England, in a dilapidated castle. Cassandra has ambitions of becoming an author like her father. Her story is told in the form of her journal entries, as she practices her writing skills to try to learn to “capture” the castle, as well as the people in her life, in her writing.Cassandra skillfully describes her father’s distance and failure to do anything to provide for the family, her stepmother’s charm and eccentricity, and her older sister Rose’s despair at their isolation and poverty. But what broke my heart was her matter-of-fact descriptions of how their poverty affects their lives every day: the too-small, worn-out clothing the girls have to wear; her gratitude for having eggs along with bread and margarine for their evening meal; the way the girls trade off sleeping in the one comfortable bed in their room (which hasn’t been sold only because it’s in such bad shape). Rose, the more beautiful sister, is grimly determined to escape from poverty, even if she has to marry a man she doesn't love. When two young American brothers move into town (the older son, Simon, is the family’s new and wealthy landlord), the Mortmains’ lives are all turned topsy-turvy, with love, romance and secrets.Cassandra’s insights into own and others’ personalities and motivations are sharp and witty, and occasionally even a little prophetic; I think the symbolism of her name from Greek mythology is deliberate, although she misses at least one major secret that a member of her own family is hiding. The characters are believable and human, sometimes frustratingly so with their flaws. I particularly wanted to smack Cassandra's father upside the head: he's a well-known author with one famous book to his credit, but for the last ten years he's been struggling with a massive case of writer's block, hiding away in his home office reading detective novels and working on crosswords, while his family sells the furniture to survive. I thought there were just a few missteps in the story: the chain of unrequited love interests was pushing the boundaries of believability (woman wants boy, who loves girl, who loves another guy, who loves another girl, who loves…). I guessed one big reveal at the end fairly early in the story. Cassandra spends a chapter or two examining her views on religion and talking to the local vicar, and then never mentions it again, which made me wonder why it was included in the first place.But these are minor flaws. Cassandra is an enchanting character and a fantastic narrator, surrounded by some unforgettable characters. This is a lovely, bittersweet novel that doesn't go for the easy resolution.

  • Alyson
    2018-10-24 11:24

    i found this book to alternate between delightful and infuriating.here is the delightful:  -images of the english countryside and the crumbling, fantastic castle-cassandra's optimism and intelligence (pre-simon)-perfect descriptions of peaceful, contemplative momentsand here is the infuriating:-cassandra's father. a supposed genius but in reality a sexist, abusive, loathsome, distant fellow. he appears sporadically to ignore his children, leave his wife lonely, make everyone question his sanity and demand his supper from the ladies of the house. the frustrating part of this character is that his terrible behavior is overlooked and often glorified when he should be taken to task. i spent a good part of this book longing for someone to throw him into the moat. -cassandra's personality meltdown after "falling in love". the optimistic, intelligent, loving, happy girl turns at once into a mean-spirited, self centered fool. she begins to hate her sister and engage in other sorts of petty, miserable behavior. not only is her change of heart unbelievable in how quickly and totally she becomes a different (mean, angry, self-centered) person, but  somehow the author seems to insinuate that this very change of heart (for the worst!) is in itself the act of growing up. what a sad commentary on aging cassandra's behavior is!the back of the book declares, "by the time she (cassandra) pens her final entry, she has captured the castle. . ."i do not believe that cassandra "captures the castle" by the end of this book. i think she loses the castle. she has lost her optimism and her ability to write without a certain bitterness. her words are tainted by her own anger/sadness/jealousy about her troublesome "love". i feel that capturing the castle would have meant cassandra maintaining  her original good nature, selflessness and happiness despite her failure in love. it would have been rectifying (in person) her horrid behavior towards her sister and most certainly standing up to her father.

  • Melissa Rudder
    2018-10-21 11:33

    Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle is a charming and surprising read. I was enchanted by the first paragraph, but never did I imagine that it would be the sort of book that left me speechless at the end--in awe and contemplative and wanting to read more but knowing that anything else I picked up just wouldn't feel right.The narrator, who is consciously attempting to "capture" in her journal her family's eccentric and impoverished life in their unfurnished, deteriorating castle home, is simply enchanting. The book is very much about writing--the seventeen-year-old protagonist Cassandra aspires to be a writer and her strange father rose to fame through the art--and Smith weaves a tale full of wit and charm. As I read, I was struck by the tension between my desire to read quickly to watch the story unfold and my desire to savor each delightful description and thoughtful reflection.The novel took me completely by surprise when it shifted tone near its middle. I realize now that the early parts of the novel were the records of a carefree and intelligent child and that, in the later parts, the child must begin to grow up. I, as a reader, felt the burden of her maturing outlook. It felt like a nineteenth-century Romance was smacked upside the head with Modernist Realism. And I think Smith was going for that. She warned me partway through. (I didn't want to listen.) The early parts of the book were sprinkled with allusions to Austen and the Bronte sisters while the latter half was more preoccupied with Cassandra's father's clearly Modernist work. There was more rural country in the beginning and more city life at the end. Even a shift in discussion of art, from Topaz's paintings and lute to Stephen's photographs and films. So I guess it had to have a more realistic end. Though Austen wouldn't have ended the book the way I'd have liked it to end anyway--Robert Martin may be suitable for Harriet Smith, but even the best of his class wouldn't have been acceptable for Emma. And perhaps even Emma could not have been taught to deserve one such as he.I still can't sum up this book. Except that I think that I loved it.Quotes:"Contemplation seems to be about the only luxury that costs nothing.""When I read a book, I put in all the imagination I can, so that it is almost like writing the book as well as reading it--or rather, it is like living it." "My imagination longs to dash ahead and plan developments; but I have noticed that when things happen in one's imaginings, they never happen in one's life, so I am curbing myself.""Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression.""I know all about the facts of life. And I don't think much of them.""The originators among writers--perhaps, in a sense, the only true creators--dip deep and bring up one perfect work; complete, not a link in a chain.""It was like the difference between the beautiful old Godsend graves and the new ones open to receive coffins... that time takes the ugliness and horror out of death and turns it into beauty."On Religion: "I think it is an art, the greatest one; and extension of the communion all the other arts attempt."On the word God: "It's merely shorthand for where we come from, where we're going, and what it's all about.""Sacrifice is the secret--you have to sacrifice things for art and it's the same with religions; and then the sacrifice turns out to be a gain.""You lose yourself in something beyond yourself and it's a lovely rest."

  • Carol Clouds ꧁꧂
    2018-10-23 17:33

    This novel was darn near perfect.Cassandra & her family inhabit a castle in conditions of extreme poverty. Cassandra captures both her family's character & their eccentric life style beautifully in her journals (a very rare example of a diary narration working) . Different styles & depths of love are explored. I will never be persuaded that Cassandra's father is a likeable (or even admirable) character, but genius is often uncomfortable to be around.A chance to enter a long vanished world that should not be missed.

  • Meredith Holley (Sparrow)
    2018-10-15 17:15

    It is difficult for me to say why I found I Capture the Castle so personally meaningful, which may mean that I will be falling all over myself in this review. When I first started reading I was bored and feared that the poverty of the characters would become dirty and depressing for its own sake, as in Angela's Ashes. Instead, it's more like a lovely BBC movie where people are always chewing with their mouth open, but somehow it is only charming. At first I resisted liking anything about it, including Cassandra's repeated use of the word "capture", but now I find myself thinking about how to describe this or that and involuntarily using the word "capture" in my thoughts. The story is at times screwball and at times elegant but always delightful and completely won me over.Perhaps part of the reason I resisted this book is that I came to it thinking it would be romance (because of the movie poster cover of the book, which says something like, "A well-loved classic that has become the most romantic movie of the year" - hate those movie poster covers), but it is actually, more than anything, a coming of age story. I say this because I think that whether you prefer coming-of-age or romance, it helps to know what you're getting into when you start a book. In my experience, romantic novels solve the problems of life by bringing characters together in true love. I Capture the Castle is written through Cassandra's eyes, so it does not rely on romantic satisfaction to tell the story, as, perhaps, it would have if it were told by another character in the same book. Rather, like any good coming of age story, develops through revelations of the unreliability of people around Cassandra and her discovery her own independence and capabilities.I must confess that what first hooked me on this book was Simon's beard. I have said that I am a sucker for a good fish story, and it turns out that I think I am a sucker for a good beard story, too. I thought the girls' fascination and horror over his beard were both hilarious and correct. I wonder why I don't see beards in stories more often. Really, when anyone I have known has a beard, it comes up in conversation almost any time the person is mentioned - and rightly so. I once asked a friend of mine, who had a bushy beard before he met his fiance, why he would have chosen to grow it out like that. He said that the reason any man who can grow a big bushy beard should is that the bigger your beard, the more authority you have over people in general and specifically over other men. He said there is something almost magical about having a big bushy beard that makes other people have to do whatever you want. I told him that was absolutely silly. Then, about a week later I was at the grocery store deciding which line to go through, and one of the checkers, who was otherwise very ordinary looking, had an enormous, bushy beard. I instinctively went to his line, and then a second later was shocked to realized that I had only done that because of the beard. I don't know if that proves my friend's point, but it has to mean something. I wonder if the castle girls weren't experiencing something like this beard-hypnosis in the beginning of the novel.To go ahead and beat this beard point to death: I also thought it was lovely how Dodie Smith developed the beard's story. I always see authors showing the physical changes love supposedly brings to women, but not men. The women are pale and thin until they fall in love, when suddenly they become healthy looking. In I Capture the Castle Simon looks suspiciously like Satan, until he falls in love and shaves the beard. Brilliant! Also, it has the self-serving overtones of Elizabeth Bennet's visit to Pemberly in Pride and Prejudice, when the mansion shows Mr. Darcy's manners in a different light. Beardless Simon makes even his actions when bearded much less sinister. Love it.You may not believe me, if you have read this far, when I say that Simon's beard was not what was personally meaningful to me about this story. Not surprisingly, I think it was Cassandra herself who seemed so profound. In many ways I did not identify with her, but I loved her. I found myself crying at times, not necessarily because her growing pains revealed my own, but only in sympathy for this new friend I found, who I love so much. I loved how wise and kind and scrappy she was. I actually loved every character in this novel, though, as they all had some kind of magical and hilarious individuality. It is tempting to copy some of the most beautiful moments here, but instead I think you should just read the book. On the one hand, I am sad that I did not read this in high school, when I think it may have been a more cathartic experience, but I wonder if its honesty might have hurt my feelings then. As it is, I found it both refreshing and comforting.

  • April (Aprilius Maximus)
    2018-10-18 14:26

    I was expecting to absolutely adore this and am so sad that I hated it :( This was honestly just SO boring and unnecessarily long and I didn't care for any of the characters. Their father was abusive and horrible and nobody seemed to care and they were all so superficial! All they cared about was money and status and Cassandra was so horrible to everyone! Poor Stephen omg. Also, the ending SUCKED, so there's that.

  • Joey Woolfardis
    2018-10-14 16:25

    Read as part of The Infinite Variety Reading Challenge, based on the BBC's Big Read Poll of 2003.Why is summer mist romantic and autumn mist just sad?I had high hopes for I Capture the Castle. Not being a Modern Classics person but loving Cold Comfort Farm I had the view that it would be fairly similar. It was fairly similar, but nowhere near as good: in fact, I'd say it was the same thing but written by a three-year-old like some kind of early Public School attempt at a pastiche.The story in itself is nothing particularly exciting. It is a regular family saga, with pennies missing and food scarce, selfish women who can't do any work themselves unless it involves getting naked (either modelling or for sexual intercourse reasons) and can survive only by marriage. Which LUCKILY happens, so yippee! all of which is seen and narrated through the eyes and lips of seventeen year old Cassandra.One cannot even blame the times this book was written in because, even though no woman has ever had a back-bone pre-2012, one still hopes they would at least starve to death before lowering themselves to marrying Americans, for goodness sake.The characters are all facsimiles of the lower-upper-middle class of England who probably had a bit of Old Money tucked away but spent it all on a charming castle because, well, you would, wouldn't you? The Castle was the best character of the whole piece. That thing had style and sophistication, and that's saying something considering it was half-caved in and needed blowing up with C-4, let alone new wallpaper. One would hope that at least one character would have a personality, but instead we have a mixed bunch of people who all seem to have one trait and wear it loudly. I can't even hear Celia Johnson's accent in this bunch because they all seemed to whisper a lot, even when they were apparently shouting.What more can be said? I think it was an attempt to be satirical at the posh nobs in the same way Cold Comfort Farm was, and maybe tried it's hardest to be a kind of new-wave post-Victorian classic saga of life and love but was also denouncing those flouncy writers who bloody loved the countryside too much how dare they when they lived in the Industrial Revolution and the countryside didn't even exist any more, but sadly it was nothing but utter toilet bowl water.

  • Punk
    2018-11-13 12:19

    Young Adult Fiction. Seventeen-year-old Cassandra begins a journal in an attempt to perfectly capture her family and the run-down castle they live in. This book wasn't at all what I expected. I'm reading it for the first time as an adult, and maybe I would have felt differently about it as a kid, but now I just found it sort of upsetting, and not in a cathartic way.It's got a playful tone, yet is almost relentlessly dreary outside the narrative itself; possibly because Cassandra is too young to realize what a mess she's in. The writing is lovely and Cassandra has a wonderful voice, but I kept falling out of the story with worry. This family is so poor and hungry and cold, and it's in a time and place where it seems the only way the sisters are going to get out is through marriage. Their father is next to useless, and they've all come to depend on Stephen -- servant turned son, but remaining mostly servant -- to keep the castle up and provide their income. Cassandra does grow up during the year-long course of the novel, and the end, while somewhat overwrought with soap opera machinations, gives me hope she and her family will get through this and start taking care of each other again, but I've got a lingering uneasiness about the family dynamics. Her father shoves her against a wall and doesn't even apologize, and neither he nor Cassandra seem aware he's done anything wrong. This is not a sweet little pastoral look at the English countryside like I expected -- the "we're poor, but it's fun!" approach -- instead, it hides a sort of secret viciousness beneath the jovial front. Two stars. It deserves at least three, but it made me too edgy to really enjoy it.

  • Eh?Eh!
    2018-10-27 10:12

    Vacation reading continues.The story is so charming! I especially like how the main character, Cassandra, appreciated food because of her poverty. Favorites:-I shouldn't think even millionaires could eat anything nicer than new bread and real butter and honey for tea.-But I did like the restaurant; most of the people eating there were unusually ugly, but the food was splendid. We had.... We were gloriously bloat.-...ham with mustard is a meal of glory.There was a formal dinner party where Cassandra observed the oddness of gathering to eat, the servants central to the experience but not involved with conversations, the food going in and words coming out. I agree that food doesn't mix well with stiff formality. I do love how people come together over food though - meeting friends usually centers around food, my favorite gifts have been food, and nearly every party I've ever been to has ended up cramming into the kitchen at some point no matter where the host/hostness intended to contain the crowd. I've heard some people complain about kitchen-centric parties...pssh. Conversation still flows and everyone's closer to the food&drink.The charm of the story wasn't all about food. I think it was also because of the innocence of the narrator and the society described. Innocence in that it was possible to be at once delicate and matter-of-fact about adultery, jealousy, a cougar, kissing without love, confusion about love, a dress pulled down off a shoulder, but all without the salaciousness w/official veneer of prudery that is our reality now. It has the most delicately worded description of sex I'd ever read: I am not so sure I should like the facts of life, but I have got over the bitter disappointment I felt when I first heard about them, and one obviously has to try them sooner or later. Not to say innocence made things better but I wonder what it would be like to live without an implied wink or leer in certain statements. I'm misrepresenting some of these things since the book is presented as the journal entries of Cassandra.The story's charm is also in the little realizations about life and self the character has as she observes and experiences. They are the realizations of a young girl who is still very idealistic about life, unaware of some probable harsh future adjustments. This coming-of-age girl story probably wouldn't be as charming for most guys to read.

  • Nidhi Singh
    2018-11-05 16:15

    I don’t really want to write anymore, I just want to lie here and think. But there is something I want to capture. It has to do with the feeling I had when I watched the Cottons coming down the lane, the queer separate feeling. I like seeing people when they can’t see me. I have often looked at our family through lighted windows and they seem quite different, a bit the way rooms seen in looking glasses do. I can’t get the feelings into words-it slipped away when I tried to capture itAs she sits in her kitchen sink writing her journal, she reminds me of myself when I was 17. I feel a wistful remembrance of my adolescent hopes, my days of wonderment. And I think of all those things I often used to think about. All those things I thought would happen; all that did not happen, all that did, and all that I never thought about. And then there is her voice, so innocent, thoughtful, and beautiful that leaves me heartbroken, bringing back to me memories like water colour paintings, of dreams that dissolved into the forgetful waters and of a future that seemed like a vision of a faraway castle shrouded by the autumn mist. Life can never be the same when you know that the mist has cleared with the passage of time. The fruits of wonderment have paid off with the seeds of maturity. And adulthood has put aside the fantasies of childhood because you have known too much, lived too much. But could I really have known Cassandra if I had never been cold and hungry like her in that cruel English winter, had never known that sometimes living in a castle alone cannot warrant a fairy tale? But perhaps if I had met her that day when she staggered out of the inn rain-drenched, with her hair dirty and her expression maudlin, I would have told her that I never thought of her as ‘consciously naïve’, that I too had my long days by the window waiting for something to happen, that I had somehow found a lost part of myself through her. When she had wished to live in a Jane Austen novel, how I had often wished the same. And how hopeful I was for her when she took that train to London looking so conspicuous in her white suit, how gorgeous I thought her midsummer’s eve’s rites to be, how blissful indeed writing in the moonlight must have been. How I too had often wondered about an unknown land and an unknown past. How much I had known her puzzlement, her sadness, her hopes and hopelessness. How I had loved every bit of what she ‘captured’ so intently in all the pages of her soon to be finished notebook. And how I really wished I had met her a long time back.

  • TheSkepticalReader
    2018-11-10 13:25

    This is what a Young Adult novel should read like.

  • Cora ☕ Tea Party Princess
    2018-10-16 15:14

    This book changed my life.It was recommended to me by the librarian at school and at first I was a bit apprehensive. I was a timid reader when I was thirteen, I'd rarely read anything other than Harry Potter. But this book, from the very first page, gripped me in a way that no other book ever has done. I sat with the book on my lap under the table in every lesson at school, I passed on watching the television when I got home, instead rushing to my room to curl up on my couch and continue reading.This is the book that I have to thank for my love of literature. I opened my mind and unlocked within me an addiction that means I can't let a day go by without turning the pages of a book.

  • Daniel
    2018-11-07 17:13

    Remember all the mockery, hating and questioning of my sexuality that accompanied me starting to read this book? No? Just look at all the comments down below -- and note all the work I had to do defending myself. It was really quite painful. So painful, in fact, that it took me something like a year or longer to actually finish the blasted book. (To be clear, I did read lots of other books in the meantime.) So, was it worth all the heartache I was subjected to on GoodReads?Well, "I Capture the Castle" is clearly not a book written for thirtysomething heterosexual males, and I'll be damned if I knew what first compelled me to read it. I think I must have read some loving review written somewhere when it was reissued a while back -- a loving review that probably completely mischaracterized the book -- or I never would have picked it up.Nevertheless, even though it is better suited for 15-year-old girls, it really is a well-written and charming novel told by a quite winning narrator. No, it's not the right book for me, but I did enjoy reading it, for the most part. There were a few too many parts in which Cassandra, our heroine, moons over her love interest, Simon, for pages and pages and pages. I starting throwing up in my mouth a little bit during those parts, but I just kept my head down and powered through, and came out the other side, I believe, a better man. Look, I read that brown shower of a book "Twilight," so I can take almost anything. And this is a far, far, far, far better book than "Twilight" was -- a million times better. (Dodie Smith, unlike Stephenie Meyer, actually speaks the English language.) In fact, any 15-year-old girl who wants to read a romance suitable for age, and values her brain cells, would be well-advised to choose "I Capture the Castle" over "Twilight."OK, sorry, didn't meant to make this yet another anti-"Twilight" screed. Anyway, point is, four stars for "I Capture the Castle" because, even though I wasn't its targeted demographic, it is well-written and charming; I'm still heterosexual even though I've used the phrase "well-written and charming" not once, not twice, but three times now; and all the haters can eat me. The end.

  • Zanna
    2018-10-26 12:25

    3.5 starsCassandra is mostly wisely honest with herself as well as being generous spirited and loving, and the combination makes for pleasant reading. There is a feast of interesting details, though the castle makes me feel cold, and some nicely sketched characters - the vicar got some good lines, and Thomas the younger brother delighted me at every appearance, reminding me of my own lil bro. I wish Leda Fox-Cotton weren't so mistreated. It's necessary to see right through Cassandra's prejudice, which is hard because she's very sympathetic. I found it funny that she loves animals so much and wishes owls were vegetarian, but eats meat herself without a shadow of a critical thought.I liked her casual explanation of England being special to her:'oh not the flag and Kipling and outposts of Empire and so on, but the country[side] and London'Quite.There is a neatly written section in which the vicar and Miss Marcy both casually encourage the stricken Cassandra to whom they are offering succour and comfort that is like water in a desert to her, to take up their own interests: religion! you might like it. helping others! you might like it. Cassandra is tempted, but then she decides that these characters are taking refuge from pain and thus from life itself in these absorbing pursuits. Cassandra even reflects that they are like children because they haven't really lived. The conclusion - that she should not throw herself into religion or good works - feels refreshing, and appropriate to the form of a novel (a medium that draws or produces the subjectivity of the subject) but... really? The only real life is one devoted to pursuing the most fully felt personal joy and suffering? Is this the only way we can imagine self actualisation? I can't accept that autonomy requires the rejection of the mortar of community. When Cassandra receives help and then pities her helpers for helping, it seems to me she affirms her class privilege even more thoroughly than her materialistic sister does when she counts her expensive new possessions.I also started my journal when I was 17. Here's a random chunk from 2005!April 15thThere is a kind of light rain which, when falling just at the very beginning of twilight, can make any landscape resemble paradise.I was reading the focus bulletin and there was a page about pomegranate juice “the pomegranate originated in Persia” and there was a verse from Shakespeare:Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near dayIt was the nightingale, not the larkThat pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear;Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate tree -Believe me, love, it was the nightingaleRomeo and Juliet III 5Made me feel wretched for not reading enough, when such riches are so easily come by that a miserable marketing department posts them out to us, their hired zombiesApril 17thToday I saw a mermaid, her hair was in braids, fat murky green at the roots, thin and blue, clear Caribbean blue at the ends. Some had come loose and hung in heavy ringlets like trailing weeds. She had a ring in her nose and an American twang, and her eyes were black and fierce as a storm in the Atlantic.April 19thThis morning we saw the film “Crumb” Robert Crumb's room full of old blues records had a heavy American desk, chair, strip of dark, patterned carpet and great dusty lampshade breathing dusty yellow light. The America of David Lynch. The American interior of the intellectual mind. Ginsberg wrote in a room like that. Dreary, grand, American room, stuffy with spoiled dreams.The problem with the past is that we do not understand it. It seems worthless to us now, because the Gods of the present & the believers in the next world have pointed out to us that we only have today and Jesus will forgive us. Largely, the stories that make up history have lost their significance. A few stand out clear and speak down to us from the depths. But the better part is like a story told by a great grandparent – the facts are useless, foreign objects you can turn over like washed up shells, their contents long ago emptied out, because the story teller saw everything differently then.May 3rdWhen the first time traveller (I hope it is some dignified person, I am nostalgic for the gentleman amateur) goes into the future, everyone there will be waiting for them, whatever kind of world it is. You'll step out of the capsule and see everyone, banners and cheering or ragged scientists or children with stones, waiting. Today there was a waterfall from the sky. Shoes soaked. Cellar flooded.May 15thYesterday the mermaid came back. Her blue hair was tied up, grown out sun-bleached brown, her eyes had turned pale from being so long ashore.Today a fairy princess came in with a goblin. Her body trembled with the effort of being. I think she was kidnapped.Unspeaking,The suited ones walk to their officesTheir faces are shutfor the daytime, purged of hopesSweet yellow sun caresses steel & glass,throws long human shadows like walking deadThe air, heavy and pure with the night's silencereceives the sound of their shod feet on stonesPoliticians wake in a cold sweat.June 10thYou should be aloneeverything resonatesthe night is lovely and in the cold of situations...Reflected in the city light the beauty of your own soulHow can I write with your NOISE?July 18thI looked out through the skylight with corrected vision.Blue and dark, black red cloud like a landmass on a map, meeting the cloudy sea A PAINTING OF HEAVEN & the stars like hope, faint and unreachable, an immense vista, a desert. Must go up with glasses on. I miss my seven sisters. I have unburied my books. In so doing I unbury myself. The dampish old cardboard, almost become precious, byassociation, sits out in the recycle bin.The house is full of booksIt is a joyful meetingSylvia, Heller, Marx. I missed you! I even missed Plato.I can play Queen Adreena. Hands tremble.The self should not be held so dear, it is dangerous. My history, fine sheets, written inverse on linen, like scriptureAugust 9thHoras non numero nisi serenas-motto on a sundial near Venice(I count only the serene hours)

  • Siyuan
    2018-10-29 10:38

    The descriptions of the castle and the voice were great; I thought I had outgrown this sort of coming-of-age story centered around a wide-eyed, precocious young girl. For some reason I especially liked reading about their meals, both before and after the Cottons came along to provide them with better food. What is jellied soup, anyway? There was also a cutely Pollyannaesque tone to the cheerful way Cassandra would casually make note of all the things they lacked and had sold off, and her appreciation for the little that they did have. But halfway through the book I stopped being able to fully relate to Cassandra. I get that love isn't rational, but sometimes I think what's true in real life doesn't always translate well to fiction. Stephen was really too wonderful and too deserving of love, and I was just unable to process Cassandra's indifference to him as a lack of chemistry rather than utter heartlessness. He was responsible and considerate, not only to Cassandra but to the entire family, even though by the end he was their hired boy only in name, and was the only one in the family earning any income. That anecdote about his reaction to the news of his mother's illness really did it. The scene with the wirelesses was especially painful, and it was interesting to note Cassandra's perception of kindness: she is deeply impressed by and grateful to the Cottons for what she calls their "kindness," and I definitely get that, given what a huge impact they've had on her family's lives and circumstances. At the same time, this really highlights how much she takes for granted, in terms of the kindness she receives from Stephen, Topaz, and Miss Marcy. In the end it almost seemed as though Cassandra's feelings were largely decided by both class and circumstance--i.e., her feelings towards a person were determined by what it is within their means to provide. For example, Topaz can only cook and scrub and clean and comfort, and Miss Marcy can go out of her way to provide somewhat insubstantial help, while Mrs. Cotton can send gigantic hams and throw lavish parties and Simon, with his age and access to education, can talk about books and composers. When she tries to comfort Stephen, she even acknowledges that his wireless was a bigger present from him because he had to work and save for it, and I think that's pretty representative of their entire relationship with the Cottons--the Cottons are kind, generous people, but it also really doesn't cost them anything and they can afford such charity. I think the author did a good job of illustrating the selfishness and single-mindedness that can come out of young love or infatuation. Again, this is all very realistic and makes sense, since it's human nature to take what you have for granted, to not appreciate family when you're starstruck or obsessed with something else, but because this was fiction, I wanted it all to wrap up neatly and for the main character to grow up. I don't mean the character shouldn't still be a work-in-progress at the end of book, but in terms of character growth, Cassandra's story and and Miss Marcy's story of being shaken out of her self-interest by grief and tragedy and then coming out of that by taking an interest in children are at different ends of the spectrum. I feel like the book offers the first part of a coming-of-age story, without actually following the character through to any major development. Since the latter portion of the book has much more to do with Cassandra's emotions and her fixation on Simon than on the unique experience of living in poverty in a castle with an eccentric family, this also made me lose some of my original interest in the book.

  • Mariel
    2018-11-06 13:21

    I Capture the Castle is one of my favorite books for making everything out of every event until it is all absolutely important. I capture it all and it is going to last forever. It's not a lonely voyeur book but a loving one, like those collections of stories and images and songs we store up to shield against the blackest stuff (or at least a rope to hold onto).I bought 'Castle' in 2002 after reading a review on amazon that said it was a "dark flip side" of Elizabeth Bowen's The Death of the Heart (one of my favorite books). I've never read another review that for me personally summed up this book better that I'd want to read it (yes, it is true that it is enjoyable and charming too). It is the lighter side of turning over rocks and sometimes finding creepy crawlies underneath. Of not getting hurt by building up love stories to cushion the harsh blows of day to day life. The secrets that make you know someone better, and therefore love them better. Cassandra's scope changes and she learns to not make more or less out of everything but try and see it for what it is, while still seeing the need for valuing it that much. Her father's past with their deceased mom, his writer's block and being imprisoned in his own mind, the step-mom she took for granted, the little brother who saw more than she thought he did, being rich in more than money, the selfish but passionate Rose, her love Simon, Stephen she took for a brother who really loved her all along...(Some of my favorite parts were her conversations with the Vicar about her changing religious beliefs.)And like many others have written, it is funny and charming and quaintly fresh. Just like making up stories in play time about living in a beautiful and rotted castle. With a moat, of course.

  • Kelly
    2018-11-08 09:25

    Was it a bit "consciously" naive? Perhaps. Did I care? No, I did not. Even the character who spoke those words soon preferred to take them back in favor of the fascinated love he felt towards the beauty of the Mortmains of Godsend Castle. I smiled upon my first acquaintaince with Miss Cassandra Mortmain, laughed upon further conversation, and felt as if I were there clasping hands with her in the shadows of her crumbling castle near all the way through. The book is an invocation of Gothic passion, with all the repressed sensuality of the Bronte sisters, and a beach ball of ever-so-practical British and Jane Austen wit being passed back and forth among the cast. It wraps us up in mingled dreams, fantasies and reality and lets us decide which is truly which, while we watch a family trying to do the same. It is a coming-of-age tale, if one must categorize it, but it was few and far between that I was reminded of that fact. While she does 'put away childish things' one by one, she lets us see that adults build their own worlds for themselves, too, no less silly or indulgent than that which she builds for herself. I do not know why this is rated as "YA" literature by some people here. I certainly would not have gathered everything that I did from this at the age of 13 or 14. Please don't let that suffice as a reason for you to pass this one up. Truly, it will be a sad loss. I shall miss you, Miss Cassandra Mortmain. I'm afraid I rushed our first meeting. I couldn't stop turning the pages of your mind, alas. But I'm sure to revisit you again.

  • Rachel
    2018-10-23 12:25

    I finished reading I Capture the Castle for the first time and I was left with wonder at the depth and artistry of Dodie Smith. The characters were strong individuals without becoming clich?s (Let's face it: Rose could have been.) I loved their quirks and their problems.As I flip through others reviews though, I'm rather shocked to read that many people believed/hoped that 'I Capture' was a romance. It isn't. The ending isn't accidental or vague. (Yes it leaves possibilities... But that is part of the point.) This is a book about `choosing to feel', not about `falling in love.' Reread the portion about Miss Marcy's work with the children, the Vicar's work with the church, and Cassandra's thoughts on embracing their choices or walking past. (And the reason she gives for why she chooses as she does.) Reread (and figure out) what the father's strange writing was about.To all the scoffers, I loved the ending. She was true to what she'd learned and what she believed, and that was more important than romance. (Although, I'm not a romance basher. Love it actually.)I can't recommend this book enough. It was a pleasure to immerse myself in Cassandra's world. Wish I could stay there longer.

  • Ivonne Rovira
    2018-10-15 17:16

    Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain hails from the most artsy and impractical family I’ve ever encountered. Her father, James Mortmain, wrote the boffo bestseller Jacob Wrestling 12 years ago, but has suffered a writer’s block so intense that he hasn’t written anything since. His family — Cassandra, 20-year-old Rose, 15-year-old Thomas, 29-year-old stepmom Topaz, and 18-year-old Stephen (the son of the Mortmains’ late housekeeper and a sort of adopted son) — eke by on the ever-diminishing royalties while living in centuries’ old Godsend Castle in Suffolk, a crumbling pile without electricity, running water, or reliable heat. Enter Neil and Simon Cotton, who as in Pride and Prejudice, inherit nearby Scoatney Hall and soon come a-courting. Beautiful, romantic Rose wants nothing more than for a young man to whisk her off her feet and carry her away to marriage and a better life, but budding writer Cassandra wants — well, she’s not sure what — but readers will cherish her journey of self-discovery as much as they’ll cherish crumbling Godsend Castle and the Mortmains and their friends. I Capture the Castle is one of those rare books — like Rebecca, Jane Eyre, and The Book Thief — that stay with you forever.I adored Dodie Smith from when I read The 101 Dalmatians (not that mediocre Disney film) and its sequel, The Starlight Barking; however, I didn’t even know she wrote anything but children’s books. How wonderful that, thanks to my Great Escape Sisters, I was able to read this enchanting book. It won’t be my last adult Dodie Smith book; in fact, I’ve already bought her The Town in Bloom. For those listening to I Capture the Castle on Audible, narrator Jenny Agutter simply makes the book. Not every incredibly talented actress makes a fine narrator, but Agutter definitely does. P.S. — In keeping with my motto that children’s books should not be wasted merely on the young, I intend to re-read One Hundred and One Dalmatians and The Starlight Barking this summer. Further, now that I’ve discovered there’s a third book in the series (hooray!), I’ll have a brand-new (to me, anyway) Dodie Smith children’s book to savor.

  • Nandakishore Varma
    2018-11-01 12:29

    "Ah, but you are the insidious type-Jane Eyre with a touch of Becky Sharp. A thoroughly dangerous girl..."So says the vicar about Cassandra Mortmain, the semi-precocious narrator of this novel - and one has to accept that he has put his finger on the nub. Rem acu tetigisti, as Jeeves would say.Cassandra is the younger daughter of the once-famous novelist James Mortmain, and as the novel opens, we find her sitting on the draining board of the kitchen sink with her feet actually in the sink, writing her journal (which this novel is, BTW) in a cryptic speed-writing shorthand of her own invention. She is sitting there because it is the only reasonably warm room in their house, which was built in the time of Charles II and “grafted on to a fourteenth century castle that was damaged by Cromwell”. The Mortmains have been living there in genteel poverty for five years as the novel opens. They have sold all their jewellery and furniture, the women have no proper wardrobe, and even day-to-day food procurement has become something of an adventure.They are a motley crew. James Mortmain, the head of the household, was once a celebrated novelist for the single avante garde novel Jacob Wrestling he had written: but a bout of bad temper had caused him to brandish a knife at his wife and knock out a neighbour who tried to intervene, earning him three months in jail. Once he came out, he has not written a single thing but spends his time reading old detective stories: hence their poverty.Rose, his elder daughter, is lovely and self-centred, and is willing to sell herself to get out of her poverty; the younger daughter Cassandra is pretty, witty and intelligent and aspires to be a novelist. Their youngest sibling Thomas is fifteen and precocious like Cassandra. Their stepmother (the girls’ mother had died eight years before the story opens), who is only twety-nine and goes by the unusual name Topaz is a former artists’ model who worships the ground James treads on and sometimes communes with nature by dancing on the moors stark naked. Stephen Colly, the Mortmains’ maid’s son who has continued to stay with them even after her mother’s passing, makes himself useful about the house and is hopelessly in love with Cassandra.It is into this hopeless, bohemian world that Simon and Neil Cotton arrive. They are the inheritors of Scoatney Hall, whose owner had given Mr. Mortmain Godsend Castle on a forty-year lease. Simon Cotton, a well-read intellectual, is fascinated by England and also by James Mottmain, who is still famous in America; later on, also by Rose. Neil is American through-and–through and can’t wait to get out of England. When Simon falls for Rose and gets engaged to her, he is very angry as he considers her a gold-digger. To complicate matters, Cassandra also falls for Simon. And there is James, getting more eccentric every day, and practically running after Mrs. Cotton, Simon and Neil’s mother, to the chagrin of Topaz. Aubrey Fox-Cotton, a distant cousin of the Cottons and a famous architect, who can’t get enough of Topaz and Leda, his photographer wife who lusts after Stephen, complete the cast of characters and add spice to the plot.Here we have a potential recipe for a comedy of manners, a farce, a TV soap opera or even a Wodehouse-ian extravaganza. The narrative could have easily slid into any one of these genres and we would have had a mediocre novel. The fact that it does not happen is due to the consummate mastery of Dodie Smith over her medium, in keeping the voice of the teenage narrator so consistent and endearing throughout.For Cassandra Mortmain is truly a masterly creation. I would place her on the same pedestal on which I have put Elizabeth Bennet, Becky Sharp and Scarlett O’Hara (I have not read Jane Eyre, but from what I have heard, that redoubtable lady is of the same calibre). But Cassandra is not as accomplished, determined or wicked (as in the case of Ms. Sharp and Ms. O’Hara) as these legendary heroines – she is very much a teenage girl, suffering all the confusions and tantrums of that difficult period of life. No, what makes Cassandra special is her candour.At one point in the novel, unaware that she is listening in, Simon wonders whether Cassandra is being “consciously naive” i.e. putting it on as a show to attract people. She is incensed, and rightly so; because if there is one thing to be said for the girl, it is her perfect honesty about everything including herself! For example, you have respect a person who can say that a piece by Bach made her feel that she was being repeatedly hit on the head by a teaspoon!There are plenty of scenes worthy of Wodehouse – Topaz dancing at the foot of the castle tower at night in the buff and being taken for a ghost; Rose being chased across the country in a bearskin coat because people think that she is an escaped circus bear – but the hilarity does not slide into outright belly-laughter as with his novels. As a counterpoint, there are plenty of mellow scenes too, where the novelist relies heavily on metaphor (Rose wishing on a gargoyle and Cassandra and Simon doing the Midsummer Eve rites at the foot of the Belmonte Tower, to quote two examples). Here, we have to go beyond the written word to the story on the unwritten pages.James Mortmain’s literary career is, however, the key to the novel, I feel. The reference to Jacob’s Ladder in his original novel immediately points to man’s connection with the infinite: as the Vicar tells Cassandra, God need not be God in the conventional sense, a bearded old man sitting up there in the clouds. God can be felt, smelt, seen, heard, tasted or simply experienced. As the novel moves to its conclusion, James has rediscovered his connection to the Godhead in him, which is literature – and Cassandra has also grown up. In discovering the key to her heart, she has learnt to put her feelings in perspective.The first part of the novel is written in a sixpenny notebook with a pencil stub. It progresses to a shilling notebook and finally to a two-guinea one, written with a pen. We started with a precocious teenager in March, at the beginning of spring: we leave the story with her standing on the threshold of womanhood as the autumn leaves start falling.Good luck, Cassandra!

  • William Thomas
    2018-11-10 16:11

    I began to harbor a very strong dislike for this book approximately sixty pages in. And I then hated myself for hating this book. Because it seems to be so beloved that I kept beating myself up for not understanding why it was so wonderful. And then suddenly, I stopped and the book ended. And I sighed with relief as I put it away, never to be touched again.This is one of those books that most reviewers would call "delightful". I could imagine many would sit around reading it feeling giddy and delighted. They would then go on to describe it as "charming". Probably most would not go so far as to call it "enchanting", but I could see where some may go so far. I would use all of these words, as well, if I were trying to sell it. If I put an ad up to dump it on some other unassuming soul. The same way realtors use the words "cozy" and "charming" and "delightful" in order to pique interests about small, out-of-the-way holes in the wall.Now, before you beat me up over this review and the star rating, please understand that I am not a complete boor. I enjoy wit and witticism, turn-of-phrase, and I delight at smartly written prose. I am in no need of a plot of any sort in the works I read or those I fall in love with. I can enjoy a book for the poetry or for the observations or for a myriad other reasons. But this book seems to me to be a floundering piece of garbage, something akin to pond scum. It has no idea of what it intended to do except to be "enchanting" and "delightful". And that really was what it boiled down to. Something cutesy that intended to be cutesy for it's own sake. If you are big on plot, please, put the book down or lend it to a friend and forget about it. There is a family who lives in a castle. They are awkward weirdos who have no idea how to interact with people, especially men. Some men come along. An aunt dies. They collect some valuable furs. They talk to the men a little. Their father cannot write another book and they are poor. The end. What bothers me most about it is that I felt Dodie Smith smirking at all of her own lines, after reading each sentence of her own work, each sentence punctuated by a smug little old lady smile. Like someone who has just made you furious and smiles at you about it instead of fighting with you.And I hated it. I'd punctuate the book with straight jabs and uppercuts to demonstrate my rage. IF you think you saw something in this book relating to socio-political values or socio-economic plight in England, I would have to say you were mistaken. This book speaks as much to class and societal upbringing as a Janet Evanovich book does. Just put it down. You won't like it. It's like eating an entire 2 pound bag of M&M's. It's glorious for about a minute, then so sugary your mouth aches, and then a labored task that will make you feel bad about yourself for finishing it.

  • Amy | shoutame
    2018-10-15 17:33

    A must read for any lover of Jane Austen! Fantastic!- This novel follows the story of the Mortmain family who live in a dilapidated old castle in the countryside. We see the world through the eyes of Cassandra Mortmain, the youngest daughter of the household and easily my favourite character from the novel! We learn how the family relies on the profits from their novelist Father's book - a book that is slowly dwindling in popularity, threatening the meagre amount of food and comfort they have left. When things just seem to be heading for devastation an unlikely source of help comes when the rightful heirs to the castle come and visit from America. The two handsome American brother's end up stealing the hearts of Cassandra and her sister but the path of love never runs smoothly... - The interactions between Cassandra and family reminded me so much of the witty voice of Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice - this was definitely my favourite aspect of the novel. The chapters are laid out as though Cassandra is writing in her journal and so I felt very connected to her story as it was as if she was talking directly to me.- The variety between the characters in this novel was brilliant and seeing the way each of them develops as the story moves on was really interesting. I especially loved the growth of Cassandra's character and how she emotionally matured over the course of the novel.- 5 out of 5 stars and into my favourites! I would recommend to any lover of Jane Austen or similar authors.

  • Mayra
    2018-11-14 11:26

    This, in a way, is a coming-of-age story. In just a few months, Cassandra Mortmain learns pages and pages about herself – her capabilities and her flaws.I found it no coincidence when the author, through Cassandra, expressed her views on endings that are too happy, those that close the story too shut, saying that with books like that you forget about its characters too quickly. How right she was, because after I finished her novel I spent about two hours lying in bed, resolutely incapable of going to sleep, just musing nonstop about the story, and all of them. Cassandra, Neil, Simon, Rose, Stephen…It’s an understatement to say that this was a modern fairy tale. Because even though it had most of the ingredients – castles, towers, pagan rituals, metaphoric prince charmings, and so much of England’s picturesque charm – this novel was so many levels above the mere romance.I’d say Dodie Smith not only captured the castle perfectly, but even more than their abode, she captured all the characters to such an amazing length. It had been too long since I last witnessed such expert character development.A modern romance, set in an ancient castle in the English countryside, with characters so real and refreshingly human you feel they may actually exist: that’s how I’d describe I Capture the Castle.

  • Lotte
    2018-10-19 11:18

    If you like Jane Austen, then you should definitely read this.