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I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
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I Capture the Castle (1948)

by Dodie Smith

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,596239574 (4.13)604
Recently added by160norcal, private library, mysticrose29, sinki, jessgriffiths, Keelz09, kmcmahon, curlycarrotcake, gina_p
Legacy LibrariesSylvia Plath
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    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (weener)
    weener: Another superb girl's coming-of-age novel!
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    Emma by Jane Austen (Voracious_Reader)
    Voracious_Reader: Both books are stories of precocious, witty young women coming of age, albeit in very different eras.
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    Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster (mybookshelf)
    mybookshelf: Both are classic stories about unusual young women who enjoy writing.
  4. 91
    Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery (casvelyn)
    casvelyn: The protagonists have a similar voice and outlook on life.
  5. 91
    A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper (Maid_Marian, FutureMrsJoshGroban)
    FutureMrsJoshGroban: Much, much better than "I Capture the Castle"!!!
  6. 70
    The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice (khuggard)
  7. 30
    The Keeping Days by Norma Johnston (wisewoman)
    wisewoman: Similar narrative voice, wry and funny and believable.
  8. 31
    The Town in Bloom by Dodie Smith (KayCliff)
  9. 10
    The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford (souloftherose)
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    The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz (charl08)
    charl08: Both feature strong teenage characters dealing with first romance, family and growing up.
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    The Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden (Lirmac)
    Lirmac: The Greengage Summer and I Capture the Castle are both exquisitly-crafted books narrated by girls on the brink of maturity. Both are engaging and timeless, and neither descends into the clichés of the 'coming of age' story.
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    charl08: Both narrated by youthful, naive but entertaining protagonists.
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    Speaking From Among the Bones by Alan Bradley (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Although I Capture the Castle is a coming-of-age story, not a mystery, both witty novels are narrated by precocious girls who, left to their own devices by their eccentric families, pursue adventures within the confines of quiet English villages.… (more)
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    charl08: Both novels include a young female protagonist who is charismatic, surrounded by interesting characters and loving books. And both are funny.
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    Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson (allisongryski)
    allisongryski: Another coming-of-age story dealing with sisters finding their own identities and searching for love.
  18. 01
    Tell Me a Riddle by Tillie Olsen (TomWaitsTables)
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» See also 604 mentions

English (236)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  All (238)
Showing 1-5 of 236 (next | show all)
I knew nothing about this book when I started it and I think that is the best way to approach it. At first I wasn't sure I was going to be interested but by the time it ended, I was utterly charmed. ( )
  leslie.98 | Oct 26, 2016 |
A lovely little novel, written as installments in a young girl's journal, about adolescent first loves and disappointments. The real star, though, is the castle itself, the thought of which would, I suspect, make Cassandra proud. ( )
  electrascaife | Oct 23, 2016 |
An amusing and thoughtful "journal" by a 17 year old living in genteel poverty post WWI in England. Lots to think about after reading this unpredictable story of a young girl and her eccentric family. ( )
  fuzzi | Oct 16, 2016 |
I really, really like Dodie Smith's writing style. This isn't a book with a lot of action and adventure, but the narrative was great and it kept me interested. I thought the book could have been formatted better, though, to remind readers that it's a journal. All of the characters were well-written, in my opinion. I did not expect the small plot twist at the end and was content with the ending.

I wasn't sure how i felt about her situation with her love interest at first, but after thinking about it a bit, i decided i was okay with it.

(I'm not feeling very eloquent today.)

*Reviewed on May 26, 2014.* ( )
  danaenicole | Oct 15, 2016 |
Honestly, I had a hard time getting into this. I think the voice of the narrator just wasn't what I wanted to read/listen to when I started. The tone is more formal than I was expecting, which fits the time period and the culture fine, just not what I wanted to read, I think. So it took me a while to finally sink into this book. But once I did, I had a hard time putting it down. So often I was checking the back cover and the title pages to see if this was a real story or not, that's how believable it felt to me.

This is Cassandra's story, told with great attention to detail, character motivation, emotion, and appearance. She keeps a journal of her time living with her family in a castle and wants to "capture" every bit of it. She wants to be a writer and is using her journal as a way of trying to get better. While other writers would immediately jump to the big moments like marriage proposals, she practices techniques like suspense and themes. And by taking her time and describing things so beautifully, she gets us to care about everything that's going on, as well as her. The romantic dramas read a little Austen to me, but in a more emotional, personal way. There is drama, humor, tension, worry, romance, and even a father locked away in a tower writing word puzzles! By the end, I was definitely rooting for Cassandra to have everything she ever dreamed of. It was a joy to get to read about her. ( )
  katekintail | Oct 6, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 236 (next | show all)
This book was such a wonderful, enchanting and unpredictable read that by the end of it I felt like I almost was Cassandra, since her confessions, recordings and thoughts in her journals gave me a thorough insight into her. I also loved how the sections of the book were arranged in differently priced notebooks, which really demonstrated the progression of the story
 
It feels, reading it now, as if this is the story that every romantic comedy Hollywood has ever made has been trying to tell. And when we come towards the end of the book and a marriage proposal and happily-ever-after storyline seems to be in the offing, I was worried we were going to stray into that territory. But Smith is too good a writer, Cassandra too interesting a person to settle for this.
added by Nickelini | editthe Independent, Evie Wyld (Jul 19, 2013)
 

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dodie Smithprimary authorall editionscalculated
Agutter, JennyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grove, ValerieIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steed, RuthIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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Introduction
Cassandra Mortmain, as one critic said, is a young girl 'poised between childhood and adultery'.
I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.
Quotations
I know all about the facts of life. And I don't think much of them.
She was so scared, she forgot to be a contralto.
Topaz said she had never been on the streets and rather regretted it, which is the kind of Topazism it requires much affection to tolerate.
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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
'I write this sitting in the kitchen sink' is the first line of a novel about love, sibling rivalry and a bohemian existence in a crumbling castle in the middle of nowhere. Cassandra Mortmain's journal record her fadingly glamorous stepmother, Topaz, her beautiful, wistful older sister, Rose, and the man to whom all three of them owe their isolation and their poverty: Father. I Capture the Castle has inspired writers as diverse as Armistead Maupin and Joanna Trollope and remains a classic tale of the triumph of youthful naivety over middle-aged cyncism.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 031231616X, Paperback)

Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain wants to become a writer. Trouble is, she's the daughter of a once-famous author with a severe case of writer's block. Her family--beautiful sister Rose, brooding father James, ethereal stepmother Topaz--is barely scraping by in a crumbling English castle they leased when times were good. Now there's very little furniture, hardly any food, and just a few pages of notebook paper left to write on. Bravely making the best of things, Cassandra gets hold of a journal and begins her literary apprenticeship by refusing to face the facts. She writes, "I have just remarked to Rose that our situation is really rather romantic, two girls in this strange and lonely house. She replied that she saw nothing romantic about being shut up in a crumbling ruin surrounded by a sea of mud."

Rose longs for suitors and new tea dresses while Cassandra scorns romance: "I know all about the facts of life. And I don't think much of them." But romantic isolation comes to an end both for the family and for Cassandra's heart when the wealthy, adventurous Cotton family takes over the nearby estate. Cassandra is a witty, pensive, observant heroine, just the right voice for chronicling the perilous cusp of adulthood. Some people have compared I Capture the Castle to the novels of Jane Austen, and it's just as well-plotted and witty. But the Mortmains are more bohemian--as much like the Addams Family as like any of Austen's characters. Dodie Smith, author of 101 Dalmations, wrote this novel in 1948. And though the story is set in the 1930s, it still feels fresh, and well deserves its reputation as a modern classic. --Maria Dolan

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:21 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The story of 17-year-old Cassandra and her family, who live in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle old English castle. Over six turbulent months, she fills three diaries with sharply funny yet poignant entries and manages to find herself hopelessly in love. By the time she pens her final entry, she has "captured the castle" and the heart of the reader.… (more)

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