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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
6,097208674 (4.13)549
Recently added bykatieray, kethorn23, thelittlestacks, mlomba2, Lokweesha, private library
Legacy LibrariesSylvia Plath
  1. 191
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (weener)
    weener: Another superb girl's coming-of-age novel!
  2. 171
    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.
  3. 80
    Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery (casvelyn)
    casvelyn: The protagonists have a similar voice and outlook on life.
  4. 102
    Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster (mybookshelf)
    mybookshelf: Both are classic stories about unusual young women who enjoy writing.
  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)
  10. 21
    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.
  11. 21
    The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West (DieFledermaus)
  12. 44
    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.
  13. 01
    Tell Me a Riddle by Tillie Olsen (one-horse.library)
  14. 12
    Seacrow Island by Astrid Lindgren (starbox)
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» See also 549 mentions

English (206)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (208)
Showing 1-5 of 206 (next | show all)
This book started out wonderfully. The characters were interesting and full - although I was confused about the main character's (Cassandra's) brother for a bit, I either missed his introduction or there wasn't one.

For a large part of the book I found Cassandra's voice to be great. But maybe the last quarter or maybe the last fifth even, her personality took a turn. It was a decent enough reason I suppose, but it went from a book where nothing much happens even though a lot is happening, to the same, but not quite as light and warm.

Still, I think Dodie Smith would have fit in well with the Brontes or Jane Austen. And I think fans of those authors would do well to read Smith. ( )
  Sean191 | Feb 14, 2015 |
It has been awhile since I read this book. Don't remember details but remember that i really enjoyed it! ( )
  franklinki | Feb 2, 2015 |
An epistolary novel following the eccentric Mortmain family as told by 17 year old Cassandra Mortmain. They live in a derelict castle in the English countryside and live in poverty since Cassandra's father hasn't written or earned anything since the success of his first book years earlier. Life is dull there and the story, told through Cassandra's journal entries, starts off just as dull. Things pick up when the Cottons, two American brothers, come to the nearby village and shake things up for the Mortmain family.

I did enjoy this novel more the further I got into it but I'm not quite as fond of the narrator as many of the book's fans are. I try to avoid describing things as "coming of age" but there's just no other way to classify this book -- the central point is Cassandra growing up over the period of six months. I did enjoy the story up to a point but I doubt it's one I'll remember very clearly in years to come. ( )
  parasolofdoom | Jan 16, 2015 |
A book you appreciate at so many different levels depending on what age you are. I love Cassandra. ( )
  humblewomble | Oct 19, 2014 |
I loved this book. I loved Cassandra and all the characters and the castle and the story. The romance became a bit overwrought but was in keeping with the intensity of the tale. I just wish I had found this book when i was about 15. ( )
  rosiezbanks | Oct 9, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 206 (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 (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dodie Smithprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Agutter, JennyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grove, ValerieIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steed, RuthIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.
Haiku summary

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:51 -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)

» see all 11 descriptions

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