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I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

I Capture the Castle (1948)

by Dodie Smith

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,244214647 (4.13)574
  1. 191
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (weener)
    weener: Another superb girl's coming-of-age novel!
  2. 181
    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. 112
    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)
  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. 10
    The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz (charl08)
    charl08: Both feature strong teenage characters dealing with first romance, family and growing up.
  12. 21
    The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West (DieFledermaus)
  13. 00
    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)
  14. 00
    The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob (charl08)
    charl08: Both novels include a young female protagonist who is charismatic, surrounded by interesting characters and loving books. And both are funny.
  15. 22
    Seacrow Island by Astrid Lindgren (starbox)
  16. 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.
  17. 01
    Tell Me a Riddle by Tillie Olsen (TomWaitsTables)

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» See also 574 mentions

English (211)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (213)
Showing 1-5 of 211 (next | show all)
Despite some pretty snapshot scenes, the book failed to capture my attention and imagination until it's conclusion. ( )
  LaPhenix | Nov 22, 2015 |
This is a lovely, lovely book, and it has every ounce of the charm for which it gets praised, but what struck me is the acute sadness that seems to underlie it all. I wonder if I would give it such weight if I'd read it when younger, since a lot of it is quite comic, but it seems to me there's quite a serious grown-up novel quite close to the surface of the charming, amusing romance, and its dogged and wholly admirable refusal to tie things up neatly is merely the most obvious sign. The death of Cassandra's mother, the monstrous egotism and violent temper of her father, for which she never once properly upbraids him even in the privacy of her own thoughts - but locking him in the tower is a kind of justice and the long overdue kick in the pants, so she and Thomas punish him without poisoning themselves with a trace of bitterness, and in a sense, that's what keeps the book so charming and Cassandra so innocent, in spite of everything: the complete absence of bitterness - not to mention the tangled Jacob's ladder of love that causes so much pain. Cassandra's voice at first is so sweet and innocent, but that gets undercut quite early on when she overhears herself being described as 'consciously naive' and thereafter her voice becomes considerably less arch. She is, after all, a child becoming a woman and at the end is left in an adult's dilemma, and as teenagers may not realise, but hopefully most adults are aware, many of those never get truly resolved. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
A book you appreciate at so many different levels depending on what age you are. I love Cassandra. ( )
  thebookmagpie | Oct 7, 2015 |
I initially gave the book three stars and bumped it up to four stars for the quotable quotes. ( )
  bsiemens | Sep 30, 2015 |
Fascinating autobiographical novel. I enjoyed the setting and the ideas presented. ( )
  Colby_Glass | Jul 27, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 211 (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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First words
I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.
Cassandra Mortmain, as one critic said, is a young girl 'poised between childhood and adultery'. (Introduction)
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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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 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)

» see all 11 descriptions

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