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I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
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I Capture the Castle (original 1948; edition 1949)

by Dodie Smith

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,357230615 (4.13)583
Member:wyvernfriend
Title:I Capture the Castle
Authors:Dodie Smith
Info:Virago, 2003, Edition: Film Tie-in Ed, Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction, read, 2006, ya, england, inter-war era, october, romance

Work details

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (1948)

Recently added byCaitlinElisabeth, MaraBlaise, Kaydeanne, AmberMcWilliams, mirikayla, Laurochka, SheilaAgnew, private library
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» See also 583 mentions

English (226)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (228)
Showing 1-5 of 226 (next | show all)
A wonderful romantic "memoir" style novel - utterly engaging, charming and delightfully evocative of the English countryside, the issues of growing up, and the joy and heartbreak and irritation of being part of a family. Cassandra is a wonderful narrator, and her voice comes through her journal clear and direct and naive in all the right ways. Highly recommended. ( )
  AmberMcWilliams | Feb 8, 2016 |
This story has so many interesting facets - there's the comparisons between English and American words and manners/behaviors; there's the issue of poverty and what one will or won't do to alleviate it; there are references to other novels with female heroines; descriptions of food, clothing, music, and places between the wars; sibling love and rivalry; step-parenting; history, unrequited love ... it's all in there and more! It's funny and touching and sad and honest. I've read it a few times and it will remain one of my all-time favorites. ( )
  libbromus | Jan 30, 2016 |
A book you appreciate at so many different levels depending on what age you are. I love Cassandra. ( )
  thebookmagpie | Jan 30, 2016 |
A book you appreciate at so many different levels depending on what age you are. I love Cassandra. ( )
  hoegbottom | Jan 30, 2016 |
A book you appreciate at so many different levels depending on what age you are. I love Cassandra. ( )
  hoegbottom | Jan 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 226 (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 editionsconfirmed
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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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)

(summary from another edition)

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