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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

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6,185213656 (4.13)569
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 bySoschaF, ToasterFaerie, KirSio, lenabooks, mlorio, jon1lambert, private library, hrcentre, BookAddictUK, impatienke
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» See also 569 mentions

English (210)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (212)
Showing 1-5 of 210 (next | show all)
A wonderful read.

Here's my in depth review on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1110909296 ( )
  ShyPageSniffer | Aug 6, 2015 |
Fascinating autobiographical novel. I enjoyed the setting and the ideas presented. ( )
  Colby_Glass | Jul 27, 2015 |
I Capture the Castle is definitely a keeper. The turns of phrase and witticisms were delightful. Cassandra's character was charming and believable, one could not help but wish her her hearts desire. She is a modern day Jane Eyre.

Here are a couple of my favourite quotes:

“The table was a pool of candlelight -- so bright that the rest of the room seemed almost black, with the faces of the family portraits floating in the darkness.”

"Another great luxury is letting myself cry - I always feel marvellously peaceful after that. But it is difficult to arrange times for it, as my face takes so long to recover; it isn't safe in the mornings if I am to look normal when I meet father at lunch, and the afternoons are no better, as Thomas is home by five. It would be all right in bed at night but such a waste, as that is my happiest time. Days when father goes over to read in the Scoatney library are good crying days."
( )
  redhead.with.book | Jun 26, 2015 |
I can definitely see why this is a beloved classic. I was frustrated by how much of a fairy-tale it is but I still enjoyed how complex the characters are, and how much they grow. I give it credit for not having a neat & tidy happily-ever-after ending, and for the spunky but flawed heroine.

The little tidbits of humor were esp. enjoyable to me; sorry I can't find any examples.

The bits of philosophy were also somewhat interesting: "... the climate of richness must always be a little dulling to the senses. Perhaps it takes the edge off joy as well as off sorrow."

I wonder if the people who love this the most also love Sara Crewe?

( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 210 (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.
Cassandra Mortmain, as one critic said, is a young girl 'poised between childhood and adultery'. (Introduction)
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)

» see all 11 descriptions

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