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Follow the Author
I Capture the Castle: Movie Tie-In Edition Kindle Edition
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I know of few novels - except Pride and Prejudice - that inspire as much fierce lifelong affection in their readers.--Joanna Trollope
I think it is a book that will be very much lived in by many people; because you can live in it, like Dickens--Christopher Isherwood
This book has one of the most charismatic narrators I've ever met.--J.K. Rowling --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
From the Artist
- ASIN : B00CBFYPQC
- Publisher : St. Martin's Press; Media tie-in edition (April 1, 2003)
- Publication date : April 1, 2003
- Language : English
- File size : 1807 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 351 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #188,493 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from the United States
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I thought this was a beautifully written book. Dodie Smith does a fantastic job of letting Cassandra’s thoughts and feelings flow onto the paper. We see Cassandra’s growth throughout the book as she progresses through the six-penny journal to the shilling journal and finally to the two-guinea journal as she records her thoughts. We share her hopes and dreams, and happy and sad memories as she tries to navigate growing up in a family struggling to survive, yet endeavoring to live a normal life. Cassandra seems to be the practical one of the family as she tries to help her father write again, schemes with Rose to find a husband, and struggles with Stephen’s feelings for her, as well as her growing feelings for another. It is both a humorous and poignant portrayal of a young girl finding her way in the world, as she also helps and cares for those around her. The novel also examines the English class system and compares English versus American traditions.
This is very far from being a conventional "romance," or a conventional "young adult" novel. Nothing turns out as the characters, or the reader, might expect. The limitations of a first-person narrative handicap the novel badly, because of course the reader never learns about anything the narrator doesn't know, and all other characters necessarily tend to be impenetrable and opaque.
I actually enjoyed some of it, but I also found it frustrating and annoying at times.
Her father's mysteriousness kept me as interested in him as she was; just as all of the characters wondered, I found myself constantly wondering "Is he genius? Is he crazy? Is he good? Bad?"
Every character, for that matter, was complex and multidimensional. There were no stereotypes, no cliches - just complicated, real people who I loved getting to know.
I really enjoyed the diary format - there were moments I felt like she stole my own thoughts. She's probably my all-time favorite character actually - so much depth, charisma, and joy.
As for the romance, I loved all of it - I enjoyed the interaction between Cassandra & Stephen, how tense & confusing it was. It was so interesting to see how everything played out ... the way, at first, to Cassandra, Simon was just an awkward-looking man in a beard and then, he quickly becomes so much more to the entire family, changing their lives - in a way they had literally sat around hoping for just moments before.
Smith's writing is flawless & beautiful. It flows so well. I could envision everything so vividly. It played like a movie in my mind.
Be sure to read it! I wish I'd read it years ago
Top reviews from other countries
Dodie Smith herself was always self-deprecating about her novel telling people (perhaps with a note of false modesty?) that it was merely Peg’s Paper* stuff. In my view, there is some truth in this. Much as I loved the story of two sisters growing up in a crumbling castle in abject poverty and the advent of two half-American brothers at the neighbouring estate which changes everything for them for ever, there are many highly romantic elements in this novel which lend proof to Smith’s own self-denigrating point.
Nevertheless, her writing is out of this world and there are countless set-pieces to relish: our captivating narrator Cassandra bathing in the bleak baronial kitchen when the American boys turn up out of nowhere, the girls’ inheritance of a pile of mangy old fur coats, the locking of their eccentric father up in the castle tower to cure him of his writer’s block, the touching scene of two wireless set gifts from rival admirers. The list goes on. This book is a true delight. 4.5*
*Peg’s Paper: a romantic fiction women’s magazine published in the UK in the 1920s and 30s.
Told through the eyes of Cassandra, a girl on the brink of womanhood, trying to make sense of those around her and the emotions they invoke. Her world is turned on its head when the rightful heirs to the castle she calls home arrive from America.
How many modern young women, with three potential, handsome suitors before them could be quite as pragmatic or level-headed as cassandra; an utterly endearing female lead whose only desire in life seems to be the happiness and fulfilment of those around her.
Slightly slow to start, the story soon gains pace once the American arrive.
The Mortmains are impoverished English Eccentrics and much of the book is devoted to hunting for marriageable husbands.
Despite being a brilliant author, Mr Mortmain comes across as violent and abusive by today's standards.
The voice of the narrator, Cassandra is sweet and engaging, and there are beautiful descriptive passages (almost purple prose) but much of the dialogue is of the rather posh and stilted variety.
Characters are generally rather stereotyped, the best characters are of the dog and cat, as may be expected...,?
Overall, I found the book rather dated and rambling, rather as if the author found herself lost in halfway in a rather futile romantic zone where she shifts love allegiances around like chess pieces.
The final romantic denouement of Rose, which I shan't give away, remained completely unexplored and weird.
By turns, tiresome and charming to read, this is very much a period piece and was probably a pot boiler for Dodie Smith.
It was an overly slow burn, I felt, but it was so well written I could enjoy each passage on it's own merits, even if it didn't contribute much to moving the plot gently to the next somewhat whimsical development. But despite this, it does deal with the angst of first love rather well, (in the much missed days before sharing one's genitals on social media became a right of passage), and life with intellectuals who are wholly out of touch with the real world, of whom I have met more than a few.
I feel it's a sign of a good book if you have a sense of loss when it ends, and if the afterglow of a much-enjoyed read stays with you for some time after. This was one such book, and I thoroughly recommend it if you want to escape the nonsense currently happening in the world (written Jan 2021) for a gentler time when nature, family and love came first. It's of its time, but a well written, very quirky and enjoyable read nevertheless.