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I Capture the Castle Paperback – April 1, 2003
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“This book has one of the most charismatic narrators I've ever met. Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain captures the castle in her insightful, witty journal entries.” ―Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling
“What a lovely book is I Capture the Castle. It's as fresh as if it were written this morning, and as classic as Jane Austen. I'm very happy to have met it.” ―Donald E. Westlake
“A delicious, compulsively readable novel about young love and its vicissitudes. What fun!” ―Erica Jong
“Dreamy and funny . . . an odd, shimmering timelessness clings to its pages. A thousand and one cheers for its reissue. A+” ―Entertainment Weekly
“I Capture the Castle is finally back in print. It should be welcomed with a bouquet of roses and a brass band. Ever since I was handed a tattered copy years ago with the recommendation 'You'll love it,' it has been one of my favorite novels.” ―Susan Isaacs
“It is an occasion worth celebrating when a sparkling novel, a work of wit, irony, and feeling is brought back into print after an absence of many years. So uncork the champagne for I Capture the Castle.” ―Los Angeles Times
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Top Customer Reviews
"On the 5th day of Christmas", 2006, I visited and found my friend dead in her bed--she seems to have died peacefully in her sleep. My book was on the table in her living room. In the days following I thoughtfully re-read the volume, thinking at every page how my late friend would have delighted at the offbeat wit and each nimble turn of phrase.
--And for the first time, I was struck by the small but important role of the Vicar (who "looked like an elderly baby"), and noticed the "stealth comfort" he administers to the non-practising, nominally Christian protagonist, when late in the story she is confused and depressed by situations beyond her control. It may well have been the last reference to the comfort of religion which my friend read, which is felicitious; for she reminded me much of the main character in her views on God and religion.
I am grateful to be granted the grace of giving my friend the pleasure of such an enchanting "last novel". I will savour that gentle and whimsical Providence (not unlike something which could have happened in the book) for the rest of my life.
This book should be read in High School English classes.