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I Capture the Castle Paperback – April 1, 2003
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“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
About the Author
Dorothy Gladys "Dodie" Smith, was born in 1896 in Lancashire, England, and she was one of the most successful female dramatists of her generation. She wrote "Autumn", "Crocus", and "Dear Octopus", among other plays, but her first novel, I Capture the Castle (Little Brown, 1948) was written when she lived in America during the '40s and marked her crossover debut from playwright to novelist. the novel became an immediate success and was produced as a play in 1954. Her other novels were The Town in Bloom, It Ends with Revelations, A Tale of Two Families, and The Girl in the Candle-Lit Bath. Today, however, she is best known for her stories for young readers, The Hundred and One Dalmations (Heinemann, 1956) and The Starlight Barking (Heinemann, 1967; Simon & Schuster, 1968). The Hundred and One Dalmations was inspired by Dodie's own Dalmation named Pongo, and became the basis of two Disney films. The Starlight Barking is also available in paperback from St. Martin's press. Dodie Smith died in 1990.
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The story is told through seventeen year old Cassandra Mortmain who lives with her family in a crumbling castle in the English countryside. Her father wrote one popular and widely acclaimed novel but has not managed to write a second follow up. Needless to say the family is struggling to get by and has sold most of their furniture and other household items in order to survive. Cassandra and her older, beautiful sister Rose have fun comparing themselves to the Bennett sisters in Pride and Prejudice or characters from a Charlotte Bronte novel. To the family's surprise and delight two American brothers inherit the property next door and the relationships between the families lead to changing within the walls, first love and the discovery of self.
Like Cassandra, I wish I could find the right words to describe how much I enjoyed this book but I know that I will never be able to capture all of the emotions and feelings I had while reading it. Cassandra fills up three journals with funny, witty and poetic observations about her life and the people she knows and lives with. She is a wonderful and fascinating heroine and I enjoyed every word she wrote. At first I had some reservations about reading this book because it is written as journal entries but I after reading the book I feel that this gave me such a connection with Cassandra. She becomes a wonderful and endearing character and as I got to watch this period of her life along with her I begin to learn so much about her and ultimately myself. Her assent into first love is so touching, sweet and sad that I begin to fear for her feelings and wellbeing almost as if I was experiencing falling in love for the first time again myself.
At first, I found myself a bit disappointed with the ending because I wanted things to turn out well for her but looking back I realized what a wonderful ending to Cassandra's story it is. Be prepared, it is sad, but what Cassandra choses to do is so in tune with the woman she becomes I admire it and appreciate it more. It has been such a long time since I read a book that made me feel like a teenager again and affected all of my emotions. I know that I will be reading this book again many times in the future and it ranks up at the top of my list of my favorite books.