I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith

Capture castleOfficial blurb: Cassandra Mortmain lives with her bohemian and impoverished family in a crumbling castle in the middle of nowhere. Her journal records her life with her beautiful, bored sister, Rose, her fadingly glamorous stepmother, Topaz, her little brother Thomas and her eccentric novelist father who suffers from a financially crippling writer’s block. However, all their lives are turned upside down when the American heirs to the castle arrive and Cassandra finds herself falling in love for the first time.

One blog I follow (A Well Read Woman https://aprillwood.wordpress.com/) has a ‘Wayback Wednesday’ meme where someone reviews or blogs about a book that left a lasting impression. The idea appeals to me, so this is my wayback Wednesday offering.

I Capture The Castle is a classic Young Adult or coming-of-age novel from the 1940s. It has one of the most charismatic narrators ever. Told in the first person, it begins: I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. How could you not want to read on after that? The setting of the dilapidated castle is exquisite; the characters of the older sister Rose, the cantankerous father, the unworldly step-mother are all ‘captured’ beautifully. And then, into this eccentric but settled world arrive the two American brothers, heirs to the estate – and everything changes. The relationships evolve through the eyes of Cassandra who is at times knowing, at others innocent and at others completely mistaken.

This is a book to go back to time and again. You don’t even need to read all of it every time, it is so charmingly written that even a few pages can cheer you.

And finally, I have one memory associated with this book that makes me smile every time. A few years ago I recieved a text from my sister saying ‘Have we read I Capture The Castle?’ Have WE read? As though reading was some sort of communal activity. Which it kind of is – something you do on your own but together because so many other people have read/are reading/will read that same book. And yes, we have read it!

If you haven’t read I Capture The Castle I strongly encourage you to do so. And make sure you get your own copy, because you’ll want to read it time and again.

Gill-Marie Stewart

piranha stars blue 5

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6 Responses to I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith

  1. Hurray for I Capture the Castle!
    Hurray for Way Back Wednesday!
    And here’s my hymn of praise to ICTC just in case you’re not yet absolutely certain you need to read it (you do, really; if you haven’t read it yet I’m jealous of the treat that’s in store for you).


  2. Elm says:

    Oh I MUST read this! Wait – does it have a love triangle? It’s not important, but I’d just like to know.


  3. Have read it about half a dozen times – it never stales.


    • Definitely one of the joys of it is that it always seems so fresh. When I first read it I thought it was written contemporaneously to the period it was set, but it wasn’t. Perhaps that’s why it still works?


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