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I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle

Book - 1998
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A novel of an eccentric and impoverished English family whose home is a ruined 14th century castle. The story is presented in the form of a diary by the family's teen daughter
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Griffin, [1998], ©1948
ISBN: 9780312201654
Characteristics: 343 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm


From Library Staff

Seventeen-year-old Cassandra and her family, with whom she lives in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle old English castle, strives to hone her writing skills with sharply funny entries about the changes that take place within the castle's walls and her own first love.

From the critics

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May 14, 2021

You know those odd movies that you happen across one Saturday and keep watching, and then are completely mesmerized by? This is that. It’s like jumping into another place and time, a weird one, like the opposite of a predictable, middle class 1960’s sitcom kind of life, but oddly kind of similar. There’s just an abundance of many assumed social rules, ways of behaving, and should and shouldn’t do’s like an old sitcom, but the funny part for me at least is that the rules and norms are all in the protagonist’s head (and the head of her sister, who is extreme in her idea of reality).

Look at this book like a view of a very different world, an unsettling world where people are not healthy mentally (or are they?), not holding regular jobs, not following any sort of structured life, not dependable nor responsible, creative in getting without working for things they need. And cross that world with rich relatives and heirs to castles and people who know the social rules and pass down animal fur coats to their heirs and there’s a lot going on.

And it’s all quite adorable, if outdated in a sitcom kind of way. I loved it feeling like I was in another country, encountering people who responded like no one I’ve ever met, and getting in situations nobody rational would put themselves in. And in the end, the girl who wants the boy gets the right boy, the girl who doesn’t want any of the boys stays true to herself, and the weirdos and beautiful but crazy people work their talent into opportunities. So much fun!

Jan 27, 2021

D/l audio

minor_cat Jan 13, 2021

A book I reread as often as I reread Jane Austen, and with such a similar way of observing women in the world. Delightful.

takeclare Jan 09, 2021

A vivid, funny, melancholic and thoughtful portrait of a family in early-twentieth century England. Narrated via the diary entries of Cassandra Mortmain, her's is the voice that enchants this novel - her wry, thoughtful, intelligent and amusing perspectives on the vagaries of fate faced by her family are enduringly compelling. A joy to read, I Capture the Castle is a poignant exploration of a young woman learning to observe herself, and the world she inhabits.

Aug 02, 2020

A.J. Fikry and Used Books in India

Jun 27, 2020

The first of the pandemic list novels that was a dud.

Jun 02, 2020

This book was so highly praised that I kept reading way beyond when I would normally give up and give it away. In fact, I actually finished it because I was sure it would be getting better in just a page or two and all those 5 and 4 star reviewers couldn't be wrong. This is a book that you either love or you don't like it at all. I gave it 2 stars instead of 1 star because "it was OK." But i wouldn't recommend it.

Mar 15, 2020

À charming story of an eccentric family living in extreme poverty in a run down castle. The arrival of 2 brothers from the USA changes life for their family. Jane Austen fans will like this. Several interesting characters have strong story lines with unexpected twists and turns. A lovely light read.

Nov 01, 2019

View life in a crumbling castle through the eyes of 17-year-old Cassandra. She is writing in her journal to improve her writing skills. Meanwhile her family goes through some drastic changes after meeting the Americans who move in next door. This classic tale brings to mind Pride & Prejudice, but also has a early 20th century feel to it with automobiles and gramophones. At times heartwarming and at others heartbreaking. You can't read this book without falling in love with our dauntless narrator.

DBRL_KrisA Aug 17, 2019

First published in 1948, but the book is written in such good, plain, non-affected English that I assumed it to have been written just a few years ago. Enjoyable characters - Mortmain, Topaz, Leda Fox-Cotton, the Vicar. Reference is made in the book to Jane Austen, and this is so very much a Jane Austen type book, with added elements of Downton Abbey, and a little Agatha Christie - not the mystery part, but just the small-English-village part.

Thing I learned after reading this book: Dodie Smith was the author of, among other things, the children's story that Disney's 101 Dalmatians is based on.

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SPL_STARR Jun 16, 2015

"I write this sitting in the kitchen sink."


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