My Kyrosmagica Review of I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith

 

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Through six turbulent months of 1934, 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain keeps a journal, filling three notebooks with sharply funny yet poignant entries about her home, a ruined Suffolk castle, and her eccentric and penniless family. By the time the last diary shuts, there have been great changes in the Mortmain household, not the least of which is that Cassandra is deeply, hopelessly, in love.

My review:

This is a very charming coming of age story,  expressed via the journal entries of the young would be writer Cassandra Mortmain. The opening sentences introduce the reader to the eccentric and quirky tone of the novel beautifully:

I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining board, which I have padded with our dog’s blanket and the tea-cosy. 

Cassandra’s family is about as bohemian as it gets. After an unfortunate incident her father, an author, has spent time in prison. Now  released he wishes to distance himself from any further alterations with neighbours by living in relative solitude in a castle.  He is now experiencing what appears to be a protracted case of writer’s block. Even his wife Topaz,  (the children’s step mother) can’t inspire him with her ministrations, and naked jaunts communing with nature. With no income to sustain them, the family has no choice but to welcome any help they can get. At first, this comes in the form of the late housekeeper’s son Stephen,  who happily hands over his wages, poor lad, as he is hopelessly in love with Cassandra. The arrival of two young eligible American bachelors, Simon and Neil offers hope to the family if only Cassandra’s elder sister Rose could perhaps convince the eldest brother Simon to marry her. Rose is desperate to escape poverty so is almost willing to do anything to change their material fortunes.

The close of I Capture The Castle doesn’t promise a happier ever after, or a neat and tidy ending which may disappoint some readers who expected this to be  a romantic novel with the lovers walking off into the sunset hand in hand. This is perhaps partly due to the fact that this is a coming of age story and the romance contained within is experienced through the eyes of a very young girl. Young girls do get their hearts broken and suffer disappointments. Love can and does get complicated, and this is particularly true when we are still at an age when we are vulnerable and inexperienced. I Capture The Castle explores the resulting entanglements and jealousy beautifully. So, in my opinion, the ending is all the more poignant as it does suggest a more realistic and believable outcome.

Highly recommended for readers that appreciate character driven novels, and those who enjoy Young Adult Fiction, (with the young adult taking centre stage,) Historical Romance, and Classics.

My rating: A very enjoyable 4 stars.

Have you read I Capture The Castle?  Do let me know in the comments below if you have.

Bye for now,

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About Marje @ Kyrosmagica

Hi. Welcome to my blog, Kyrosmagica. A blog about magic, books, writing, laughter, and much more! I'm a debut writer in the process of finishing my first YA fantasy novel, set in Cambridge. I write book reviews on Net Galley and Goodreads. I have a penchant for travel and have relatives in far flung places, Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore, (my birthplace.) I grew up in in Bonnie Scotland, in Edinburgh, and now live in Cambridge. I love sunny, hot places, particularly Rome, Venice, Portugal, Barcelona, and I forgot to mention the sun drenched beaches of the Caribbean, how could I? I am lucky to have been blessed with two lovely daughters and a husband who I fondly refer to in this blog as my black sheep. Family joke! With my passion for travel, culture, beautiful beaches, good food, books, theatre, writing, and humour, I hope to keep you entertained. I'm loving every minute of this creative journey, please join me.
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12 Responses to My Kyrosmagica Review of I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith

  1. Annika Perry says:

    This is a lovely and interesting review of a book I’ve often heard of but no idea what it was about – thank you for sharing. I do enjoy journal-style and character driven books so will bookmark this!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. greercn says:

    I remember loving this, when I read it and she also wrote The 101 Dalmatians. Thank you for reminding me of how different and compelling her writing is.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for reminding me I’ve never read this, despite having given a copy to one of my daughters and for it to be still around somewhere. Must get round to it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Helen Jones says:

    I have read this – I loved it, thought it was a great coming of age story, as you say. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Aquileana says:

    Great review…. So well penned, Marje 💛🌟 Also, I liked the fact that you have included the opening sentences, as they often say a lot about the upcoming reading. Wishing you an excellent weekend 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: My Kyrosmagica Reviews N – Z | K Y R O S M A G I C A

  7. I read this as a teenager and loved it – I’ve often thought I should revisit it sometime 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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