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], c1948
ISBN: 9780312181109
0312181108
9780312201654
0312201656
Branch Call Number: TEEN F SMI
Characteristics: 343 p. : ill. ; 21 cm
Alternative Title: Capture the castle

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IndyPL_SteveB May 21, 2019

A wonderful novel with a charming narrator. One of those fascinating surprises that you run into; I am most pleased because I’ve never read anything else like it.

In 1932, 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain’s family lives in a house built on the side of a partially collapsed English castle. Her father was once a famous author but hasn’t written anything in years and now has no income. The family is in near desperate poverty, only making ends meet with the help of a live-in teen handyman that they took in when his mother died. Cassandra’s beautiful older sister Rose is desperate to marry someone and escape the castle’s poverty; so when Simon, the young man who has inherited the manor house of the family which owns the castle, shows up to see the property, Rose and Cassandra plot to get Simon to marry Rose.

The most remarkable thing about the book is watching this entire story through the eyes of Cassandra as she writes it all in her journal. The telling lets us see into the thoughts of a real person, as she firmly makes statements on life, then sees that they are naïve, then proceeds to upgrade her statements into slightly more mature – but equally wrong-headed – philosophical declarations. The writing is lyrical and enthusiastic and emotional; but always super descriptive, so you really know the people around her and the locations in which they live. The title is not about war; it is her attempt to “capture” the life and appearance of the castle *in words* in her journal.

j
jeffreyochsner
Apr 14, 2019

I heard that this book would appeal to fans of Downton Abbey, so I decided to give it a try. This book is written in the first person from the perspective of teenaged Cassandra, who keeps a journal. As the book opens, Cassandra and her rather eccentric family are living in poverty in a decaying castle rented from the owner of the nearby estate. The estate owner has died recently, and the estate is inherited by a fairly distant young American relative who never expected to inherit, but the relatives with priority all died (yes, that did remind me of Downton Abbey). The new owner and his family (including mother and brother) come to see their new estate. There are various story lines involving romance and some intrigue.

I Capture the Castle was originally published in 1948. I thought this book started a bit slowly, but I stuck with it, and I did enjoy it.

a
angievigilante
Mar 19, 2019

I adore this book. I think about it all the time. This book is magic and I never wanted it to end. It's about an eccentric family that is educated and cultured but also completely free spirited. The point of view is a young woman who loves to journal. It's brilliant and touching, and it outlines class/poverty struggles and a glimpse of what women's issues were going on during that era (1930's England). American and British culture is also explored and documented in a fascinating way.

SPPL_Kristen Mar 21, 2018

Cassandra was such an important character to my teen self in ways I couldn't possibly articulate in such a small comment box. But I'm so excited that this book has endured for so many years and so many other young girls can feel the same connection.

b
brangwinn
Oct 24, 2017

As I started reading I saw similarities to Cold Comfort Farm. There’s no mad woman in the attic, but there is a father, a famous author, who has no idea what his three children are doing. There’s no income, the kids seem to be the adults while the famous author hides in his castle room. But then the new owner of the estate from whom the castle is rented comes from America, bringing romance to the teen-aged daughters. It’s an entertaining story, with opportunities for plenty of chuckles.

s
SusannahWhite
Aug 26, 2017

Lovely lovely lovely book. Intelligent, touching, and perceptive, with one of literature's most amusing narrators and narratives--most understandably a classic.

k
kwsmith
Apr 30, 2017

This wonderful classic coming-of-age romance novel centers around two young sisters and three attractive young men. The two English sisters are living with their poor family in a crumbling old castle when a pair of rich American brothers arrive on the scene. This is a delightful romantic comedy brimming with sly British humor and deliberately silly characters. In many ways, Dodie's writing style echoes of Jane Austen's distinctive influence.

ArapahoeKati Dec 29, 2016

I adore this novel, so much so that I read it almost every year. Cassandra is the inner young woman in all of us with many of the same insecurities and dreams for the future. It's a story you won't soon forget. You'll be charmed!

r
rationallady
Nov 30, 2015

It reminded me of Jane Austen's books. The style of writing about young love in 1948 and the early 1800's is quite similar. Now I'll watch the movie based on the book.

c
cbyer
Sep 27, 2015

I read this for the first time when I was 12. I still remember quite clearly how I loved it. Have re-read since and still think it charming. Charming is the best word for this book.

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SPL_STARR Jun 16, 2015

"I write this sitting in the kitchen sink."

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