I Capture the Castle

The once-prosperous Mortmain family hasn’t paid the lease on their crumbling castle home in years.  As her family struggles to get by without any reliable source of income, 17-year-old Cassandra scribbles furiously in her journal for hours in the barn attic. Her goal: to develop her skills as a writer by recording and “capturing the characters” of the people that surround her. In I CAPTURE THE CASTLE (MPS, $14.99),  Dodie Smith uses Cassandra’s journals to bring to life a group of loveable characters and tell the masterful and charming tale of the six months that changed the Mortmain’s lives forever.

When the rich and charismatic brothers Simon and Neil move in nearby, Cassandra’s older sister Rose immediately declares that she will marry one of them, and the wooing begins. What follows is a wonderfully complex romantic saga as Cassandra simultaneously supports her sister and struggles with her own first feelings of love. Moving from hilarious and absurd scenarios to tear-jerking confrontations between characters, Smith seamlessly weaves a story where love and duty clash and no one is quite sure how they feel.

While first love is a central part of the book, the relationships within the family are equally important in shaping Cassandra’s story. Cassandra’s father, after writing an outrageously successful novel many years before, stows away in his room reading mysteries and avoiding conversation. Cassandra works tirelessly with her siblings Rose and Thomas to try to change his ways, employing increasingly radical and amusing strategies. Meanwhile, the girls grow closer to their young stepmother Topaz, who just wants to be needed (although she also enjoys “communing with nature” on the castle grounds in nothing but a pair of boots).

I loved this book from the first page until the last. Cassandra is so likeable that I couldn’t help but root for her and the rest of the Mortmain family throughout the story. There are infinite reasons why this coming of age story is such a timeless classic. –Amy Kane
If you’ve read and loved I Capture the Castle, try A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper.

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~ by Dana on October 14, 2010.

One Response to “I Capture the Castle”

  1. yeah– i loved that book.

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