29 October 2013

I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith - Reading Review

Sweet nostalgia combined with adventures, family fiascos and the coming-of-age told in such a lovely tone of discovery. I Capture The Castle is told as a few months of journals by Cassandra, a 'consciously naive' seventeen year-old trying to capture the essence of her family. 


This tells the story of Cassandra, her sister Rose, Father and Stepmother Topaz. They live in a castle, but it's far from glamorous - they can barely afford to eat as their author Father can't get past writer's block and artists model stepmother Topaz can't leave her husband to pursue work in London. We enter the affray at the arrival of a new Landlord. But what will happen to them?

"I shouldn't think even millionaires could eat anything nicer than new bread and real butter and honey for tea."


I'm not even going to attempt to review this, me who doesn't know a thing bar what she likes, but the book is thoroughly charming. It's life how you imagine rural England to be; swimming in moats, dancing around Midsummer fires and the odd escapade to the bright lights of swinging London. The introduction explains the detail to which the author edited through the book, and her eye for details shines out - in the characters, the descriptions and happenings. You almost feel as if you are Cassandra and are able to step back and analyse the goings on.

Sometime you pick up a book without expectation, and find yourself irresistibly drawn in. If, in the last few days, you saw a brunette girl with glasses and a far away expression on her face, drifting around London with this book clutched in her hand, the odds are it was me. I couldn't put it down. Escalators, tube platforms, coffee shop waiting areas. All me - at one point I even opted to go without an umbrella to fit my book in my bag, crazy I know.
I Capture The Castle very much reminded me of the Secret Garden, innocent adventures into an adult world, but a world vastly different from our own. A world of slow romance, ruffles and gramophones; where "Ham with mustard is a meal of glory" and it's possible to lock your Father in your castle dungeon. I loved the characters, including the splendiferous and beautiful Topaz, the cunning Rose and especially the twinkling eyed Vicar with an eye for mischief.

Kit, thank you for your recommendation - it was softly glorious classic which I heartily recommend for the romantics in your life. It will catch them unawares as well, I can almost guarantee it.
(Please note any links to Amazon are through my Amazon Associates account, which means I make a little money (less than 5%) from any purchases made after clicking through these links and it adds nothing to the price of your book. This helps support my book addiction, so if you are interested in buying the book, please click through the top link)

Twitter | Google+ | Facebook | Bloglovin' | Email

7 comments :

  1. O this sounds like a book to put on my to read list!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do it! (If you lived closer you could borrow mine!)

      Delete
  2. How funny that you should post this! I've just been writing about a trip to the Cevennes where we stayed in a Castle - and I used the title of 'I capture the castle' as my post title. I remember the book so well from my teenage days - partly envy because who doesn't want to live in a castle and partly empathy because we lived in a massive house we couldn't afford to heat somewhere quite remote from my friends and school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great minds think alike and all that... :D
      I would love to live in a castle. One day!! Did you find it frustrating?

      Delete
  3. You're the second blogger in as many days to recommend this book so it's definitely going on my to-read list :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for the shoutout! Love love love this book so much, and it's absolutely top of my list for book suggestions. In fact, I've just bought it as a going away present for a friend who is moving to Canada- I want her to have some English eccentrics to keep her company :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the recommendation! Hehehe, that's awesome.

      Delete

So, what do you think? Comments are blogging mana; short, sweet, long, loquacious, deep and meaningful...