Review: Dodie Smith’s “I Capture the Castle”

by writereaderly

Lent with high praise by MM, I hereby declare that her claims were not exaggerated. This was an excellent novel, absorbing, wry, beautifully written, and with a core that’s a lot more sophisticated than it looks. Cassandra lives in greater-than-genteel poverty in a mouldering castle with her family. The new owners arrive unexpectedly, romances ensure, dreams are woven and wither, hope prevails. Narrated entirely through Cassandra’s successive journals, the first half of the novel is a quirky but largely standard rags-to-riches romance. Once Midsummer’s come and gone, however, and love is being misplaced hither and thither, both Cassandra and her world become complex and nuanced and far from saccharine. I wasn’t altogether convinced by our heroine’s Great Love (one kiss did all that?!), but the scene with the wirelesses is wrenching and the multiple heartbreaks are all too messily plausible. Why does the most worthless individual always get what she wants? Great book. Read it.

Where it came from: MM’s Bookshelf
Time & manner of reading: One engrossed bed-read
Where it went to: Home
Reminds me of:
Who I’d recommend it to: Just about anyone: it’s light and passionate at the same time, a rare mix
Also reading: The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene; The Reivers by William Faulkner

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