Chana's Reviews > I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
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The Mortmain family lives in a crumbling castle in the English countryside. They have a lease on the castle but don't pay rent because they can't afford to. They are very poor but are allowed to stay on anyway. The family consists of the father, who was a writer but has earned no income for years, 2 sisters Rose 19 and Cassandra 17, a younger brother Thomas, their oddball but sweet artist stepmother and a young and gorgeous, but humble servant Stephan. The book is written in the form of Cassandra's diary and she is very funny and observant in telling about her eccentric family and their unique family home. Into this picture come two American young men who have inherited the castle and manor house through their grandfather if I am remembering correctly. It isn't really important, what is important is that Simon is going to stay in England and he is the rich one, Neil is going to go back to California and own a ranch or something. Rose, discontented with her lot, sets her cap for Simon. Stephan loves Cassandra. Cassandra, well who do you think she loves? She flirts with the idea of loving each one of them. So there is all this drama around who loves who and is going to marry whom.
The book is reasonably entertaining, in a somewhat childlike way, until the last 100 pages or so, then it loses its witty edge and meanders through pages of descriptions of the English countryside, the agonies of being in love (or not as the case may be), and the possible comeback of Mr. Mortmain as an author. Then there is the ending. Hmmph. I don't want to spoil it, but I felt like I wasted my time reading this big build up for a fizzle of an ending.
Even so, the majority of the book is charming as Cassandra is a narrator to enjoy and laugh with.
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Quotes Chana Liked

Dodie Smith
“I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.”
Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle


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