Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)'s Reviews > I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
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's review
Oct 04, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Read in August, 2011

Cassandra Mortmain spends her days in the castle recording her life in her journals. Content, yet poor. Her sister Rose is anything but content. She would make a deal with the devil if it meant a way out of this dreary life. Scrapping by on little to no food or money while suffering her exotic, and usually nude, stepmother, Topaz, while her father spends his time in his tower not writing a follow-up to his successful book Jacob Wrestling, Rose is desperate from some way out. Then the Cottons arrive one night. Not only do they own the local estate, Scoatney Hall, and therefore the castle, but they are young, single, American, fans of the girls father, and most importantly, a way out for Rose. At first it looks like Rose's desperation has scared the young men away, but soon Simon and Neil return.

After an embarrassing and amusing incident with some fur coats the girls have inherited from their aunt, Simon and Neil realize that they where wrong to judge Rose and Cassandra so quickly. Rose soon has the ring on her finger from the elder brother Neil, whom Cassandra ends up falling for on Midsummer's Eve while Rose is away in London buying her trousseau. Cassandra wallows in misery, convinced that Rose doesn't love Simon and that if they could only break their father's writers block then they would have money and Rose wouldn't have to prostitute herself. Using immersion therapy, Cassandra and her little brother go to extremes to get their father back. Even if they do get him writing, is it soon enough for Rose? And if Rose where out of the way, could Simon love Cassandra?

Cassandra is one charismatic narrator, as the cover proudly proclaims, thanks to J.K. Rowling. The way she sees her world and describes the day to day events makes you loath for it to ever end. The character of Miss Marcy, the local librarian and school teacher, says it best. She wonders what happens after. She sometimes spends nights awake wondering what came after "The End." This book more than most leaves me wondering the same thing. I don't just wonder, I want to know. I want to go into this world and live there. I want to live in the castle, preferably with enough food and a mattress without a wonky spring. I want to see the funny bathroom and stroll the battlements.

The plot, while it does exist, doesn't drive the book, the characters do. It's about capturing the lives of the people who reside in and around the castle. We are one with Cassandra as she comes of age and realizes what matters in life. How you can't always have your way or chose who you love. Life isn't nice and neat with a clear ending, but messy and romantic and cold and wet and wonderful all at once. And perfection really just might be a box of chocolates and a hot bath next to the fire.

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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Misty YES!

Elizabeth (Miss Eliza) I've had it on my TBR pile for years and I loved the movie and was in a very British mood this week :P

Misty Me too! I was in a very British mood, I mean. Watched Downton Abbey last night.
I love this book, AND it's one of the few times that I love the movie just as much.

Elizabeth (Miss Eliza) Though when David Bamber (aka Mr Collins from Pride and Prejudice) asks her to dance in the movie... ewwwww (and yes, I said that aloud while watching the movie surrounded by people).

There are so few that are both good books and movie. Princess Bride I think is the standard, so different, yet so wonderful.

Misty David Bamber will ALWAYS be Mr Collins. I say ewwww every time he comes on screen in anything.
I mean...

I picture THAT every time, no matter the movie.

Also, I'm still in a Brit mood. Watching North and South right now. ;)

Elizabeth (Miss Eliza) I love North & South. And yes, that IS the Mr Collins ewww moment in the extreme.

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