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I Capture the Castle
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I Capture the Castle

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  89,829 ratings  ·  9,030 reviews
Through six turbulent months of 1934, 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain keeps a journal, filling three notebooks with sharply funny yet poignant entries about her home, a ruined Suffolk castle, and her eccentric and penniless family. By the time the last diary shuts, there have been great changes in the Mortmain household, not the least of which is that Cassandra is deeply, h ...more
Hardcover, 408 pages
Published March 31st 1998 by Wyatt Book (first published 1948)
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Ra Da It's a sharp reuse of Austenian conventions in a 20th century context, reusing the marriage plot to question the opportunities for women in society, b…moreIt's a sharp reuse of Austenian conventions in a 20th century context, reusing the marriage plot to question the opportunities for women in society, but in a personable, relatable, funny way. The big questions about life, relationships, love, death, work... I could go on. I first read it as a teenager, but whenever I go back to it I find something new. This is a masterpiece.(less)
Amy Although the book itself takes place throughout an entire year, it gives me a distinct feeling of early spring. I think it's the constant mentioning o…moreAlthough the book itself takes place throughout an entire year, it gives me a distinct feeling of early spring. I think it's the constant mentioning of mist and new beginnings that does it.(less)

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Paul Bryant
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels
My name is Cassandra Mortmain, I know it sounds made up but it’s true. I’m 17 and bright as a button and never been kissed because it’s the 1930s. My family are effortlessly bohemian, we all live in a crumbling castle – oh yes, quite literally! – and we have no money at all and we have only barely heard of the twentieth century. How poor we are since father stopped earning any money. He used to be a genius but now he does crosswords. We eat the occasional potato and scrape plaster off the walls ...more
Maggie Stiefvater
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, recommended
What a generous caretaker of a novel.

If I say that this novel didn't require me to do any work, it sounds like a vague insult, as if I'm saying that the story or the characters were slight, and that's not at all what I mean. I mean that the novel, both through format (a very self-aware narrator's journal) and authorial intent (with a firm eye on the sort of story-telling pedigree that brought her there), anticipated my readerly needs and desires with such swiftness that I felt agreeably anticipa
Jul 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jane Austen fans
This is going to be the shortest review I've written on this site in a while. The reason I'm going to keep it short is because no description could possibly do justice to this quintessentially English coming-of-age story which ranks among the most pleasant surprises I've had, book-wise. A summary would make it sound slight, trite and predictable, all of which it is, and would not reflect the fact that it's also funny as hell, charismatic, deliciously eccentric, Austenesque and so utterly charmin ...more
Mar 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That's right. I really liked it. And I'm not ashamed to admit it. Now, would you please excuse me while I go read Hemingway and then kill something with my bare hands. ...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
4+ stars. Recommended if you like historical coming-of-age fiction.

I had never heard of I Capture the Castle until a friend gave it an extremely strong recommendation. Dodie Smith is the author of The 101 Dalmatians (the original basis for the Disney movie, and the only reason I was familiar with her name), which I read many years ago and really enjoyed.

This 1948 novel is about an intelligent 17 year old girl, Cassandra Mortmain, who lives in semi-genteel but crushing poverty in mid-1930s Engla
The first half of this was like Jane Austen herself descended from the heavens (godlike) and delivered me, personally, a gift.

The second half of this is like Jane Austen removed the mask and revealed she was just Some Romance Writer - not to be confused with a good romance writer, of which there are many - and then she also punched me in the stomach.

In other words, I suffered unimaginably.

Everyone goes ON and ON about this protagonist, Cassandra. “She is the most charming creature in the history
mark monday
Apr 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to mark by: Mariel
 photo tumblr_o1yfadHSjy1srk253o1_1280_zpsv5mn38ip.jpg

Dear I Capture the Castle,

What to say, what to say? Hard to put down all the feelings. To put it simply: you did everything right. The characterization like flowers slowly blooming. The story like seasons changing, invisibly but inevitably. The romance made both heartfelt and utterly, often infuriatingly real. The details, oh the details! I was put right into this world and right into Cassandra's head. And the charm! You are such a charming book - so amusing and so sweet-tempered yet with a
Sep 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
With many of my favorite books I can still remember the person who put a copy in my hands. Matilda was given to me for my 8th birthday by my stepdad, the title Pride and Prejudice scribbled on a piece of paper and handed to me by my young (must've been straight out of college) 7th grade English teacher-- she gave me the paper and sent me to the library to find it, and I still remember sitting in that classroom taking in the opening page with grand delight ....

I hadn't ever heard of I Capture the
Oct 14, 2008 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
This novel was darn near perfect.

Cassandra & her family inhabit a castle in conditions of extreme poverty. Cassandra captures both her family's character & their eccentric life style beautifully in her journals (a very rare example of a diary narration working) . Different styles & depths of love are explored. I will never be persuaded that Cassandra's father is a likeable (or even admirable) character, but genius is often uncomfortable to be around.

A chance to enter a long vanished world that s
April (Aprilius Maximus)
I was expecting to absolutely adore this and am so sad that I hated it :( This was honestly just SO boring and unnecessarily long and I didn't care for any of the characters. Their father was abusive and horrible and nobody seemed to care and they were all so superficial! All they cared about was money and status and Cassandra was so horrible to everyone! Poor Stephen omg. Also, the ending SUCKED, so there's that. ...more
Melissa Rudder
Feb 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Melissa by: J.K. Rowling, kind of
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Meredith Holley
It is difficult for me to say why I found I Capture the Castle so personally meaningful, which may mean that I will be falling all over myself in this review. When I first started reading I was bored and feared that the poverty of the characters would become dirty and depressing for its own sake, as in Angela's Ashes. Instead, it's more like a lovely BBC movie where people are always chewing with their mouth open, but somehow it is only charming. At first I resisted liking anything about it, inc ...more
Helene Jeppesen
Nov 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm glad I finished my reading year of 2014 with this book because this was amazing!
Cassandra starts out as the sweetest child who conducts a diary which she writes through speed-writing. I found this very entertaining because we get to be inside a 17-year-old girl's mind and see things from her perspective. Cassandra is quite naïve, but she is also so adorable that you can't help but fall in love with her. The same goes for her family and Stephen who was my favourite character.
I LOVED the fir
Joey Woolfardis
Read as part of The Infinite Variety Reading Challenge, based on the BBC's Big Read Poll of 2003.

Why is summer mist romantic and autumn mist just sad?

I had high hopes for I Capture the Castle. Not being a Modern Classics person but loving Cold Comfort Farm I had the view that it would be fairly similar. It was fairly similar, but nowhere near as good: in fact, I'd say it was the same thing but written by a three-year-old like some kind of early Public School attempt at a pastiche.

The story i
I Capture the Castle was a disappointment. The blurb had lead me to believe that I was going to experience the pleasures of living in a beautiful castle, steeped in history, with a charming story weaving in perfectly with that castle, lead by our narrator, Cassandra. Unfortunately, that isn't what I experienced. There was a lot I didn't enjoy about this book, but I'll start with the positive.

The cover is gorgeous. It looks pretty good in my bookcase, but after reading it, I'm not sure whether it
Cora Tea Party Princess
Aug 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life.

It was recommended to me by the librarian at school and at first I was a bit apprehensive. I was a timid reader when I was thirteen, I'd rarely read anything other than Harry Potter. But this book, from the very first page, gripped me in a way that no other book ever has done. I sat with the book on my lap under the table in every lesson at school, I passed on watching the television when I got home, instead rushing to my room to curl up on my couch and continue reading
Umut Rados
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very charming book that I’m very glad I read at last. It’s written in diary format by Cassandra, our main character. I loved the atmosphere, the setting. The descriptions of the castle is just so perfect and enchanting.
I loved the characters. The book nust takes you with it and I felt I was completely immersed in that world rather than mine.
My only criticism for the book is its size. I think it was a bit too long, but I loved it anyway :)
Nandakishore Mridula
"Ah, but you are the insidious type-Jane Eyre with a touch of Becky Sharp. A thoroughly dangerous girl..."

So says the vicar about Cassandra Mortmain, the semi-precocious narrator of this novel - and one has to accept that he has put his finger on the nub. Rem acu tetigisti, as Jeeves would say.

Cassandra is the younger daughter of the once-famous novelist James Mortmain, and as the novel opens, we find her sitting on the draining board of the kitchen sink with her feet actually in the sink, writi
Jun 20, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
Young Adult Fiction. Seventeen-year-old Cassandra begins a journal in an attempt to perfectly capture her family and the run-down castle they live in. This book wasn't at all what I expected. I'm reading it for the first time as an adult, and maybe I would have felt differently about it as a kid, but now I just found it sort of upsetting, and not in a cathartic way.

It's got a playful tone, yet is almost relentlessly dreary outside the narrative itself; possibly because Cassandra is too young to

I Capture the Castle really delivered. Events happen over the course of a whirlwind six months, and the story has surprising sweep for such a small time frame. Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain details everything that happens to her poverty-stricken family, ironically housed in a castle--ramshackle, dark, and barely furnished. I Capture the Castle is an age-old story of first romantic love, sisterly love, and family drama, but that doesn’t set it apart; the atmospheric castl
Nidhi Singh
I don’t really want to write anymore, I just want to lie here and think. But there is something I want to capture. It has to do with the feeling I had when I watched the Cottons coming down the lane, the queer separate feeling. I like seeing people when they can’t see me. I have often looked at our family through lighted windows and they seem quite different, a bit the way rooms seen in looking glasses do. I can’t get the feelings into words-it slipped away when I tried to capture it

As she s
Vacation reading continues.

The story is so charming! I especially like how the main character, Cassandra, appreciated food because of her poverty. Favorites:

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

-But I did like the restaurant; most of the people eating there were unusually ugly, but the food was splendid. We had.... We were gloriously bloat.

-...ham with mustard is a meal of glory.

There was a formal dinner party where Cassan
Aug 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my all time favourites. You can watch my full recommendation here - ...more
Feb 06, 2009 rated it liked it
The descriptions of the castle and the voice were great; I thought I had outgrown this sort of coming-of-age story centered around a wide-eyed, precocious young girl. For some reason I especially liked reading about their meals, both before and after the Cottons came along to provide them with better food. What is jellied soup, anyway? There was also a cutely Pollyannaesque tone to the cheerful way Cassandra would casually make note of all the things they lacked and had sold off, and her appreci ...more
Dec 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Remember all the mockery, hating and questioning of my sexuality that accompanied me starting to read this book? No? Just look at all the comments down below -- and note all the work I had to do defending myself. It was really quite painful. So painful, in fact, that it took me something like a year or longer to actually finish the blasted book. (To be clear, I did read lots of other books in the meantime.) So, was it worth all the heartache I was subjected to on GoodReads?

Well, "I Capture the C
Jul 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone, particularly those with a touch of anglo or gotho-philia.
Was it a bit "consciously" naive? Perhaps. Did I care? No, I did not. Even the character who spoke those words soon preferred to take them back in favor of the fascinated love he felt towards the beauty of the Mortmains of Godsend Castle. I smiled upon my first acquaintaince with Miss Cassandra Mortmain, laughed upon further conversation, and felt as if I were there clasping hands with her in the shadows of her crumbling castle near all the way through. The book is an invocation of Gothic passio ...more
Alexis Hall
Another of my “books about large homes, metaphorical or literal” (see also The Blue Palace) comfort reads.

What can I say about this book, other than it’s delightful and wonderful and perfect, and needs to be read if it not a thing you have already read (and, frankly, if it is a thing you have already read, needs to be read again, and read often).

It’s a melancholy, whimsical book about love and pain and growing up. Arch without ever seem insincere.

The heroine—and narrator—lives in a crumbling cas
Nov 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dreamers and realists
Recommended to Mariel by: a great amazon reviewer
I Capture the Castle is one of my favorite books for making everything out of every event until it is all absolutely important. I capture it all and it is going to last forever. It's not a lonely voyeur book but a loving one, like those collections of stories and images and songs we store up to shield against the blackest stuff (or at least a rope to hold onto).
I bought 'Castle' in 2002 after reading a review on amazon that said it was a "dark flip side" of Elizabeth Bowen's The Death of the Hea
Jan 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bechdel-pass
3.5 stars

Cassandra is mostly wisely honest with herself as well as being generous spirited and loving, and the combination makes for pleasant reading. There is a feast of interesting details, though the castle makes me feel cold, and some nicely sketched characters - the vicar got some good lines, and Thomas the younger brother delighted me at every appearance, reminding me of my own lil bro. I wish Leda Fox-Cotton weren't so mistreated. It's necessary to see right through Cassandra's prejudice,
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Born Dorothy Gladys Smith in Lancashire, England, Dodie Smith was raised in Manchester (her memoir is titled A Childhood in Manchester). She was just an infant when her father died, and she grew up fatherless until age 14, when her mother remarried and the family moved to London. There she studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and tried for a career as an actress, but with little success. ...more

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