I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle

4.4 105
by Dodie Smith
     
 

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Dodie Smith's first novel transcends the oft-stodgy definition of "a classic" by being as brightly witty and adventuresome as it was when published nearly fifty years ago.

Lovingly passed down from generation to generation and long unavailable in American stores, I Capture the Castle has become one of the most requested items of used book dealers. However,

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Overview

Dodie Smith's first novel transcends the oft-stodgy definition of "a classic" by being as brightly witty and adventuresome as it was when published nearly fifty years ago.

Lovingly passed down from generation to generation and long unavailable in American stores, I Capture the Castle has become one of the most requested items of used book dealers. However, in the author's native England, the novel has never been out of print.

I Capture the Castle tells the story of seventeen-year-old Cassandra and her family, who live in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle old English castle. Here she strives, over a six-month period, first in a sixpenny book, then in a shilling book, and, finally, in a splendid two-guinea book, to hone her writing skills. And it is within these pages that she candidly chronicles her encounters with the estate's new, young, and handsome American landlords, the effects of her sister Rose's marital ambitions, her writer's-blocked father's anguished and ultimately renewed creativity, and her own hopeless, first descent into love.

By the time she pens her final entry, she has "captured the castle"--and the heart of the reader--in one of literature's most enchanting entertainments.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Cassandra Mortmain captures the castle not with trebuchet or battering ram but with her pen. At a low point in the Mortmains' life in their castle, 17-year-old Cassandra begins a journal vividly describing her family's unusual life and her feelings about growing up. She explains how the family discovered their castle home back when they were wealthy and how their wealth and resources dwindled, forcing the Mortmains to sell off all their possessions of value. They become expert at making do with very little but are beginning to tire of the lack of food and other basics. As the journal begins, Cassandra's sister, Rose, half-jokingly invokes a spell to change their fortunes. Shortly afterward a series of events dramatically changes their lives. As in all good stories, there are ups and downs, disappointments and failures, along with the happy incidents. And as we know it will, the story ends on an optimistic note. The book, first published in 1948, was made into a play in 1954 and a movie in July 2003. This is the first novel of the author, born in 1896. She was one of the most successful female dramatists of her time. She is also author of 101 Dalmatians. I read this book last year and liked so much that I was happy to read every word again before I wrote this review. 2003 (orig. 1948), St. Martin's Press,
— Janet Crane Barley

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312201654
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
03/28/1999
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
106,024
Product dimensions:
5.42(w) x 8.21(h) x 0.94(d)

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