#18: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

This was first published in 1948.  Apparently it never went out of print in Britian, but America was all “Go away and come back years later.”  USA!  USA!

The book is the journal of 17 year old Cassandra.  She and her family live in a castle.  That’s not as great as it sounds since they have no money, have sold nearly everything they own, and haven’t paid rent in quite some time.

Cassandra’s older sister is determined to marry into money and leave poverty behind.  Rose is 21 and is ready for her new life as a rich wife.  It’s not that she’s a terrible person; she just realizes that the only thing for her to do is capture herself a rich man and never look back.  She has no time to dwell on love.  She wants money and she wants out.  She hopes to marry well enough to pay for Cassandra to go to school, so again, she’s not evil, she’s just practical.  She’d be a fan of Jane Austin.

Enter the Cottons.  They own the land but are kind enough to let the family stay in the castle.   Simon is set to inherit and Rose is set to marry him.   Neil is the younger brother and doesn’t trust Rose at all.  I wonder why?

Things proceed nicely with anticipated bumps and vexations and then there’s a sweet twist at the end, followed by a wonderful decision by Cassandra.  I was really pleased with her at that moment.

I wasn’t crazy about this book.  Cassandra reminded me a bit of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne Shirley.  The book is written as her journal so she starts off breathless, letting the reader know that she has so much to tell and needs to get caught up on everything that has happened.  I liked this structure a lot because as I’d get into the story there would be little asides about how her cat was sitting on her lap making it difficult for her to write.  I think if it had been a straight third person narrative I wouldn’t have enjoyed it and I might not have finished it.

This would be a good read for someone who has finished Anne of Green Gables and is looking for something similar.  Three out of five stars from me.

 

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One response to “#18: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

  1. Pingback: pyrajane’s #18, #19, #20 | Cannonball Read III

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