I Capture the Castle
3 March 2014 2 Comments
Author: Dodie Smith
Summary: ‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink’ is the first line of a novel about love, sibling rivalry and a bohemian existence in a crumbling castle in the middle of nowhere. Cassandra Mortmain’s journal records her fadingly glamorous stepmother, Topaz, her beautiful, wistful older sister, Rose and the man to whom all three of them owe their isolation and poverty: Father.
Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3.5/5
Review: I didn’t know too much about this book before i read it. I can’t even remember how it ended up on my to-read list. I just knew it was about a family that lived in a run down old castle, and that sounded fun.
I love the writing. As the book is the journal of Cassandra, it was impossible to love the writing without loving her too. She’s smart and observant, and i just loved her voice. She is so kind and sees the good in everyone, i admire that because i certainly can’t do it myself!
Cassandra also makes some stunningly beautiful and meaningful comments, almost too casually. She says she wishes she could write poetry, but to me she already does.
What the book lacks is an interesting plot. I loved this family, i loved how close they were despite their troubles and poor financial situation. I love how they all pulled together to do what they could. I loved the mystery surrounding the father and the will he/won’t he, can he/can’t he regarding his writing career.
What i did not like was the love stories. He loves her, but she loves him, but he loves her sister, but she loves her brother… bah. Early on in the book Cassandra and Rose briefly discuss books, Rose favouring Jane Austen and Cassandra liking Charlotte Brontë. I wondered then what i’d let myself in for. Books whose focus is on the main female characters falling in love and being swept of her feet and… not my thing. Not my thing at all.
The writing, narrative voice and lots of the characters were truly wonderful. I just didn’t like what they were used for.
This is the second book i’ve read from my Classics Club list.