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Book Reviews
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I Capture The Castle
by Dodie Smith

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I Capture The Castle is a wonderful coming of age story. The events over the course of half a year fall into place almost like a Jane Austen novel. The story is written from the point of view of the protagonist, 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain, as she captures her life in a journal. Cassandra lives with her family in an old castle. The father, James Mortmain, once successfully published a novel, but since fell into a seemingly eternal spell of writer's block, thus drying up any source of income for the family. The impetus comes with the arrival of two American bachelors. (See what I mean about the story being Austen-esque?) While the book can hardly be described as thrilling, I found that I was almost never bored. I was fascinated by Cassandra and her family's unique circumstances in life. The events sometimes ended up being on the silly side, but in a way, believable. Cassandra was charming and viewed the world through a romantic lens. The writing was enjoyable. Cassandra's journal entries were aware, witty, and captured the details and moments of her life very well. The dialogue throughout the novel felt natural. The characters were unique, whether you liked them or not. Over the course of the novel, we watch as Cassandra grows from a "consciously naive" child to a young lady. She experiences first love, loneliness, heartbreak, and happiness. I love a book riddled with bittersweetness. At the end of the book, she's able to reflect on her writing and be content that she adequately captured the castle and those that lived in it. (If interested, check out the BBC Radio Drama adaptation of the story. Available on the Kentucky Overdrive Library!)


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