Thursday, August 9, 2018

I Capture the Castle: Review

I Capture the Castle (1948) by Dodie Smith is really the diary of Cassandra Mortmain, a 17-year old girl in 1930s England. She fills three notebooks over the course of six months and tells us about her eccentric family life. The Mortmains live in a dilapidated English castle (with moat and everything!), barely any money, and barely enough food to continue living. They have come down in life quite a bit since Cassandra's father James Mortmain was the darling of the United States with his first novel Jacob Wrestling. James retreated with his family to the castle when writer's block plagues him. He hoped the atmospheric setting would inspire him. There's been no inspiration for years and Cassandra's sister Rose is desperate to escape their genteel poverty--but how's a girl trapped in a broken-down castle in the back of beyond supposed to meet eligible (rich) young men? No worries...enter the handsome,wealthy, and single young Americans Simon and Neil Cotton who have just inherited nearby Scoatney Hall.

Cassandra hones her writing skills as she describes life in the castle before and after the Cottons arrive. And she pours out her feelings as Rose determines to marry Simon (the elder--so therefore richer of the brothers), Simon falls hard for Rose, and Cassandra realizes that she loves Simon. There is a triangle or two in the romantic entanglements. We mustn't forget Stephen, the Mortmain's handyman-come only source of income, who loves Cassandra OR Neil who loves....well, that would be telling. Needless to say, most of these issues sort themselves out by the end of the novel--even James Mortmain's writer's block seems to be broken. The only real question at the end is whether Cassandra will wind up with the man she should. But that's left as a cliff-hanger....

This is a charming story about a quirky girl and her even more quirky family. It is good reading for those who enjoy Jane Austen and/or a clean and pleasant romance. A lovely portrait of England in the 1930s with a dose of humor mixed in. A definite time-travel to a simpler time that deals nicely with the issues facing the girls who are trying to sort out romance and more difficult life problems. ★★★★

[Finished 8/5/18]

3 comments:

Peggy Ann said...

I saw the movie years ago, Bev. It was very good. The book has been on my shelf for a long time. I’m looking forward to it.

Tarissa said...

Delightful review! I'm sure I'd love this by Dodie Smith.

Oh? And there's a movie too? I'll have to check that out too.

Tarissa
http://inthebookcase.blogspot.com

Clothes In Books said...

One of my favourite books of all time, I have read it many times...