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I Capture The Castle
by Dodie Smith

Author: Dodie Smith

Cassandra Mortmain lives with her eccentric family in an old castle overlooking the serene Suffolk countryside, a notion which at first seems wildly romantic. However, within the pages of her journal, Cassandra captures the harsher realities behind the crumbling walls, and the events that befall her and her family.

Her father James (despite having proven himself capable of literary genius by writing an influential novel some years past) shuts himself in his study reading detective stories while the others struggle in picturesque poverty. Supporting themselves on the depleted dregs of income from James' novel - and the sale of their remaining furniture - means all hopes rest upon Rose, Cassandra's beautiful yet bitter elder sister, with the hope that she will somehow marry a wealthy gentleman.

The Mortmains seem suspended in impoverished isolation, but with the arrival of a pair of rich Americans, Cassandra's life is swept into a tempest of excitement, change and first love.

Although this book was first published in 1949, it is vivid and alive; Dodie Smith manages to convey a range of emotion with depth, whilst keeping the tone funny and fresh. This is the perfect summer read, and the charismatic Cassandra will stay with you long after you put the book down.

Robyn King (15)