“I Capture the Castle” by Dodie Smith | Book Review

Book Review | Rating – 2/5 stars | Genre – Classic Romance

I’ve had this book for a good few years now, having bought it as part of my english literature course at university. It is very safe to say that these are the sort of books I normally avoid. I’m not one for the classics and very much steer away from romance books. However, I thought I’d try and give this book a shot once more before I pack it up with other books I’m getting rid of.

This is the diary of Cassandra Mortmain, which tells of her extraordinary family and the crumbling castle home. All their lives will soon be transformed by the arrival of new neighbours from America, and Cassandra finds herself falling in love. (synopsis from Goodreads)

Initial Reaction…

It was hard at first to even begin this book with my initial feelings surfacing from time actually studying it. However, after getting past the last place I stopped reading (helped by the bookmark still being there), I found myself understanding the book more than I originally did. I will say though, that it wasn’t long before it felt like a slog trying to get through this book.

The issue with books like this is I never understand the motivations of the characters. I do enjoy a good romance story – but the classic books always seem to dwell so much on needing love in order to lead a fulfilling life. Don’t get me wrong, it was interesting seeing how Cassandra experiences love as it unfolds around her, but there was a sense of constant longing for love and someone to love her.

Favourite moments…

I won’t let this review be all doom and gloom, there were moments of the book that I enjoyed the book….

  • Cassandra’s Journey: outside of the general love story it was quite interesting reading Cassandra’s journey as she grows up more and understands her sister and the general feeling of love. There were moments of annoyance, where I couldn’t place how old she was actually meant to be, but she made for an interesting narrative voice.
  • Wonderful sense of place: probably my favourite part of the book; I enjoyed being able to visualise the castle – the description in the book was so detailed that it made me feel like I was stood outside looking at the castle.

In conclusion…

At the end of the day, I entirely understand why we were studing this book; it is a classic piece of literature that explores the simple act of love and cultures meeting, set in a very beautiful and intricate landscape. It was just so boring to read. It might just be that I’m the person this book was meant for, I am glad I gave it a go though.


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