I Capture the Castle: Dodie Smith

When it comes to books I try never give up! My mum has always taught me that you can never know if you do not like things until you have tried them ten times. Now this was supposed to relate to foods when I was a child (I still do not like blueberries, custard or jelly despite trying them ten times,) However I now also try to relate this rule to books! Unfortunately, there are still books that I cannot get into after all this time! I wonder how long I’m supposed to struggle through before I finally surrender and abandon ship. Or the disappointing feeling when I get to the end and I don’t feel that satisfied glow of the end of a story This is unfortunately how I felt when I read I Capture the Castle.

Now I feel that there could be potentially a number of howls of HOW did you not LOVE this book! I have read so many reviews that want to yell from the rooftops about its brilliance! It is the story of Cassandra Mortmain who lives with her bohemian and impoverished family in a crumbling castle in the middle of nowhere. Her journal records her life with her beautiful, bored sister, Rose, her fadingly glamorous stepmother, Topaz, her little brother Thomas and her eccentric novelist father who suffers from a financially crippling writer’s block. However, all their lives are turned upside down when the American heirs to the castle arrive and Cassandra finds herself falling in love for the first time.

Although I found this book extremely hard at times there were points in the book that I did really enjoy as a reader. Firstly the way that the book is told in first person and by writing the book in diary form it allows a personal review and reflection from the main character, which allows the reader to connect. As a reader, I found Cassandra difficult to relate to, as I didn’t find her convincing enough to create a link with but the diary format helped this. I also liked the way that the book had a number of twists and turns that I was not expecting along the way which is refreshing and it sets it apart from other young adult reads.

When I read the blurb of this book, I thought that this was definitely a book for me due to its picturesque and beautiful feel. However, as I moved through the book, it didn’t capture or connect with my imagination no matter how I often I kept dipping into it. The problem for me was that I thought that Cassandra’s character was too naïve and overall lacked conviction. I think this is due to the young age of the character meaning she has not experienced or had known the world and this for me left me wanting more from the character as a whole. The writing due to the book being in this form is concise and easy to read. There are no frantically beautiful descriptions however I found that this brought the book down as it lacked realism and emotion for me as a reader. I feel that this could potentially need another read as I may have missed the potential that it has to really move the reader and therefore I need to get stuck in and give this another go. Overall I thought the book was enjoyable but it left me wanting more emotion, definition and feeling to really cause me to fall in love with this book as a whole. Image

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8 thoughts on “I Capture the Castle: Dodie Smith

    • littlebookblog says:

      it’s really odd isn’t it! I heard rave reviews and then when I actually read it I really didn’t get it! Which books have you had it with? (: xx

      • Erica Dakin says:

        A couple of books that were review requests… I stopped Immortal Eclipse by Sherry Soule midway through because it was boring me to tears, but it has an overall 4-star rating on Goodreads. Reassigned by Tanjlisa Marie I did finish, but I was rolling my eyes throughout and the ending was completely ludicrous. Again, average rating of 3.81. Ah well, at least others enjoyed them I suppose.

  1. secretly-broken says:

    I had similar feelings about this book when I read it a couple of years ago. I can’t remember much about it now (which isn’t a very good sign) but I do remember not being particularly fond of it.

    • littlebookblog says:

      haha its not a particularly good sign! I think that there is definitely a split in the people that like this book! For me it just didn’t capture my attention enough :/

  2. sherry_soule says:

    I strongly feel that our individual backgrounds will impact our enjoyment of each book. Reading is subjective, and books are like ice cream—there’s a flavor for everyone. And I think reading and the reaction you get from a book is a personal experience, which is sometimes based on life experience and even your own likes and dislikes.

    Reading and reviewing is subjective, and books are like ice cream—there’s a flavor for everyone. 😀

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