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.