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'When I read I Capture the Castle it immediately became one of my favourite novels of all time, and I was very annoyed that nobody had told me about it before' J.K Rowling
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Published: 02 August 2012
Genre: Classic fiction (Children s/YA)
'I write this sitting in the kitchen sink...' This is the diary of Cassandra Mortmain, which tells of her extraordinary family and their crumbling castle home. Cassandra's father was once a famous writer, but now he mainly reads detective novels while his family slide into genteel poverty. Her sister Rose is bored and beautiful, and desperate to marry riches. Their step-mother Topaz has habit of striding through the countryside wearing only her wellington boots. But all their lives will be soon be transformed by the arrival of new neighbours from America, and Cassandra finds herself falling in love...BACKSTORY: Get to know Dodie Smith, and be inspired to keep your own diary!
I know of few novels that inspire as much fierce lifelong affection in their readers
There are many good reasons to read Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle: it provides excellent advice about dressing on a budget (dye all your clothes sea-green); how to cope when the man you love falls for your elder sister (keep a diary) and your stepmother dances naked in the rain (ditto). Given that most teenagers believe their parents to be mad - and vice versa - the novel also serves as a helpful guide to recognising the fine line between eccentricity and outright insanity
This rite of passage story about a precocious teenager and her eccentric family is romantic, off-beat and totally magical
This book has one of the most charismatic narrators I've ever met
J. K. Rowling
A book for anyone who is young, poor, fed up and yearning for something exciting to happen
Everyone I've passed it on to has found it a hit - it works every time, for absolutely everybody
The appeal of the book is that of a time of innocence . . . When a girl of 17 could still be all but untouched by sexuality. At the same time it captures the pangs of growing up and unrequited first love.
Smith rivals Nancy Mitford's Love in a Cold Climate series for 1930s toff charm
Katy Guest, The Independent
Unputdownable and loved by teenagers and adults everywhere.
A book for everyone who is young, poor, fed up and yearning for something exciting to happen
A deliciously evocative portrait of England
Tasmina Perry, Daily Mail
This book has one of the most charismatic narrators I've ever met
J K Rowling,
Dreamy and funny...an odd, shimmering timelessness clings to its pages. A thousand and one cheers for its reissue. A +
So what makes these different to any other set of classics? In a moment of inspiration Random House had the bright idea of actually asking Key stage 2 children what extra ingredients they could add to make children want to read. And does it work? Well, put it this way...my 13-year-old daughter announced that she had to read a book over the summer holiday and, without any prompting, spotted The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas...and proceeded to read it! Now, if you knew my 13-year-old daughter, you would realise that this is quite remarkable. She reads texts, blogs and tags by the thousand - but this is the first book she has read since going to high school, so all hail Vintage Classics!
National Association for the Teaching of English
How could you not fall in love with a book that begins ‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink’? Rose and Cassandra Mortmain are sisters living in a run-down castle with their eccentric father and bohemian stepmother. When an American family with two unmarried brothers move nearby, Cassandra begins to write about their life in her journal. Nurtured on a regime of Bronte and Austen novels, Cassandra is an enchanting heroine whose forays into first-love will steal your heart. First published in 1948, this is a delicious, charming, comfort read that has inspired lifelong attachment in anyone I’ve ever pressed it on.
A brilliant narrative story that you will remember well for long; very engaging!
I have loved this book from early childhood when I was first read this, the book focuses on the main character Cassandra Mortmain who lives with her family in a crumbling castle in the middle of nowhere. Her father had at one time published a famous book, they seem to live off the royalities of the book, and he is currently trying to write another best-seller.Her sister Rose shares a bedroom with Cassandra and the book focuses on the family's efforts to live on very little money, and what ideas that they have to ensure that more money comes into the family. Her sister Rose, who in the book is portrayed as beautiful and the archetypal older sister style, slightly bossy also, wishes that they had money for tea gowns, and at times wishes this more than the food that they have to eat.Her stepmother Topaz is famous for her naked moonlight romps and she has a brother Thomas, who leaves early in the morning for school and comes home in the evening on the bus, Cassandra seems to spend her time writing her diary in her ha'penny notebooks, and she has a swain, Steven who gives her poetry, which he claims is composed by himself but turns out to be copied from other poetry such as Dunne.I love this book, just for the simplicity of the opening line: 'I write this sitting at the kitchen sink'. I have gone through three paperback copies of this book, mostly obtained second hand, and I have given this book as a present to several girls of around the same age as Cassandra, but it is their mothers who have picked up the book, as a result of reading it in their own childhood.
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Dorothy Gladys 'Dodie' Smith was born in 1896 in Lancashire and she was one of the most successful female dramatists of her generation. Her first novel, I Capture the Castle, was written when she lived ...