I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith

“This is the first time I have used the beautiful manuscript book Simon gave me–and the fountain pen which came from him yesterday. A scarlet pen and a blue and gold leather-bound book–what could be more inspiring? But I seemed to get on better with a stump of pencil and Stephen’s fat, shilling exercise book…I keep closing my eyes and basking–that is my body basks; my mind is restless. I go backwards and forwards, recapturing the past, wondering about the future–and, most unreasonable, I find myself longing for the past more than for the future. I remind myself of how often we were cold and hungry with barely a rag to our backs, and then I count the blessings that have descended on us; but I still seem to fancy the past most.”
I loved this book. I loved it for the simple voice of seventeen year old Cassandra who lives with her family in a damp English castle with the most positive outlook I have read in ages. I loved her naivety, her simplicity, her complete honesty in telling her story. A story which involves falling in love with her sister’s fiance while her sister remains emotionally immune to him…

(I Capture The Castle is listed both in the BBC’s Top 100 list and the Guardian’s list of 1000 Books You Must Read Before You Die. The link to the film can be found here.)

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27 thoughts on “I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith

  1. I'd come across this book in bookstores but had no idea what it's about. The excerpt you've chosen is so interesting that I'll definitely look for it. I haven't seen the film adaptation either. It came out a few years back, have you seen it?

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  2. It's been several years since I've read this book, but it's a big seller in our store, especially during the summer months. And I have to chime in, too, and say that that is a gorgeous cover! I love that dress and the cornflowers are beautiful. Interesting that it says Vintage Smith instead of Dodie Smith.

    Have you seen the film? As I recall, it was pretty good. Not great, but not terrible.

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  3. I have meant to read this book for many years. I think this is the best cover I've seen for it. I've not watched the movie either. Maybe this summer for both.

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  4. I can't help laughing. Whoever compiles a list of 1,000 books to read before I die must be pretty young. If I got started today, I'd have to read at least one a week before the Grim Reaper shows up. There'd be no time for living!

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  5. I need to make a point to read this this summer. it's been in my pile forever and i know it's one of those you-must-read-it books! I'm glad to hear you loved it!

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  6. I started reading Barnes' Sense of an ending last night, and this was one character's favorite book, which I haven't heard about until now. How the world is full of signs 🙂

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  7. Ally, I had to look up Sense of an Ending and see that it won the 2011 Man Booker Prize. Thanks for leaving me that title which now I'll have to read.

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  8. The more I read Barnes' books, the more I enjoy them. You should also read “Nothing to be frightened of”, it is an extraordinary book!

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  9. I really enjoyed this book, too. It's been quite a while since I read it but bits of it have stuck with me. Now . . . have you seen the movie? It's not as wonderful as the book but it's certainly interesting. 🙂

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  10. I love this book too! It's a comfort read for me now, and I enjoyed the movie as well. I loved the eccentricity of the characters, the setting, the feeling it evokes. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Fun fact – did you know that Smith also wrote 101 Dalmations?

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