Do you know that feeling when you start reading a book and you immediately sense that you will absolutely love it, even though you don’t know the whole story yet, let alone the ending? It’s only March and I have already found my favourite book of 2015: ‘I Capture The Castle’ by Dodie Smith.
In this novel, the main protagonist Cassandra Mortmain records a few months of her life in her journals as a writing exercise. From these journals, we learn about her peculiar family who is living in a ramshackle (favourite word of 2015, btw) castle in the 1930s English countryside. One day, the arrival of two American gentlemen in the neighbourhood naturally disturbs the quiet and dull lives of the Mortmains and ultimately leads to both Cassandra and her sister falling in love. What sounds a bit like a reinvention of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is in a fact quite a different take on a similar story concept. Cassandra is younger and more wide-eyed than Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet. Also, her family is rather eccentric, allowing for lots of comical observations on Cassandras part. And, of course, the story heads in another direction… but no spoiling.
What I liked most about the book, was probably the storytelling in Cassandra’s lovely voice and language. She did a brilliant job at capturing the essence of her surroundings and her family, and – through her writing – also of her own adorable character: kind, funny and naïve (unconsciously, though, I think). I liked the credibility of the characters with all their quirks, the atmosphere created by seeing the castle and the people through Cassandras eyes, and the whole story in general. While reading, I might have hoped for a different ending, but eventually, I wouldn’t change a thing. The book is just perfect.
Only one question left: How did I just not know about this book until now…? It is probably one of the best books I have read so far. I wish I could forget about it and start reading it again. My recommendation: read it, if you haven’t already!