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Title: I Capture The Castle

Writer: Dodie Smith

Publisher: Virago Press Limited (2003)

Pages: 342 p

In my shelf since : July 2003

I have no idea why I let this book hanging in my shelf for so long without being read. I don’t even remember where I bought it. The pages became yellow and even my signature in the front page looked quite old. Thanks to Twenty Ten Challenge, I picked up this book to complete the TBR category.

And who knows? This book is really good! I mean, the book cover (which showed the movie version of the book) was not quite impressive. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I let this book un-read for quite some years. But after I read the first sentence : “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.” I couldn’t put it down!!! And it’s so unfortunate that I had to be back to work (after taking a long maternity leave), making this book hard to be finished.

Like A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, this book was also very heart-warming, memorable, and beautiful. The narrator is Cassandra Mortmain, a seventeen year-old girl lived in a ruined castle in England village. Her family consisted of her father James, a genius writer who had a serious case of writer’s block after his phenomenal first book; Topaz, her ex-model stepmother who was very fond of nature communion (a.k.a walking naked in the woods); Rose, the beautiful big sister who was longing for a rich-handsome prince that could save her from her poverty; Thomas, the schoolboy brother; and Stephen, who was not related with them but became the main source of income in the family (oh, and very devoted to Cassandra).

Together they lived in the ancient castle, surrounded by beautiful England nature, but without anything good to eat or wear. Cassandra, who liked to become a writer, wrote in her journal about their everyday lives, including the day when everything changed. The day when the Cottons brothers walked into their house.

Simon and Neil Cottons, two half-English brother, came to England from America to inherit Scoatney Hall, a big house located near the castle, and also became the Mortmains new landlord. And so the story begun, how Rose tried to get Simon to propose a marriage to her, how Cassandra found her true love, how the lessons of love affected the whole family. Which is the most important? Being in love, or being not poor?

As a reader, I fell in love with Cassandra. She’s an intelligent, funny girl who’d often been underestimated sometimes. She tried to “capture the castle” in her journal, in her beautifully written words. I could imagine just being her, stranded in a ruined castle in an English village, falling in love misserably with someone you could not have, without sounded too pathetic or sentimental.

Another great book (how lucky I am to read couple of great books in so short of time!). I’m not surprise this book became a modern classic now.

And 17 more books to go to complete the challenge.