Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Book Review: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Pages: 343
Published: 1943
Received: Library, Own
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

*sigh* I've had this book on my TBR for so long, and during that time I've had my expectations bar set all over the place. I don't think I really had a clear idea what type of book this even was for the longest while. At first I was expecting more modern (a quick glance at the publication date set me straight, eventually), then I thought more Austen-Keeping-the-Castle feel (it's not, though KtC definitely pays homage to ICtC), at some point I think I had a vibe of American Gatsby-ish something (closer, though still wrong country), until finally settling on reality, which is a coming of age story set in 1930s England.

Whew. Ok. So even after starting the book it took me until about halfway through to finally realize what I was getting and wasn't going to get. And, that's where my dissatisfaction comes in. It's a very nice story. I like the characters a lot. I love the setting (crumbly old castle!). But, I wanted something to happen and it didn't and while I get it, I'm still not happy about it. I know, very vague.

I also feel so old saying this, but the teenage melodramatics and hyper-hormonal puppy love was not really my thing. I liked Cassandra a lot in the first half of the book when she was all sweet, and then she went full on teenager and it was kind of painful to read about. It sucks being a teenager and while Dodie Smith totally captured that feeling perfectly, it's not really a comfortable feeling or one I'm really aching to revisit.

There were also some not quite kosher romantic things going on surrounding the adults and teenagers in the story and none of that sat very well with me.

Well, that makes it sound like I didn't enjoy this book very much at all, which isn't the case. It's beautifully, vividly written and I was completely transported into the story. The sister's romance was much more up my alley and I wish we had more of an insider's look into that part of the story. The scene with the bear was very funny and I'll likely not forget many of the scenes (I started listing them and then realized I was listing more than half the book). I also have to mention that castle again because I adore it. While everything didn't go exactly as I wanted it to go, I appreciate this book very much and I'm happy to have finally read it.


  1. I remember liking this one but it wasn't a "OMG everyone has to read this book". I didn't know what to expect really just a coworker telling me she really enjoyed it and highly recommended it. We share similar tastes so I figured "why not?" Are you planning on watching the movie?

  2. I enjoyed this book, so I'm glad you still found things to like despite having some problems with it. It's been a few years since I read it but the bear scene has stayed in my mind!

  3. I feel like maybe I read this one when I was a kid, and either DNFed it or didn't like it very much? I can't remember, lol. I'm pretty sure I saw the movie, though, and wasn't a huge fan. Sounds from your review like maybe it's not worth me trying the novel again!


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