I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
I have a certain fascination with reading books that I read a long time ago but no longer remember at all. Cassandra Mortmain narrates for us through three journals. The Mortmains live in an old castle on a 40 year lease that they can no longer pay the rent on and they sell the furniture to eat. Her father once wrote a well acclaimed novel by the title of Jacob Wrestling, but he has been unproductive for years. Her mother having passed away he remarried the eccentric Topaz, artists’ model and the skilled manager of their confused home. Cassandra has an older sister Rose who is out of school like her and a younger brother Thomas still in school. The statuesque young man Stephen lives with them though his mother who was their cook died years ago. They struggle through but things change with the arrival of the Cottons from America who have inherited the position of landlord. Cassandra’s story does bring to mind Austen and Brontë but in a way she is both more real and fantastical at the same time. Cassandra is imperfect and bugged me sometimes but I realized it was always in a very human way that reminded me of myself. To say this is a love story is not right, but it is not really coming of age either. I might say it is simply a life story but when you look at the period of time… perhaps a family story is the best term for it though it has all those other things in it as well. This is what writing is about.