Reading for Writing and Loving

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To get back in the habit of writing after a long hiatus, I am reading Dodie Smith’s (of The Hundred and One Dalmatians fame) classic 1948 novel, I Capture the Castle (DB 47004).Cover for I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

The novel’s main character, Cassandra Mortmain—the teenage daughter of a flash-in-the-pan author—lives with her family in a ramshackle castle in England. She pursues a literary career of her own by recording her life experiences in her journal.

The book starts with Cassandra merely capturing the joys and woes of her daily life: hosting and attending dinner parties, swimming in the castle’s moat, drinking hot cocoa, and ends with the niceties of first-time love:

“Everything in the least connected with him has value for me; if someone even mentions his name it is like a little present to me—and I long to mention it myself, I start subjects leading up to it, and then feel myself going red,” she writes.

I Capture the Castle is a refreshingly earnest take on personal growth and relationships: One I’d especially recommend if you’re seeking a clean slate in the romance department!

I Capture the Castle
Dodie Smith
DB 47004
Aspiring author Cassandra Mortmain, seventeen, tells how she, her sister Rose—nearly twenty-one, their eccentric author-father, and their stepmother, Topaz, survive life in a crumbling fifteenth-century English castle.  When Simon and Neil Cotton inherit the estate, both Cassandra and Rose plot marriages, amid hilarious confusion. 1948.