Review of I Capture the Castle – Dodi Smith

The WI-Flyers Book Club met up at The Prince of Wales again on Wednesday 20thFebruary, this time to talk about I Capture the Castle by Dodi Smith (of 101 Dalmatians fame).

This was a book every one of us enjoyed – it is the charming story, set in the 1930s, of innocent teenage Cassandra and her eccentric, impoverished family, who live in a decaying ruin of a castle.  

This excellent novel has it all – it’s a love story, a coming of age novel, a period piece – and beneath the surface simplicity, infinite guile flows.

We talked about all the characters:

Cassandra’s father James Mortmain – an author suffering from writer’s block, unable to write anything since he published an obscure masterpiece many years ago.

His wife, Topaz – a bohemian free spirit who adores him, and floats around in tattered tea gowns (but also loves to walk around naked in the rain).

Cassandra’s older sister, Rose – desperate to escape her life of genteel poverty so she goes on a husband hunt.

Her younger brother, Thomas; the rich American brothers who turn up; their Fabulously wealthy mother, Stephen the handsome handyman, who is in love with Cassandra.

And not forgetting Heloise the dog and Abelard the cat (who can give “a look as though he had never seen either of us in his life before” – what a fabulous description!).

This funny, heart-warming book was a joy to read, with not a word superfluous, wanting, or out of place.  If you want a recommendation for a good book – this is definitely it!