I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

#86 in my book challenge for the year was I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, who is better known as the author of 101 Dalmations. This book was lent me by my friend Becca, who says she read it when young and re-reads it regularly. I was sad when I finished the book that it’s taken me so long to read it for the first time. I envy Becca her long history with it, because it’s a sweet, restorative book. It is narrated by Cassandra Mortmain, the daughter of a one-shot-wonder author father. Their family rents a crumbling castle in not-very-genteel poverty. Their lives and fortunes change when the castle is left to a wealthy American. The book is by turns amusing and sad, and Cassandra’s coming of age is both believable and inevitable. I was surprised by how satisfying I found the ending. As the book led up to it, I couldn’t see how the author was going to pull it off, but she did. This is a wonderful book, short of some cliches along class and country issues, and especially good if you’re feeling in need of something cheering.

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