Book Club: July 2012 – I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith

Our third book club meeting saw us discussing the classic I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.

The blurb describes it as:

‘I write this sitting at the kitchen sink’ is the first line of this timeless, witty  and enchanting novel about growing up. Cassandra Mortmain lives with her bohemian and impoverished family in a crumbling castle in the middle of nowhere. Her journal records her life with her beautiful, bored sister, Rose, her fadingly glamorous stepmother, Topaz, her little brother Thomas and her eccentric novelist after who suffers from a financially crippling writer’s block. However, all there lives are turned upside down when the American heirs to the castle arrive and Cassandra finds herself falling in love for the first time.

The reviews were mixed for this book with some members not getting very far into it, whilst others had thoroughly relished it.

This made for some quite lively discussion about the characters and their purpose in the story.

Personally, I found the book quite difficult to get going, with it’s intricate detail and descriptions of the surroundings, but after the fur coat ‘incident’, which I thought was hilarious I really warmed to the book. A gentle and charming coming of age novel, which I think justly deserves it’s title of a classic. Cara – 4/5

Here’s what the other members thought.

A gentle captivating book with intense detail that brought the story of this eccentric family really alive. The humour is true to the narrative of the main character Cassandra, who grows on the journey of the book from a childish teenager to a maturing lady. Try it! Anne – 4.5/5

Well written – enjoyed it all! Mary – 5/5

I felt the first three quarters of the book was just an alternative version of Pride and Prejudice. However, the book picked up and found it’s own voice by the end. Kate – 3/5

I liked the book better once having discussed it at the group. Really hard to get into but glad I made myself read it! very well written, a lovely coming of age story. Deb – 3/5

I couldn’t get into this book. I found it overly descriptive, but with not much happening. I didn’t find the characters very likeable. I didn’t finish the book :0( Morven – 1/5

We discussed a number of potential books for the next meeting, taken from the Richard and Judy Summer reads collection. Hopefully offering a good summer read worthy of some great discussion in September.

We plumped for The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern described as:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. The black sign, painted in white letters that hangs upon the gates, reads: Opens at Nightfall Closes at Dawn. As the sun disappears beyond the horizon, all over the tents small lights begin to flicker, as though the entirety of the circus is covered in particularly bright fireflies. When the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears. Le Cirque des Reves The Circus of Dreams. Now the circus is open. Now you may enter.

Karen Cunningham - July 22, 2012 - 9:40 pm

Throughly enjoyed this read.

So glad I’ve been reading the books recommended by the book group. Definitely expanding on the type of books I’d normally head for.

Hoping the NW road network allows me to GET TO the next meeting!

K x

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