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I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

I Capture the Castle

Part of the The Originals Series
NewGen - YA Fiction   Classics   eBook Favourites   
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In a nutshell: Iconic | Outspoken | Big Issues | Difficult Truths

A story about writing, this is also a wonderfully romantic story told by a young narrator trying to capture the unusual behaviour of her family and the life they lead in an unusual ruined castle as well as describing her own emotional turmoil. Cassandra is determined not to be pretentious as she tells the stories of her family and the story of her own desperate entanglement with the man who loves her sister. The result is a book that is delightfully entertaining and humorous. ~ Julia Eccleshare

It is one of The Originals from Penguin - iconic, outspoken, first. The Originals are the pioneers of fiction for young adults. From political awakening, war and unrequited love to addiction, teenage pregnancy and nuclear holocaust, The Originals confront big issues and articulate difficult truths. The collection includes: The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton, I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith, Postcards from No Man's Land - Aidan Chambers, After the First Death - Robert Cormier, Dear Nobody - Berlie Doherty, The Endless Steppe - Esther Hautzig, Buddy - Nigel Hinton, Across the Barricades - Joan Lingard, The Twelfth Day of July - Joan Lingard, No Turning Back - Beverley Naidoo, Z for Zachariah - Richard C. O'Brien, The Wave - Morton Rhue, The Red Pony - John Steinbeck, The Pearl - John Steinbeck, Stone Cold - Robert Swindells.

If you like Dodie Smith you might also like to read books by Meg Rosoff.


I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

I write this sitting in the kitchen sink is the memorable first line of this enchanting coming-of-age story, told in the form of Cassandra Mortmain's journal. Cassandra wittily describes life growing up in a crumbling castle, with her father who suffers from crippling writer's block, her glamorous but ineffectual step-mother and her vain but beloved sister Rose. When two visiting Americans arrive, all of their lives are turned upside down, and Cassandra experiences her first love.

This is a classic coming-of-age story, beloved of generations of teenage and adult readers, by Dodie Smith, who also wrote The Hundred and One Dalmatians.

About the Author

Dodie Smith was born in Manchester in 1896. Aged 17 she set off for London, determined to become an actress, but she struggled to find work, living off baked beans in freezing hostels. While working at the famous Heals department store, Dodie turned to writing plays instead, and her first was an overnight sensation - the newspapers excitedly declared 'Shopgirl Turns Playwright!'. During the war she moved to Hollywood with her husband, and it was there, spurned on by regret and homesickness for the English countryside she'd left behind, that Dodie began writing I Capture the Castle. When a friend gave Dodie a dalmatian puppy (presented in a hat box!) this began a life-long love of the spotty dogs. Dodie's well-loved novel 101 Dalmatians was inspired by her experiences of raising fifteen puppies. She lived in a ramshackle cottage with her husband and many other animals until her death in 1990, aged 94.

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Book Info

Publication date

4th August 2016


Dodie Smith

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Penguin Books Ltd


544 pages


NewGen - YA Fiction
eBook Favourites

Classic fiction (Children's / Teenage)



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