In this coming of age story, Dodie Smith introduces the visionary and eccentric character of seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain. The youngest daughter in a family of impoverished artists, it is her imagination and writing that takes us away from the ramshackle old English castle where they live, and towards an intriguing tale of husband-hunting and light-hearted sibling rivalry.
With the arrival of their new landlords, the impossibly handsome and wealthy American brothers, Neil and Simon Cotton, the Mortmains are roused from their stupor and moved to action. Despite developing feelings for the younger of the two brothers, Cassandra's beautiful sister, Rose, plots to marry the eldest heir in a desperate attempt to escape the poverty which surrounds her.
When Cassandra finds herself falling in love for the very first time with the same man as her sister, she explores her mixed emotions through her writing, making this a story which revels in irony and ambiguity.
A deceptively complex and intelligent story, I Capture the Castle is Smith's first published work and one which will undoubtedly and simultaneously make listeners tut, laugh and reminisce.
Jenny Agutter is a celebrated English stage, film and TV actress who was first brought to the attention of British audiences as a child, starring in East of Sudan and The Railway Children. She made her Hollywood debut in the critically acclaimed film Walkabout, in 1971, followed by Logan's Run, An American Werewolf in London and Child's Play 2.
Her TV career includes appearances on Spooks, Call the Midwife and The Man in the Iron Mask. Alongside this, Jenny is also considered one of the best classical actors of her generation and has performed with both the Royal Shakespeare Company and The National Theatre. She is an Emmy and BAFTA award winner and was awarded an OBE on the 2012 Queen's Birthday Honours List for charitable services.
Jenny's other Audible audiobook narrations include Jane Austen's Emma, Anne Brontë's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and E. Nesbit's The Railway Children.
"This book has one of the most charismatic narrators I've ever met." (J.K. Rowling)
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Amazon Customer on 05-07-06
Captivating story and narration. The essence of the period well captured. The characters well drawn and observed. While the first half was excellent , for me the second half got a bit mawkish but overall definitely recommmended
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Matthew on 16-12-13
Well, that was a surprise
Truth be told, I felt a little duped when I first started "I Capture The Castle". It had been recommended to me by one of those "You Might Like" algorithms, and I made the purchase impulsively (and uncharacteristically) with absolutely zero research. Almost instantly I realised “Capture” was unlike any other novel I'd read before, and I was baffled by the recommendation. I'm not drawn to novels in this genre, but all I can say is that I absolutely loved every moment inside Cassandra’s journal. I even feel a small sense of loss that I won't be spending any more time with the inhabitants of Scoatney Village, who feel so incredibly alive to me now.
I've subsequently done a little research on the book, and I can see it featuring on lists like "Classics All Young Girls Should Read" etc... This makes me a little embarrassed, as I'm a middle-aged man. I suppose I can understand some dismissing this as a “charming little girls book"—it is a tad heavy on young romance, first loves, stolen kisses, exciting marriage proposals (Dear God, I'm cringing as I write). But what a pity if they did pigeon-hole it that way; it has way more to offer. It is witty, thoughtful, clever and genuinely laugh-out-loud funny at times. And the characters are so deeply drawn, I guess I didn’t mind all the accompanying histrionics.
I should say that I did live in the UK for many years, so I know my nostalgia for the English countryside enhanced my enjoyment. My favourite quote: “It came to me that Hyde Park has never belonged to London - that it has always been , in spirit, a stretch of countryside; and that it links the Londons of all periods together most magically - by remaining forever unchanged at the heart of a ever-changing town.”
Loyal fans of the book have admired this audio version, and I totally support all praise for Jenny Agutter. This is a flawless narration and I can’t imagine a better way to enjoy this book.
Oh and—by the way—I think I’ve now realized why the algorithm recommended the book to me in the first place. I had “Cold Comfort Farm” listed as a favourite, and it’s only now that I’m starting to see the synchronicities between these two novels.
163 of 164 people found this review helpful
By Ilana on 12-08-12
A modern romance that doesn't fall into clichés
Seventeen year-old Cassandra Mortmaine keeps a journal in which she introduces us to her family, which has the privilege of living in a beautiful, albeit crumbling English castle. Her family are so poor none of them ever get enough to eat, they all wear tattered clothes and most of the furniture has long ago been sold off. Things haven't always been so dire, because once upon a time her father published a successful novel and they lived very comfortably, but many years have gone by since then and instead of working on a new project, he sits in his study obsessively reading mystery novels, insisting that he'll never write again. Their young stepmother Topaz makes a very meagre income as an artist's model, but that won't keep any of them fed and warm. Sister Rose is a rare beauty, and might have hopes of making a good marriage and pulling them all out of their misery, but of course there aren't any eligible men around, nor are there likely to be any in this small country town where nothing ever happens. Nothing happens that is, until one day two men show up at the door unannounced, wanting to take a tour of the castle. We know things are going to change drastically with this new arrival, and they do. But while Cassandra struggles with new feelings—the novel threatened at that point, to my great annoyance, to become a teenage angst-ridden paean to unrequited love—there were plenty of surprises in store so that by the end I was very sorry to lose such a likeable narrator. Though it was written in the 1940s, this is a very modern romance that doesn't fall into clichés. I absolutely loved Jenny Agutter's narration and will seek out other books read by her.
33 of 33 people found this review helpful