Throw back Thursday is a tag that originated from Book Talk – its a way to remind ourselves of our old favourites and this week I am excited to talk about Dodie Smith’s wonderful novel, I capture the Castle
For those of you who remember the 2003 film starring Bill Nighy, do you remember how utterly enchanting it was? The romanticised image of the English countryside and its ruined old castle? Well, its original novel is even more gorgeous.
I often band The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice and I Capture the Castle into the same sort of category. They’re both set after the war and share the same captivating prose that makes England seem like somewhere out of a fairytale. However, this is somewhat darker than the The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets; it emphasises the financial pressure’s dumped on families following the war and depicts some darker, seedier characters that you are just begging to be cast away somewhere.
This novel is told through a diary-keeper called Cassandra, who is ever critical of her family; her gorgeous older sister, her introverted father, her annoying little brother and her naked step-mother. As ever, with most teenage girls of this period, she dreams of marrying a rich, older gentleman and wants nothing more than to be swept off her feet.
As luck might have it, two American’s stumble in on her whilst she is having a bath, and thus entails a love triangle that involves parties, record players and sibling rivalry. Again, this is not chic-lit, I promise. Perhaps it would be in a modern setting, but Dodie Smith’s luscious descriptions of the English countryside and the depiction of the aftermath of war makes this a truly worth while read. I’ve read it about three times, and I am certain I will pick it up again when I need to escape from the bustle of city-life. *sigh*