I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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This book was excellent. I read it for our Relief Society book club. It isn't a book I think I would have picked up normally since I hadn't heard of the author (she wrote 101 Dalmatians, didn't even know it was a book) and hadn't really heard of the book, either.
I went to Borders to look at it since the library copies were all checked out. I opened it up to the first page and read the very first line. Then I bought it. I couldn't help myself; the first line grabbed me and I wanted more. It is rare that I pick up a book that grabs me with the very first line. Usually it is somewhere in the first paragraph, page, or at the end of the first chapter.
The format of the book, though it isn't obvious, is journal entries by a young woman, Cassandra, about 16 or 17 years old. I don't think she ever stated directly how old she is. Her father is a writer, but has been unable to write anything since his first big success and now she, her father, brother, sister, step-mother, and family friend are living in an old dilapidated castle, waiting and wishing for life to happen and save them (preferably in the form of her father writing again or a convenient and rich marriage). When life does come at them, Cassandra records it as honestly and openly as a person can in their own journal.
The story is funny, interesting, and kept me captivated. As a narrator, Cassandra is perhaps one of the best and most reliable.
If I could, I would rate it 4.5.