I Capture the Castle
by Dodie Smith
Honestly, I had a hard time getting into this. I think the voice of the narrator just wasn't what I wanted to read/listen to when I started. The tone is more formal than I was expecting, which fits the time period and the culture fine, just not what I wanted to read, I think. So it took me a while to finally sink into this book. But once I did, I had a hard time putting it down. So often I was checking the back cover and the title pages to see if this was a real story or not, that's how believable it felt to me.
This is Cassandra's story, told with great attention to detail, character motivation, emotion, and appearance. She keeps a journal of her time living with her family in a castle and wants to "capture" every bit of it. She wants to be a writer and is using her journal as a way of trying to get better. While other writers would immediately jump to the big moments like marriage proposals, she practices techniques like suspense and themes. And by taking her time and describing things so beautifully, she gets us to care about everything that's going on, as well as her. The romantic dramas read a little Austen to me, but in a more emotional, personal way. There is drama, humor, tension, worry, romance, and even a father locked away in a tower writing word puzzles! By the end, I was definitely rooting for Cassandra to have everything she ever dreamed of. It was a joy to get to read about her.