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Belle's Book Club 2014: 2/52 - I Capture the Castle...

Hey everyone
Next up in my Belle's Book Club 2014 series I'm sharing - I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

I Capture the Castle
Synopsis (via Goodreads

This is the diary of Cassandra Mortmain, which tells of her extraordinary family and their crumbling castle home. Cassandra's father was once a famous writer, but now he mainly reads detective novels while his family slide into genteel poverty. Her sister Rose is bored and beautiful, and desperate to marry riches. Their step-mother Topaz has habit of striding through the countryside wearing only her wellington boots. But all their lives will be soon be transformed by the arrival of new neighbours from America, and Cassandra finds herself falling in love...

My Thoughts

I picked this book up on a random trip to the book store because I liked the sound of the blurb - not going to lie, when I actually opened the book and started reading I was really surprised to find that the story was set in the 1930s (I really think that the blurb should have made this more clear, but then again it might have put me off reading it so I'm kinda glad they didn't!) which made for an interesting read because I've not read a period novel for a while!

Anyway, this book was really quite long - I'm talking 566 pages - but luckily it is split into three different periods of time which sort of helps. Not much admittedly it's still really long. Despite the length, I really did find myself drawn into the plot and didn't have to force myself to carry on reading at any point - in fact I couldn't read through most of it fast enough - I was desperate to find out what was going to happen!

As for the characters - Cassandra, the protagonist, was just so like able and real - I wouldn't say that I could really relate to her but I did enjoy reading about her and her experiences (the book is her diary by the way) - I loved watching her fall in love for the first time and how she dealt with the trials of that (but I did get annoyed by how badly she dealt with most of them!). I also really liked her father - yes he was very odd and eccentric but I liked him, I thought he was really quite sweet. Her sister Rose was the most funny character for me - her idea that she could eventually fall in love with the man she married for money was just so gritty and really surprising to come from this sweet romantic character. Predictably it was Stephen who stole my heart (without fail I always fall for the underdog!) - his pursuit and obvious care for Cassandra was just so adorable and I was gutted when she kept brushing him aside. 

The major plot twist of Cassandra falling in love with someone she shouldn't (I don't want to spoil it here) I found infuriating! I desperately wanted them to get together (and usually I don't approve of characters being with people who they're not meant to be with) throughout the majority of the book but when they could finally be together they wouldn't be! So irritating!

I'll admit that I when I'd finished the book I was left feeling really dissatisfied (and I hate feeling that about a book I've spent hours reading!) - the ending was just so inconclusive and there was no real outcome, good nor bad, it just sort of ended pathetically. That sounds harsh but what I mean is that it the ending didn't feel like a proper ending. Because of my dissatisfaction and frankly my annoyance at having spent hours reading all 566 pages to get no real ending I looked up some of the reviews on {goodreads} and to be honest they helped me to change my opinion of the whole book.

Reading the novel I found it to be engaging and mostly enjoyable up until the end and that sort of marred my opinion of the whole book. The reviews helped me to really look back at the novel as a whole and that really helped me to appreciate the amazing ability of the author to have let me watch the journey of a young girl becoming a woman and experiencing her first love, first heartbreak and watching her navigate the complications that come with love. I realised that when I started the book Cassandra was just a little girl with little experience of the world of love, I was able to watch her discover love and romance and try to understand it all, I finished the book with her as a young woman, jaded by her first heartbreak. That is what makes this book incredible - the fact that you have to read it and sort of look at it in an analytical way to fully appreciate it. That is why it's a classic.

Overall, I think this book was really good read - albeit one that I wouldn't reach for again in a hurry but one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I loved the analytical aspect of enjoying his novel - it made me put my English essay writing hat on for a bit! - and how it really made me think in order for me to understand its brilliance. I would highly recommend this book if you wanted an easy classic to read for fun that will make you think - it isn't as easy to understand or as superficial as chick lit is (no disrespect to chick lit, I love a good bit of chick lit!) - the meaning is hidden deeper but that's it's beauty.

Would you read this book? 

I hope you're enjoying this new Book Club feature on my blog - let me know what you think of it! If you fancy writing your own book review post and joining in on Belle's Book Club 2014 then here's the button and pretty please link up using the widget below so that I can go check your post out!

 It'd absolutely make my day! 

P.S. I use {Goodreads} to keep a record of books that I've read and books that I want to read so if you want to keep up with what I'm reading you can follow me {here}!