Book Recomendation

Our member Barbara M. attended a book talk by Adriana Trigiani, author of The Shoemaker's Wife, which I recommend reading. Barbara also passes along a book recommendation by Adriana: Review
Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain wants to become a writer. Trouble is, she's the daughter of a once-famous author with a severe case of writer's block. Her family--beautiful sister Rose, brooding father James, ethereal stepmother Topaz--is barely scraping by in a crumbling English castle they leased when times were good. Now there's very little furniture, hardly any food, and just a few pages of notebook paper left to write on. Bravely making the best of things, Cassandra gets hold of a journal and begins her literary apprenticeship by refusing to face the facts. She writes, "I have just remarked to Rose that our situation is really rather romantic, two girls in this strange and lonely house. She replied that she saw nothing romantic about being shut up in a crumbling ruin surrounded by a sea of mud."

Rose longs for suitors and new tea dresses while Cassandra scorns romance: "I know all about the facts of life. And I don't think much of them." But romantic isolation comes to an end both for the family and for Cassandra's heart when the wealthy, adventurous Cotton family takes over the nearby estate. Cassandra is a witty, pensive, observant heroine, just the right voice for chronicling the perilous cusp of adulthood. Some people have compared I Capture the Castle to the novels of Jane Austen, and it's just as well-plotted and witty. But the Mortmains are more bohemian--as much like the Addams Family as like any of Austen's characters. Dodie Smith, author of 101 Dalmations, wrote this novel in 1948. And though the story is set in the 1930s, it still feels fresh, and well deserves its reputation as a modern classic. --Maria Dolan


  1. Lori Pryor Pennington NJ29.5.12

    I just read your recommentation of the book " I capture the castle". There is a movie of this book which has been shown on cable tv for the past six months. It is hauntingly beautiful with a marvelous performance by Romola Gari, a young british actress who has become my favorite. The rest of the cast is also excellent. I may be in a minority but i think films like this are the best out there.  This story is complicated and so you can watch this film over and over and get some new perspective on the characters. I seem to remember sending this to Jane Austin Society but i did not recieve any acknowledgement. I hope this reaches someone because it is a movie worth seeing.   Lori Pryor Pennington NJ.

  2. Central NJ JASNA29.5.12

    While I was looking up the information I kept seeing the movie tie-in cover.  It sounds like a wonderful book and movie.  I, too, like a movie with a complicated plot, I like to re-watch them and it makes the movie or book so much more interesting.


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