I Capture The Castle – Dodie Smith

I capture the castle

Image used for review purposes only. Source.

A family of eccentric, but poor, English people live in a castle. Their only hope of financial redemption is for the father, a once great author struck with writer’s block, to pump out a new book. Meanwhile, his youngest daughter spends her time writing her diary. Into this heady mix of intrigue and suspense wanders two Americans, armed only with a beard and an insufferable sense of smugness. This summer, who will Capture The Castle?

I didn’t like this book. The characters were too cutesy-wootsy for my taste, the sort of self-indulgent eccentrics that just annoys me. The father was the least likeable. I mean, the man threatened his wife with a knife and then everyone just laughed it off.

The stakes were virtually non-existent. I guess the most important plot line was the older sister cracking on to one of the Americans, so she could get some money marriage-wise. Most of the time characters were just wondering around the castle and thinking things like ‘Oh I wish I had some more money but isn’t the English countryside so pretty!’

So yeah, I wouldn’t recommend this book.


What can I say? The fastest way for any character to lose my sympathy is domestic violence.

There was a nice atmospheric bit where the sisters tried to summon a pagan spirit, I think Pan. It was so well-written that it was wasted as a bit of whimsy.

The moral of this book is that British tweeness will only get you so far in life.


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