And our January Book of the Month is...I CAPTURE THE CASTLE by Dodie Smith (discussion Tuesday 27 January)

(94 Posts)

We'll be chatting about our Book of the Month, Dodie Smith's much-loved classic I CAPTURE THE CASTLE, on Tuesday 27 January from 8-10pm.

Don't forget you can order your copy here

Keen to know how the votes turned out? Have a snoop at the results here

And, for anyone who missed them first time round, here were January's book choices

tunacan Tue 27-Jan-09 11:54:21

I read it for the first time aged 43 and couldn't put it down! The perfect gift for my 13 year-old niece.

kingprawnjalfrezi Tue 27-Jan-09 18:03:05

Aaaahhh! About 3/4 way through it and don't know whether I'll get to the end by tomorrow. I might put kids to bed now and get reading. Hopefully see you tomorrow. hmm

kingprawnjalfrezi Tue 27-Jan-09 18:05:36

Oh no - just realised its tonight - well that's that then. My baby brain is getting worse. I'll start reading Feb's choice now and I might be in with a chance. Have a nice evening!! sad

kingprawn, join us anyway, we don't mind if you haven't finished (but we might give away the ending...)

Just getting the wine out, back at 8..

kingprawnjalfrezi Tue 27-Jan-09 19:54:54

Thanks, but I don't think I will. I'm enjoying it and I hate knowing the ending before I get there. I'll look forward to reading your discussion in a day or two, and will definitely try and make Feb's - just ordered my copy. I used to whizz through books before I had children, now it seems to take weeks.

Well, speaking of the ending, here is the big question: will Simon come back and marry Cassandra? Or was this just Cassandra's first crush?

Its rather good not to have a classic happy ending but it does leave you longing for a sequel...

Psychobabble Tue 27-Jan-09 20:10:41

doesn't Cassandra say somewhere in the book that she likes a novel that doesn't have a neat ending that leaves you wondering?

I rather hope she is getting on with her life, not just sitting around waiting for a useless man to turn up grin

marimba Tue 27-Jan-09 20:12:38

My first thought was no, Cassandra turns his offer of going to America with him down, knowing she'd always be the second choice. I think this is the "coming of age" bit & finally shows she may have acquired some emotional maturity to go with her intellectual. But, he's always going to be around, so maybe, many years later when they've both had lots more life experiences & found other options wanting

I loved the surprise ending as I was certain Cassandra and Simon would get together. Although it's nice to think they would, I'm glad they didn't because throughout the book I felt the women were very dependent on the men to change their lives for them. For Cassandra to decide she wasn't going to be with Simon signified her taking control of her life. I loved this book BTW and it def needs a sequel!

CarrieMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 27-Jan-09 20:13:44

Sorry Tilly was getting worried you'd got locked in the wine cellar grin? Just to say I absolutely loved this. It's a long time since I've devoured a book with such an appetite, I really enjoyed the style and wanted to know what happened in the end - rather a simple observation I know, but it reminded me what I liked about a book. Thought it was fantastically atmospheric - and now want to see the movie to see what they made of the castle.

On Simon /cassandra I of course believe that he will come back and marry her and they'll love happily ever after (because they do seem to be a better match, but perhaps that's because you see the relationship through her eyes) but I always want a happy ending so if there's a remote chance I take it smile

hello everyone!
Although I liked the book, I have to say I hope Simon and Cassandra don't get married, cos I didn't like Simon at all!

CarrieMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 27-Jan-09 20:18:22

Oh dear just read comments about film and think might give it a miss.

CarrieMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 27-Jan-09 20:19:21

Actually I'd probably be happier if she could fall in love with Stephen and go to Hollywood and become a script writer for the movies... well that'd be my sequel anyway

Psychobabble Tue 27-Jan-09 20:19:44

agree, loved the book, but didn't really like Simon. I loved the poverty aspect of it, the fact that simple items such as a notebook were really treasured, that they had to use the end of candles or couldn't write because there was no paper. And the green linen dress that was so special. Reminded me of Ballet Shoes.

marimba Tue 27-Jan-09 20:21:07

The more I think about it, I definitely don't want Cassandra to marry Simon, but to leave Suffolk, have many more experiences and maybe when she's much older, find her soul mate.

tunacan Tue 27-Jan-09 20:23:17

What I loved about this book was the fact that I could picture all the characters and I felt quite emotionally attached to them. I loved Topaz. She reminded me of my art teacher at school. grin

I agree, the atmosphere is the best part of the book. I think I read somewhere that Dodie wrote it when she was in America and desperately homesick - it has that sort of passionate attention to detail and a melancholic beauty ( I think Simon says that the best bits of England are melancholic, like castles, mist and twilight.)

I don't think the film managed to capture that - and not sure they captured Cassandra's voice either. Her tone is so observant, thrilled and excited yet very sharp. Just when it sounds like she might go OTT she puts in a very funny comment (like when her pity for Rose turns into a desire to kick her very hard).

I think Simon is a bit straight for her. Not sure I can think of the type of man who could match her.

marimba Tue 27-Jan-09 20:31:49

What do people think about Rose? Gold digger? silly romantic girl? victim of circumstance? I find it hard to decide, perhaps that's as Cassandra knows so little about her thoughts.

Psychobabble Tue 27-Jan-09 20:34:41

I didn't think she was a gold digger. I think mostly it was silliness, and they fact that they seemed to have been very isolated and so she just didn't know how to relate to people, or how it should feel when you were in love with somebody, hence her mistake with Simon. She definitely is not as intelligent as Cassandra!

tunacan Tue 27-Jan-09 20:35:03

I haven't seen the film so can't really comment. I think Simon is probably on the rebound and Cassandra deserves someone alot better.

marimba Tue 27-Jan-09 20:36:16

How do you think she'll fare with married life?

Whistlejacket, interesting about needing men to change their lives - but then Stephen needs a powerful woman to change his. There is that moment where Cassandra says to Topaz that she could stay and inspire her, but its obvious that Topaz sees herself only as an inspirer of men. I wondered then if Dodie felt a bit fed up being a talented writer in the 50s surrounded by male writers.

scampadoodle Tue 27-Jan-09 20:37:15

Rose: romantic but no fool.

I first read this when I was 14,15 (nearly 30 years ago blush ) Fell in love with it completely (I was obsessed with it, along with Flambards!) It is so intensely romantic & melancholic, exactly how I was as a teenager (Joy Division fan, natch). I have read it so many times now...

Didn't mind the film, but it wasn't 'right'

I agree about the atmosphere and my favourite atmospheric part in this respect was Cassandra carrying out her midsummer rites on the mount. And Dodie manages to describe her rites in a comic way too which is very clever as it doesn't detract from the feel of it.

Agree also about the men, I don't know who would be right for Cassandra. I didn't really warm to either of the brothers and have to admit that early on in the book I got them mixed up a few times(apart from Simon having the beard).

tunacan Tue 27-Jan-09 20:39:26

I picture Rose as this unfortunate 21 (?) year old desperate to find a man, let alone love and then she finds Simon and he's rich so she thinks she's on to a winner. Not a gold digger.

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