Mr Mortmain hasn't written more than one novel, Jacob Wrestling, since before moving to the castle. They've sold all the furniture, dress in rags, and live on tea and biscuits. Even in this desperate state of poverty, Mortmain refuses to write or make any sort of living. Work is for other people. Topaz won't go back to her modelling, and none of the children are capable of finding work. They've tried nothing and it isn't working.
|Yes, ladies, I'm giving this family's attitude towards work the side eye too.|
The only solution is for the eldest girl, Rose, to marry into money. A scenario she'd happily grab onto, if any eligible men lived near the castle. In desperation, she offers up prayers to a castle gargoyle, and at that moment two bachelor brothers with money appear. The Cottons are Americans and one is the new owner of both the castle and nearby Scoatney Hall. From the first, the men are intrigued by the family and their bizarre bohemian lifestyle. However, a series of misunderstandings and potential heartbreaks threatens to upend all of Rose's plans.
I've seen I Capture the Castle on many of my favorite blogs lately so it was one I felt I really needed to read. It's charming with many funny scenes as Rose tries to attract at least one suitor. She's not without her pride though, as you'll find out. Cassandra records all the goings on as they happen, including her own feelings about the Cottons and Rose's schemes. At first, it's fun to help Rose get her man, but Cassandra starts questioning her motives. Is Rose in love? Is it okay for her to marry for the money?
Since I Capture the Castle is a diary of a young woman, sometimes the reader sees a clearer picture of what is happening than Cassandra can. Still, I was surprised by some of the developments. I thought the ending was perfect. Not too tidy. Cassandra grows up a lot by the book's closing.
Dodie Smith straddles the line between funny and downright depressing. The family is super poor. The least little problem and they'd all be dead. They have nothing to fall back on. The father would probably be diagnosed a manic depressive if this was a modern YA novel. He's a little scary. Somehow Smith makes all their problems just part of the Mortmains' charm. I wondered too if the Cottons weren't American but upper class British gentlemen if they would have found the family as appealing. Probably not. At least, that's what I've gathered from Downton Abbey.
Add me to the list of people who love I Capture the Castle. I liked it even more since I only paid $1.99 for it! (It was on sale at the time.)