I capture the castle - Smith, Dodie
Summary: The story of 17-year-old Cassandra and her family, who live in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle old English castle. Over six turbulent months, she fills three diaries with sharply funny yet poignant entries and manages to find herself hopelessly in love. By the time she pens her final entry, she has "captured the castle" and the heart of the reader.
The author of popular theatrical hits, Autumn Crocus, etc., has produced a first novel, a gentle, genteel story of English eccentrics, kindly Americans, and an artless, unworldly background that has no current feel. The story is told in diary form by Cassandra, middle child of novelist Mortmain. At the moment, the family is stale-mated,- the father refusing to write, the stepmother able to pose only once in a while, Rose, beautiful and despairing of meeting anyone eligible to marry, even their friend, the librarian, can offer no solution. Rose wishes on a dewll -- and two Americans, Simon and Neil, appear, lost en route to the property Simon has inherited. They are fascinated by the whole unlikely thing,- the old castle, the girls, the identity of Mortmain, whose one great novel Simon knew. Both girls determine that Simon shall be Rose's -- and almost too late, with Rose in London shopping for her wedding, Cassandra realizes that it is Simon she loves, while Rose loves Neil. There's charm here -- there's a gay, English spotting of humor that makes the romance and the slight story almost a natural for the Thirkell followers -- for enthusiasts of the Jane Austen tradition. Literary Guild selection for November will give it the necessary impetus. And the crying need for clean and pleasant romance will find a measure of answer here. (Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 1948)