I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

1 of 6
I Capture the Castle
352 pages; St. Martin's Griffin
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (famed writer of The Hundred and One Dalmatians) is one of those overlooked gems that manages to touch on everything that is exquisitely painful about falling in love with someone who's not in love with you and yet make it sound so delightful that you want to do it all over again. It's set, appropriately, in and around a derelict English castle in the years after World War I. The protagonist, Cassandra Mortmain, the middle child of an impoverished intellectual family, reflects, wryly and thoughtfully, on how her life changes when two wealthy brothers move into the manor house nearby. There are first dances, trips to London, thwarted loves and the wonderful growth of an adolescent into a thoughtful, deeply tender yet never gushy adult. If you're dreading the end of Downton Abbey, it's okay. The romances of this witty heroine—English as English can be but in a practical, post-war sort of way—will soothe your withdrawal symptoms straightaway.
— Nathalie Gorman