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The universally adored story of Cassandra Mortmain, her mad family, her loves and her heartaches. A perfect novel.
Dodie Smith was born in Manchester in 1896. Aged 17 she set off for London, determined to become an actress, but she struggled to find work, living off baked beans in freezing hostels. While working at the famous Heals department store, Dodie turned to writing plays instead, and her first was an overnight sensation - the newspapers excitedly declared 'Shopgirl Turns Playwright!'. During the war she moved to Hollywood with her husband, and it was there, spurned on by regret and homesickness for the English countryside she'd left behind, that Dodie began writing I Capture the Castle. When a friend gave Dodie a dalmatian puppy (presented in a hat box!) this began a life-long love of the spotty dogs. Dodie's well-loved novel 101 Dalmatians was inspired by her experiences of raising fifteen puppies. She lived in a ramshackle cottage with her husband and many other animals until her death in 1990, aged 94.
"There are many good reasons to read Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle: it provides excellent advice about dressing on a budget (dye all your clothes sea-green); how to cope when the man you love falls for your elder sister (keep a diary) and your stepmother dances naked in the rain (ditto). Given that most teenagers believe their parents to be mad - and vice versa - the novel also serves as a helpful guide to recognising the fine line between eccentricity and outright insanity" * Guardian * "A book for anyone who is young, poor, fed up and yearning for something exciting to happen" * Irish Times * "When I read I Capture the Castle it immediately became one of my favourite novels of all time, and I was very annoyed that nobody had told me about it before" -- J.K Rowling "Unputdownable and loved by teenagers and adults everywhere." * Observer * "Everyone I've passed it on to has found it a hit - it works every time, for absolutely everybody" -- Nigella Lawson