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Publisher's Summary

Exclusively from Audible

In this coming of age story, Dodie Smith introduces the visionary and eccentric character of seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain. The youngest daughter in a family of impoverished artists, it is her imagination and writing that takes us away from the ramshackle old English castle where they live, and towards an intriguing tale of husband-hunting and light-hearted sibling rivalry.

With the arrival of their new landlords, the impossibly handsome and wealthy American brothers, Neil and Simon Cotton, the Mortmains are roused from their stupor and moved to action. Despite developing feelings for the younger of the two brothers, Cassandra's beautiful sister, Rose, plots to marry the eldest heir in a desperate attempt to escape the poverty which surrounds her.

When Cassandra finds herself falling in love for the very first time with the same man as her sister, she explores her mixed emotions through her writing, making this a story which revels in irony and ambiguity.

A deceptively complex and intelligent story, I Capture the Castle is Smith's first published work and one which will undoubtedly and simultaneously make listeners tut, laugh and reminisce.

Narrator Biography

Jenny Agutter is a celebrated English stage, film and TV actress who was first brought to the attention of British audiences as a child, starring in East of Sudan and The Railway Children. She made her Hollywood debut in the critically acclaimed film Walkabout, in 1971, followed by Logan's Run, An American Werewolf in London and Child's Play 2.

Her TV career includes appearances on Spooks, Call the Midwife and The Man in the Iron Mask. Alongside this, Jenny is also considered one of the best classical actors of her generation and has performed with both the Royal Shakespeare Company and The National Theatre. She is an Emmy and BAFTA award winner and was awarded an OBE on the 2012 Queen's Birthday Honours List for charitable services.

Jenny's other Audible audiobook narrations include Jane Austen's Emma, Anne Brontë's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and E. Nesbit's The Railway Children.

©2000 Dodie Smith; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A good story, flourishing characters, and the most persuasive narrative voice." (Guardian [London])
"This book has one of the most charismatic narrators I've ever met." (J.K. Rowling)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
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  • Story
  • NANAS
  • roosevelt, utah United States
  • 04-18-17

Sort of sad

I'm not sure I like how this left me feeling. Incomplete or hopeful I can't decide

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Rather slow love story

Would you try another book from Dodie Smith and/or Jenny Agutter?

Yes, the narrator's voice was lovely and the general atmosphere of the story was good.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The description of life in an English village and the perspectives of various characters as writers and artists.

Which scene was your favorite?

At the vicar's home, sipping on brandy...

Do you think I Capture the Castle needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No. They story is slow already. It think the main characters has passed her growing pains and understands life enough to complete the story.

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  • Story
  • Kathy
  • South Lyon, MI, United States
  • 12-16-16

Fabulous Story

This is a poignant, hilarious, unforgettable story from the author of "101 Dalmatians". My daughter and I have read the book and listened to it multiple times. My only complaint is it ends leaving you wanting more.

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Enchanting

The book and performance were both utterly delightful. I must now go out and buy the book as I want to reread it - it was such a pleasure.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

What a wonderful story...

I was not familiar with Dodie Smith's writing until this listen. I must say I was so pleased. Jenny Agutter did a fantastic job. I will want to listen to more books read by Her. Bravo!

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delightful

What an unexpected delight... I enjoyed every minute and did not want it it to end...Superb narration by Jenny Agutter. I never imagined I would like to read a journal of a 17 year old girl, but I was utterly "captured" by this literary gem. I am disappointed by only one thing - there are no more adult books written by Dodie Smith...

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

If only there were more books like this

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This book has a gentle humor I find irresistible.

What other book might you compare I Capture the Castle to and why?

A Man at the Helm has the same sort of narrator - a young girl - and the same innocent but very funny commentary on social life.

Have you listened to any of Jenny Agutter’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

no

If you could take any character from I Capture the Castle out to dinner, who would it be and why?

The narrator. She could use a good meal.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A wholesome adventure you can't push stop!

Dodie quickly takes you into her castle and all of its inhabitants in a wholesome adventure! Every character is perfectly drawn in word pictures, and there's even a bit of philosophy at the end to chew on after the story ends.

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  • Story
  • Cheryl
  • Douglasville, GA, United States
  • 10-27-15

What a great discovery this novel was!

What a great discovery this novel was! It was first published in 1948 and I am really glad that I had the opportunity to listen to it narrated by Jenny Agutter.

The story is very good and I loved the main character Cassandra. This book is good for all ages both male and female. Definitely take a chance and enjoy it.

P.S. I think it's cool that the author, Dodie Smith, also wrote the story: The Hundred and One Dalmatians.

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A thoroughly bohemian romance

I read this for book club without knowing anything about it. I was determined not to look ahead or be tempted to know anything in advance & I must admit, the story is beautiful in the classic sense of Romanticism. The tortured artist, desperation of poverty, the worship of art & creation, innocence, and unrequited love. The examination of love- what it means, the many forms it takes, and its elusiveness are drawn out in the various characters storylines from the perspective of a young girl, just beginning to understand the sacrifice and pains of love- in family, friendships, and marriage. It's surprisingly well crafted and beautifully woven without drowning in sentimentality or stooping. The surprises are natural and unpredictable and startlingly realistic. Strongly recommend.

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  • Giulia
  • 05-28-14

I love it!

I love this book, and the audio version is a delight - I've just finished listening to it for the second time. It is often described as a coming-of-age story, and Jenny Agutter captures perfectly Cassandra's transition from 'consciously naive' childhood to young womanhood. It's funny, it's poignant, and it's deeply evocative of a largely lost English countryside: all crumbling castles and rusty iron bedsteads with weeds growing out of them, 'motoring' to the seaside for a picnic and a cherry brandy from a country pub. Dodie Smith apparently wrote it in America hankering after England, and I think the book is coloured with a loving nostalgia. I would highly recommend this to young and old readers alike: if you like Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons or any of the Persephone books like Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, I think you would like this.

  • Overall
  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-14-13

very enjoyable

Beautifully read by jenny agutter. Really bought the era to life. A gentle story well worth a listen

  • Overall
  • Jan
  • 04-13-13

Interesting and insightful

This is a very class conscious story that really gives insight into the necessity of keeping up appearances - and not minding whether you are successful at it! Social attitudes are illustrated but it is not a history lesson - it is a charming story of a family brought to poverty because the father has writers' block all described by the developing diary of one of the daughters. Jenny Agutter is the perfect choice as narrator.

  • Overall
  • Ali
  • 03-13-11

Slow moving

Slow moving (a bit dull in parts), but entertaining nonetheless with a few funny moments.

  • Overall
  • Andy T
  • 08-19-10

I am yet to find a better non fiction masterpiece.

Such a delightful, profound and enjoyable book.
Dodie Smith is the perfect wordsmith in this book about an eccentric lifestyle.

Cassandra is wonderful, as she captures life around her in her note-book.

The film is just as enchanting.

  • Overall
  • Sandra
  • 02-07-09

Nicely read

I enjoyed this book, but at times there was too much talk about writing & not enough plot. It was quite nice to let it wash over you as it was very well read, but at times I was frustrated with too much description & the characters were too "clever" and discussed literature too much. I like a book to have a little bit more story.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Caro
  • 10-14-08

Classic and brilliant

This is a wonderful book read by a narrator who I think could not be improved on. It's a gem, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

  • Overall
  • Greenie
  • 08-30-08

Captivating

One of the best books I`ve heard for some time! Jenny Agutter`s rendition draws you in and sets the scene to such an extent you can almost 'feel' the story. Highly recommended

  • Overall
  • Sylvia
  • 04-19-07

I Capture the Castle

An all time favourite beautifully read by Jenny Agutter. She really brings the characters to life. It was a pity the story came to an end, I was left wanting more.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful