I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
At times this was a solid 5 stars, but then my attention would start to wander, so I'm giving it a final 4 stars. There are more memorable one-liners in this story than I can remember in any other coming-of-age novel I've read.
“Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression.”
“I know all about the facts of life, and I don't think much of them.”
“Cruel blows of fate call for extreme kindness in the family circle.”
“Rose doesn’t like the flat country, but I always did—flat country seems to give the sky such a chance.”
I also relished the literary allusions like "“Ah, but you're the insidious type—Jane Eyre with of touch of Becky Sharp. A thoroughly dangerous girl.” You know the heroine is headed for trouble when her sister's fiance is the one who seems most in tune with her inner life and sensibilities.
Once I got used to the idea of being by myself for so long I positively liked it. I always enjoy the different feeling there is in a house when one is alone in it, and the thought of that feeling stretching ahead for two whole days somehow intensified it wonderfully. The castle seemed to be mine in a way it never had been before; the day seemed specially to belong to me; I even had a feeling that I owned myself more than I usually do. I became very conscious of all my movements—if I raised my arm I looked at it wonderingly, thinking, "That is mine!" And I took pleasure in moving, both in the physical effort and in the touch of the air—it was most queer how the air did seem to touch me, even when it was absolutely still. All day long I had a sense of great ease and spaciousness. And my happiness had a strange, remembered quality as though I had lived it before. Oh, how can I recapture it—that utterly right, homecoming sense of recognition? It seems to me now that the whole day was like an avenue leading to a home I had loved once but forgotten, the memory of which was coming back so dimly, so gradually, as I wandered along, that only when my home at last lay before me did I cry: "Now I know why I have been happy!"
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