Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Best book I read in May

The folks at YA Highway have a road trip underway.
Bloggers answer a question each week, and readers can hop from blog to blog to read the responses.
This week's topic: What's the best book you've read this month?

I got lucky this month, because I had the chance to read some fiction. When school is in session that does not always happen.

Somehow I found a description of the book "I capture the castle" online in April. I couldn't believe I'd never heard of it before. It's exactly like the kind of book I loved growing up, and still love. It was written in the late forties by the author who also wrote 101 dalmatians (Dodie Smith). It's very British, with a strange little family with quirky issues, and young girls with no means looking to marry some rich, title-holding fellas. Classic. It reminded me of Love in a Cold Climate and The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford in that way. I think it also felt like the Mitford books because the story takes place between the wars.

It's all about Cassandra, the youngest sister in a family living in a rented castle. She uses her journal to "capture" the castle and all of its occupants. The characters include her father (an author who wrote one book long ago and nothing else), her step-mother (a former artist's model from London), her older sister (the "pretty one" who is mopey and depressed, because they have no marriage prospects), and a younger brother who kind of fades into the woodwork. They are destitute, and then naturally two handsome American boys who have recently inherited the big manor house move in next door. I don't want to spoil the plot, but it's really well done. Great expressive characters, funny but endearing situations, and a bit of surprise and heartbreak along the way. Two thumbs up.

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