LIVE Futures: the movie

13 February 2009

Natalie captures the castle....

So, it's with sadness that we waved goodbye to Natalie Proctor after her stellar week on the LIVE editorial team. But before she left, we persuaded her to part company with the ace book review she wrote today. Here it is...

I Capture the Castle – Book Review

The book ‘I Capture the Castle’ has been said to portray ‘one of the most charismatic narrators’ to grace fiction by JK Rowling. And I must agree. The writing of this charming book is conveyed with such effortless conviction that it’s a joy to read.

The tale of young Cassandra, stuck between the difficult transition of childhood and adulthood, and trying to come to terms with her distant and unstable father. At the same time she is also struggling to live in near poverty amongst the crumbling remains of her beloved castle.

The plot soon thickens with the arrival of an equally eccentric family, the Cottons. And it is not long before Cassandra finds herself falling for the eldest - Simon. However it is Cassandra’s sister Rose who captures his love, leaving Cassandra’s hope for happiness short lived.

After finishing the book ‘I Capture the Castle’ the reader could find themselves left somewhat wanting. The ending to a spiral of romance and confusion was underwhelming as we find nothing resolved, with the heroine left alone and lacking contentment.

Although this ending was perhaps the only feasible finish that could have occurred, I don’t believe that a person could say they read books for a ‘reality check’. We read stories to capture our fantasies, creating a place where someone could be indefinitely happy and where the impossible can become possible. So we naturally expect a lovely and completely ridiculous end where all were miraculously happy and well!

Although we witness Cassandra’s family slowly begin to rebuild itself nearing the end of the book, you still feel that Cassandra is unsatisfied and sad. The story offers countless opportunities for the heroine to be happy, and frustratingly for the reader; none of these chances are accepted. For instance; Stephen confesses his love for Cassandra and proposes – Cassandra says no and refuses him. Then finally when Simon is ready to leave for the return to America he asks Cassandra to come with him – but yet again Cassandra says no, denying her own gratification.

Despite the exasperating ending, the book is redeemed by deeply thought out and detailed writing making it a pleasure to read. The novel portrays Cassandra effortlessly, and you find yourself becoming attached to her emotions and thoughts. You visualise and care for the characters as if they were real, and picture the stunning setting of the ruins of the castle with such definition that you feel totally immersed in Cassandra’s world.

Maybe it’s childish to wish for all the stories I read to end with contention, but what are stories for but for us to enjoy? I did not find the enjoyment in this book as it ends so abruptly and disappointingly. It does however allow you to love it by its fantastically well-written content and natural charm, leaving you to understand why it was complimented so highly by authors like JK Rowling.

A fine read for those who are not prone to predictable romances.

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