I put off reading this book for decades.
I love Dodie Smith's dalmatian books, and I know lots of people who adore I Capture the Castle, but the trouble has always been that silly title: is there a less inviting title anywhere?
But then, at last, you open the book and begin to read:
I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.
That's the first line of Cassandra Mortmain's journal, and the first line of the book. (Cassandra Mortmain. Oh dear. The heroine's name is imbued with death and despair, and that's something else that's put me off the book.)
But I adored the book of course. Cassandra is sitting in the sink in a search for inspiration, and the book about searching for inspiration. The book is also about...well, not quite finding love, exactly, but about discovering what love is like: about all the dead-ends people blunder along on the way to discovering the real thing.
'Perhaps you only fancy you're in love with him - couldn't it be what's called 'calf love' darling? You can't really know you're in love...Anyway, you'll soon get over it when you meet other men - and I'll see that you do.'
The book is very funny, wince-makingly and startlingly honest, and full of extraordinary people.
And at no point, except in one very special way, does anyone even think about trying to capture a castle.
Word To Use Today: capture. This word comes from the Latin word capere, to take.