If you’re looking for a well written, well plotted, interesting but not tawdry love story, I recommend you pick up I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. Set in 1930s England, the book is narrated as though part of the journal of a teenage girl living with her father, stepmother, younger brother, and older sister in a castle that is sort of falling down around them. When an American family moves into the neighborhood, the lives of the English family get upended, mostly in good ways, with various fallings in and out of love to varying degrees, figuring out what to do with possibilities, and carrying on of intrigues.
The narrator is endearing and likeable without being treacly or unbelievable (a rare feat with teenaged protagonists, in my opinion) and the action is well-paced and satisfying without being trite. Naturally I could not fail to enjoy the descriptions of English country houses and castles.
I will say that I thought I Capture the Castle got off to a bit of a slow start–possibly because it took a bit for me to get used to the diary format and to see past it to the story–so if you decide to read it, push through for a bit because it does get to be a really excellent book.
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