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I Capture the Castle is the first novel by the British author Dodie Smith, written during the Second World War when she and her husband Alec Beesley (also British and a conscientious objector) were living in California. She longed for home and wrote of a happier time, unspecified in the novel apart from a reference to living in the 1930s. Smith was already an established playwright and later became famous for writing the children's classic The Hundred and One Dalmatians.
The novel relates the adventures of an eccentric family, the Mortmains, struggling to live in genteel poverty in a decaying castle during the 1930s. The first person narrator is Cassandra Mortmain, an intelligent teenager who tells the story through her journal. It is a coming-of-age story in which Cassandra passes from being a girl at the beginning to being a young woman at the end.