Liked It5 of 5 members found this review helpful
“I was afraid it would be precious and "twee." I should have trusted my friends' good taste. It's wonderful.”see full review » see other reviews »
“After a brilliant start I found this book incredibly disappointing, the 'love' story in the middle just seemed to ruin it and take over everything. I didn't like the father character who just came across as at worst abusive and at best a very bad father. I hated Rose and didn't understand why characters kept making excuses for her/actually liked her when she was just a mean person.
All in all I found it a disappointing read, which is a shame as the writing was lovely, particularly the descriptions of the castle and the countryside. ”
“Really good read!”Gina L Stadler wrote this review Thursday, October 3, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I loved everything about this one. The style, the characters. JK Rowling said the character of seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain is "one of the most charismatic narrators" she'd ever met--and I concur.
It's the 1930s, and Cassandra, living with her family in a decrepit English castle, is keeping a journal. Her father may be going mad, her stepmother sometimes roams the country nude to commune with nature, the servant who has been raised with her shows all the signs of being infatuated, and her sister Rose swears to sell her soul to the devil if it means breaking out of their mortifying poverty. Temptation arrives in the person of two American heirs to lands that include the castle.
If all that makes this sound like one of those madcap romantic comedies filled with eccentrics--well, while it's quite funny in places, it's a lot more than that. Each of those characters is real and endearing, Cassandra is a credible teenager who relates her growing pains with insight and poignancy in a lovely, lyrical style with plenty of quotable lines. First published in 1948, despite period details, this doesn't feel the least bit dated. Among the novel's pleasures are depictions of Americans and Englishmen and their differences without falling into stereotypes, and as you might expect from the author of Hundred and One Dalmations, there is a cat and dog in the picture (Heloise and Abelard) as winning as any human character. There are also allusions to Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte that are far from incidental. This is more bittersweet than Austen's novels, but I think this is one book Austen fans might appreciate. It has that ability to make someone grin madly on one page and feel a lump in the throat on the next.”
“Meh. It took a couple of chapters for me to decide how I felt about the book, but then I really enjoyed it. Cassandra is a most loveable main character. She reminds me a bit of Alan Bradley's Flavia with her witticisms and slightly snarky, irreverent view of life. The problem is that by 2/3 the way through with the book the plot started unraveling and it lost quite a bit of its charm. I was also disappointed with the ending. I don't necessarily have to have a happy ending, but this one sort of felt unresolved. ”Thompsonian wrote this review Saturday, September 7, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This book was amazing. I just loved Cassandra 's writing style, and how it slowly but noticeably matures over time. I really expected her to just fall in love with either Simon, Neil, or Stephen and then get married to them, but no, it's so much more complicated than that! ( I will not go into detail, I fear I will not be able to stop myself ) anyway, I recommend this to anyone, it is a great book that I will never forget.”The marsupial reading addict wrote this review Wednesday, September 4, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“One of my favorite books ever, recently re-read.”Amanda Beth Flynn wrote this review Saturday, August 31, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I love a book with a great first sentence. A beautifully romantic, intelligent, and inspiring novel. ”Jennifer wrote this review Thursday, August 22, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Well, this was what I would call an 'okay' book. I wouldn't bother recommending anyone to read it but I enjoyed it. It reminded me of a Jane Austen novel but shorter and was less blabbing. One sentence summary: Two sisters living in a castle in England in the 1950s get attracted to two brothers who own the castle and return from America.”Becky H wrote this review Friday, August 16, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Loved this reprint of the 1948 classic. The English author, Dodie Smith, playwright turned noveist, is best known for her children's books including One Hundred and One Dalmations. This movie-tie-in revival is an enchanting read and coming of age story asa seveteen year old girl fills her journals with the glories of teh English countryside and the not-so glorious poverty of her family living in an unheated, unelectrified crumbling English castle in Sussex. Her father was a celebrated author of one book, but has written nothing else and gone more than a bit strange. The step-mother was a famous artist's model and does well by her three stepchildren, in her own eccentric fashion, protecting her husband, their father from all distresses. Cassandre, her older sister Rose and younger brother Thomas muddle along, with the help of the grown orphaned Stephen, son of a former maid. The arrive the landlords, a young American man, Simon who is the heir, his brother Neil, and their divorced mother, and romance, the follies of fame and fortune raise their ugly heads to provide a magical journey in Cassandra's life.”Sherry A wrote this review Thursday, June 20, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No