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Read-Alikes: I Capture the Castle July 17, 2012

Posted by ccbooks in Bookstore.
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The YA Book Club at the bookstore where I work discussed I Capture the Castle, a classic by Dodie Smith at last month’s meeting.  If this romantic English tale is a favorite of yours as well, here are some other new and new-ish YA books you might enjoy.

Regency Romances

Many fans of I Capture the Castle are also fans of Jane Austen, and Austen is actually referenced by the characters several times. Although the book is set in the 1930’s, in some ways the story about love vs. money echoes Regency themes and preoccupations. So this first section of read-alikes is all Regency Romances of one kind or another.

Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindle

This new romance is narrated by Althea, who knows that she must marry a rich man in order to save her family’s falling-down castle. To that end, she tries her best to attract the local Baron, while avoiding his argumentative cousin Mr. Frederick. Fans of Pride and Prejudice will be able to guess who she ends up with!

Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede & Caroline Stevener

A novel told through the letters of Kate, enjoying her first Season in London and her cousin Cecy back home in the country, in a Regency England where magic is a part of everyday life. Balls, suitors and picnics are mixed with wizards, sorcerers and spells.

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

How often have you heard the words ‘post-apocalyptic’ and ‘Jane Austen’s Persuasion’ in the same sentence? Peterfreund has transplanted Austen’s final novel to a future where the world is run by ‘Luddites’ who eschew technology and run estates worked by ‘Posts’. Elliot North is a Luddite but her best friend Kai, back after four years away, is a Post. Will they be able to reconcile after years away from each other?

1930’s Adventures

Of course, I Capture the Castle is really set between the World Wars. The following are books set during that time period, some historical and some that take a few liberties with history.

A Brief History of Montmaray & The FitzOsbornes in Exile by Michelle Cooper

These two intriguing books are the journals of Sophie FitzOsborne, who lives with the rest of her royal family in the tiny island kingdom of Montmaray. In the first book, the kingdom is attacked by fighter planes and in the second book, the family is forced to flee to England. The year is 1936, Germany is a threat, and Sophie must balance her concerns for her home country with the usual trials of adolescence. A great alternative history of mid-century Europe.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

This is not a romance, and it isn’t set in the 1930’s. Rather, it is an espionage and aviation adventure set during World War II. However, in a blog post, the author revealed that one of the books she used for research into the atmosphere and setting of mid-century England was I Capture the Castle. She loves the book, and recommends that if you do too, you should read…

A Childhood in Scotland by Christian Miller

This is a memoir by a woman who grew up in a castle in the Scottish highlands in the 1920’s and it is filled with lush details of rooms, gardens, meals and clothes, similar to I Capture the Castle. Perhaps Cassandra’s life would have been more like this if the family had actually had any money! This book is out of print, but easily available on ABE Books.

Keep an eye out for my review of our book club book this month, Mare’s War by Tanita S. Davis.

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