I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith read by Jenny Agutter

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The Independent Culture

One woman, three remarkable masterpieces. Dodie Smith's play Dear Octopus was a huge box-office hit. Her children's book The Hundred and One Dalmatians was made into two excellent Disney films. But to those who know it, there is no doubt that I Capture the Castle is her main achievement: one of the greatest romances in the world. At times wonderfully funny, at others deeply wise, it is flawlessly constructed and has the best cliff-hanger ending ever composed. Because it's written in the form of entries in a 16-year-old's diary, it is full of suspense, and on the page the urge to find out what does happen next can lead to indecent skippings. Being led through by a reader, especially one as perfectly in tune with it as Jenny Agutter, ensures that every word and nuance is relished. Don't confuse this Chivers version with the abridged one also just published.

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