My Take:

A fun read with lots of heart and wit (I’m a sucker for dry humor that isn’t in-your-face, making it all the more endearing).  Great for a vacation or other such occasion during which you don’t want to think too terribly deeply — but where you could use some good laughs and a sigh or two while remembering the pathos both of falling in love and of unrequited love.

It’s hard to believe this book was written in 1948.  The refreshingly modern prose is dated only by references to the period.


This is the journal of Cassandra Mortmain; an extraordinary account of life with her equally extraordinary family.  First, there is her eccentric father.  Then there is her sister, Rose – beautiful, vain and bored – and her stepmother, Topaz, an artist’s model who likes to commune with nature.  Finally, there is Stephen, dazzlingly handsome and hopelessly in love with Cassandra.

In the cold and crumbling castle which is their home, Cassandra records events with characteristic honesty, as she tries to come to terms with her own feelings.  The result is both marvellously funny and genuinely moving.