Cassandra Mortmain lives with her bohemian and impoverished family in a crumbling castle in the middle of nowhere. Her journal records her life with her beautiful, bored sister, Rose, her fadingly glamorous stepmother, Topaz, her little brother Thomas and her eccentric novelist father who suffers from a financially crippling writer’s block. However, all their lives are turned upside down when the American heirs to the castle arrive and Cassandra finds herself falling in love for the first time…
This book was ok. It isn’t the best that I have ever read but it kept me interested.
It did take me a while to get into because of the language. We follow the Mortmain family through Cassandra’s journal. Cassandra is the second daughter and second of three children in the Mortmain family.
Cassandra’s father is an author suffering financially crippling writers’ block and has since the family moved to their current house which is a castle. He also spent time in prison after killing his first wife.
Topaz is Cassandra’s ste[-mother. She is eccentric and used to model for painters.
Rose, is the eldest of the Mortmain children and she is frustrated at having to live in their poverty.
Thomas is the youngest of the children and mainly keeps himself to himself.
When their landlord dies, the heirs to the castle come over to England from America, their lives are then changed forever.
I think my favourite characters in this book were the secondary characters of Stephen and Topaz. Stephen has been taken in by the family after being orphaned when his mother, who worked for the family, dies. Stephen does jobs for the family and when he gets a job outside of the family, most of his wages go into helping the family.
I felt bad for Stephen because he was so blindly in love with Cassandra and did anything that she wanted him to do.
I thought the Americans, the Cotton family, were nice enough and helped the Mortmains as best that they could. At some points, it felt to me that they were just flouting their wealth.
I found Rose cruel, to both Cassandra and Simon Cotton, and she was very dismissive of Stephen. I can understand her wanting to marry Simon Cotton to help with her family’s financial situation but I think there could have been a better way than being cruel.
Overall I thought this book was ok. I probably wouldn’t read it again, but I’m glad I have read it.