My lovely colleague Sarah and I were discussing my book 'Pineapple' the other day. It made her feel the same way, she said, as the book 'I Capture the Castle.' She then described her funny 'lost and found' tale of her favourite book
'That's everyday magic,' I said. 'Mind if I share?'
She said it was fine, and so here is Sarah's magical book story.
"When I was 13 I was going through our bookshelves at home when I came across an old book of my mother’s from when she was a teen. It was called “I Capture the Castle” and was by Dodie Smith (more famous for her children’s book, 101 Dalamations). I read the book and became an instant fan - so much so that every summer I would re-read the book.
When I left home at 18 I didn’t take it with me. And forgot about it for a few years. When I was overseas in my early 20s the book was given away, along with a lot of household items that my parents were getting rid of as they moved house.
Eventually I came back from my OE in the UK. I did a Masters Degree. I moved to Melbourne at age 27. I started working in publishing.
I was working as a copyright coordinator which meant seeking permission from copyright holders to reuse text or images in the educational textbooks we published. I was in touch with an agency who dealt with such issues in the UK when suddenly I remembered I Capture the Castle and wanted to read it again. But, I couldn’t remember the title or the author.
So I emailed the woman I had been in contact with at the agency in the UK and asked her if by any chance she knew the title of a book that was about a young girl and her eccentric family growing up in the ruins of castle in England in the 1930s. My memory played a trick on me and I told the woman I thought the author was a cousin of DH Lawrence. (She is not, no idea where I got that idea from.) The woman wrote back and said sorry, she had no idea what the book was.
Then about a week later I got another email from her entitled 'Serendipity'. She told me she had been browsing at a secondhand book stall near her train station that morning and had picked up a book she thought might be the one I was looking for.
It was! I ordered a secondhand copy online and resume my fairly regular re-reading of this classic coming-of-age story which I still count as one of my all time favourite novels."
Isn't it wonderful when lost loves are reunited?! I'm so happy Sarah shared this story with me. And as I've never read it, I've got a new novel to plough through this weekend.