Book recommendations are a lot like birthday gifts; unless the person doing the giving - be it information or a vintage fair isle knit - knows you even just a little bit, there is a real chance that you'll find yourself resenting them for getting you so wrong. For not realising that you couldn't possibly respond to a tome recording the history of an obscure beetle from the southern most tip of South America or a sequinned bandeau top.
And then sometimes you stumble across a book recommendation from someone you don't know at all. And that doesn't know you. Someone that simply distilled their love and appreciation into words that made you want to discover the characters they spoke so fondly of. That made you want to crawl into the mind of the author they revered and play dress ups; that made you want to spend all day curled up in an armchair, turning pages as quickly as you could soak up the words.
That's how I found I Capture the Castle.
I read about it on Hannah-Rose Yee's blog, which is named for the book she so eloquently exposed the thrill of.
And now I've discovered another character that I may sit beside Mary Lennox, Hermione Granger, Ebenezer Scrooge, Huck Finn, Matilda and Jo March as a favourite - Cassandra. The irrepressible, intelligent, charming narrator of her family's story.
A story littered with the kind of genteel poverty that seems more romantic than depressing. A world of crumbling castles rampant with ghosts and of early twentieth century manners and social graces. A story of luck and first love and laughter and of finding your way as you go.
I devoured the book, written by Dodie Smith, in three days - it would have been earlier if not for the scoundrel of work. But I do warn you, there is a very good chance that you will develop an affection for Cassandra and her family and their life in a castle that will leave you finding your own comfortable existence revealing itself as pedestrian in comparison.