#LoveToRead – Desert Island Books, Mrs Hounslow

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Inspired by the #LoveToRead campaign run by the BBC and BookTrust, some of the staff from Boundary Oak School share their Desert Island Books. In our first post of this series, GCSE English Teacher Beth Hounslow shares with us her top Desert Island Books…

I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith

180px-icapturethecastleThis enchanting story is one about a seventeen year old girl, Cassandra, living in a dilapidated but beautiful castle with her fascinating and unusual family. Just when she begins to believe that her life will go nowhere, the heirs to the castle arrive and Cassandra falls in love.

I really loved this book. It is written as a journal that has been styled as a novel, which is a rather confusing concept but which provides the reader with a unique, refreshing style of writing.

The characters are vivid and individual, and I think very relatable. Each character is totally unique and unpredictable, from beautiful Rose who is convinced she will do anything to escape the poverty that she is living in, to strangely glamorous step-mother Topaz, who is absolutely stunning but partakes in some rather unusual rituals.

This book was such a wonderful, enchanting and unpredictable read that by the end of it I felt like I almost was Cassandra, since her confessions, recordings and thoughts in her journals gave me a thorough insight into her. Overall, I would recommend this book as a must-read, particularly for young teenage girls.

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

downloadI knew I wouldn’t be disappointed in this book before I even started reading this Charlotte Bronte classic. Jane Eyre is a love story, between the orphaned and trapped heroine and her Byronic partner.

Despite being written in 1847, I found the character of Jane very relatable. She is a very independent and forgiving character that I admire for her passion to chase her dreams. For Brontë as for Jane, life can only be satisfying when lived fully and on one’s own terms.

The novel’s eponymous heroine, an orphan, is brought up alongside her antagonistic cousins under the hostile care of her aunt, Sarah Reed. When Jane is sent away to Lowood School it seems that she has escaped a terrible situation only to be thrown into one more dire.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants to start reading classics but doesn’t quite know where to start.

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