Cassandra Mortmain's greatest aspiration is to be a writer like her father used to be, a long time ago. He once wrote a critically acclaimed novel, Jacob Wrestling, but never published anything else, and so the income of the Mortmain family dwindled into nothingness. Cassandra now lives with her older sister Rose, her younger brother Thomas, and her stepmother Topaz in a crumbling castle that her father bought back when he still had money.
I first saw this book at a friend's house and, after flipping through it, was intrigued, but I hesitated to read it because I was looking for a light YA book, and how could a book from the 40s be a "light YA book"? Quite easily, in fact- one of the things that impressed me most about this book was that it could quite easily have come off the press yesterday. Cassandra, unlike many of the female protagonists present in novels from the 40s, is a genuinely flawed character.
I would highly recommend this story to anyone who appreciates the versatility of YA books.