We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Mystery, poison and a cat.. my kind of book!,
I'm no stranger to the genius of Jackson's mind after reading The Haunting and she certainly didn't disappoint in this novel, there is strength but also perfect restraint that keeps it from being gauche. The writing is simply exquisite as it skillfully wraps the reader like a cozy blanket, sometimes when I read it I felt as if I was struck by a moment so beautiful that it made time stop, I would re-read it again and picture it in my head almost smelling the heady swaying grass and the sun shimmering in the morning breeze as Mary Katherine Blackwood and her feline companion wandered through the beautiful nature surrounding their decaying house. This book was written in the sixties but it's still felt refreshing in its own refined way, it's a literary treasure that should be read about and discussed because it's simply wonderful and it reads a bit like a period piece but it only adds to its charm ( and it's definitely easy to read). I love gory horror books but this was just as good as the most intense and popular thrilling read from the past few months, so trust me, this is a good book!
The Blackwood house is no longer the social gathering of great minds but a leftover with living ghosts, people who were once a part of a family until a fatal dinner laced with arsenic put the end to the festivities leaving behind only a handful of surviving family members. Sick and ailing uncle Julian, his niece Constance along with her younger eighteen year old sister Mary Kate (playfully called Merricat) and her black cat. They are left to their own way of life taking it one day at a time which means going into town only when they find it absolutely necessary and they are not bothered by what is happening in the world. The Blackwoods are busy eating delectable things in the privacy of their own garden as they seem to have dropped out of the society and time itself by living a suspended life on their own terms with their own secrets and ceremonies, especially those upheld by Merricat. Normal in general form doesn't hold place in the Blackwood mansion, people who live in it do whatever they want anytime they please, perhaps that is why the arrival of handsome cousin Charles stirs the household so hard of its axis, his family connections enable him to get in but when the wants to take over the fortune his future isn't too bright when it comes to accomplishing it, Merricat is a smart kid and she won't let anyone even if they are admired by older Constance to take over her world no matter what! People form the near by town want to know what is going on in the mysterious house at the same time as old demons come to the surface and that final arsenic laced dinner rears it's ugly head again revealing the mystery behind the strange deaths. The struggle between different worlds is apparent and the conclusion is incredible, anyone reading this will have their favorites and their villains and will probably be surprised to see who they end up rooting for. A great tale that takes it to another lever that is sure not to be missed, I loved it!
- Kasia S.