TBR Read | We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Merricat Blackwood lives on the family estate with her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian. Not long ago there were seven Blackwoods—until a fatal dose of arsenic found its way into the sugar bowl one terrible night. Acquitted of the murders, Constance has returned home, where Merricat protects her from the curiosity and hostility of the villagers. Their days pass in happy isolation until cousin Charles appears. Only Merricat can see the danger, and she must act swiftly to keep Constance from his grasp.

Ooh, you guys! You picked a good one out for me.

This was my first tbr read selected by fellow readers. I've been wanting to read this one since last January. Little did I know later on that this little TV show called The Haunting of Hill House would be presented on Netflix. Originally a book by Shirley Jackson. I absolutely loved that show. I binge watched it all the way to 5:00 in the morning. It was worth it. Mainly because it was too scary not to see everything get resolved before I went to sleep.

After looking for more information on Shirley Jackson since I had by then discovered The Haunting of Hill House was a book, I found that I already had a book by her on my tbr list. It was about poison, family, and a new danger.

Illustrator Unknown
Honestly, the description of We Have Always Lived in the Castle was deeply deceptive. All the better for me while reading it. I was pleasantly surprised how the story was introduced and everything was unraveled. It's a horror story so you expect some things to go down. In the back of my mind I had that thought in my head when reading. My imagination went wild when the first chapter went through the inner working mind of Merricat who is grabbing groceries so her sister, the alleged murderer, could make some good things to eat. The people living in the town sincerely and unabashedly hated the Blackwood's guts. I'm sure they even wished that the whole family would have eaten the arsenic discretely hidden in one of items of food. This arsenic killed a few of the members of the Blackwood family including Merricat and Constance's parents, their aunt, and cousin. It almost killed Uncle Julian too but he survived the poisoning. He's still ill because of it though. He has to be in a wheelchair and doesn't remember things to well.

Illustrator Unknown
Back to the townspeople. They would sing a song to Merricat, laugh, say offhand comments, and antagonize her while she went into town. Her sister, Constance, stayed at home with her uncle. The sheer bravery and hatred both Merricat and the townspeople had for each other was an extremely thrilling way to start the story. I knew I was in for a treat. As everything unfolds there seems to be two parts to the story. The part that focuses on the townspeople's animosity for the family. The second part focused on the family who were very strange. You can tell the mother of the two girls was... an odd person. She liked things just so. You get the sense of the girls personalities and how they were shaped by their mother quite soon. Then comes the dreaded cousin Charles. That's when things begin to pick up.

I absolutely loved how We Have Always Lived in the Castle flowed with these intense moments and quiet ones. It was so much fun to read. It's the first read of 2019 that felt perfect. The intensity, the intrigue behind the family, the hatred of the townspeople, and the idea behind the story was so interesting. I read a short forward, although it should have ended the book because it ruined the surprise!, about Shirley and the story. It seems that Shirley had a not so great life and she felt the seclusion and hatred from the people living in her community as well. I find Shirley fascinating. I would love to read more by her. Mostly I want to read about her life as well as The Haunting of Hill House. The concept of her stories have a little of her in them. I'm excited to discover more of her books in the future.

Did you know that We Have Always Lived in the Castle has become a movie? It stars Taissa Famiga, Alexandrio Daddario, and Sebastian Stan. The sneak peek below is a direct scene from the book. However, some of the acting isn't as well done as I would hope but it does give you a chance to view the characters' personalities.

What are some of your favorite horror stories?


  1. I had no idea this book became a movie. I am SO glad you enjoyed the book so much and that you are looking forward to reading more books by and about the author. Awesome! :)

  2. This sounds a thrilling and adrenalin rushing story!

  3. I'll be sure not to read the forward of the book first if I pick this up, but it sounds delightfully creepy! I've seen previews for the show but had no idea this book is what it's based on. I'm wondering if the book is a standalone? Wonderful review! I'm definitely interested!

  4. Oh how timely, my library hold for this book just came through for this one! I am glad you enjoyed reading it and I'm excited to read it myself.

  5. I'm glad you enjoyed this one so much. I've been looking forward to your review since you first posted the creepy cover. One for my TBR I think :-)


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