October Read: We Have Always Lived in The Castle

by Regina Kenney

We have put together an ‘Ultimate Halloween Bookshelf‘ consisting of all the books we recommend reading for the creepy month of October. Our writers will be reading horror/gothic/generally spooky books all month and we will update the bookshelf of any more books worthy of the shelf. 

we-have-always-lived-in-the-castleShocked to see that this book hasn’t made it on any ‘scariest book lists’ I’ve googled (On that note, shocked that this book isn’t more well known in general. Hidden gem).

Shirley Jackson is the master of creating creepy worlds that leave you unsettled and wanting to read more (Another Jackson that made it onto our Halloween Bookshelf – The Haunting of Hill House).

We Have Always Lived in the Castle follows two sisters, Merricat and Constance Blackwood, living with their ailing uncle Julian in a mansion outside of town. Six years ago, the rest of the Blackwood family was murdered one night at dinner – arsenic in the sugar (Constance never took sugar and Merricat had been sent to bed early). The murders were never solved.

In a typical Jackson-esque fashion, the family is outcasted from the rest of the town with school children taunting the sisters:

Merricat, said Connie, would you like to go to sleep?
Down in the boneyard ten feet deep!

“Merricat, said Constance, would you like a cup of tea?”
“Merricat, said Constance, would you like to go to sleep?”
“Oh, no, said Merricat, you’ll poison me.”

Filled with chilling moments and weird, unsettling dialogue (“I wonder if I could eat a child if I had the chance.’ ‘I doubt if I could cook one,’ said Constance.”) this is a great book to put you in the Halloween Spirit.


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