We Have Always Lived in the Castle is the story of a family struck down by poison. The Blackwood family has always been wealthy and goes out of its way to exclude itself from the goings on of those less well-off. But six years before the start of the novel, most of the family was murdered, and now the remaining members—Mary Katherine, Constance, and Uncle Julian—have become even more reclusive. Mary Katherine, who goes by Merricat, is the only one to venture into the village twice a week to collect food and library books. The villagers treat Merricat horribly, subjecting her to ridicule and open hostility. Here we get the first glimpse into Merricat’s dark mind. When Cousin Charles stops by unexpectedly, the real story of the poisoning and the Blackwood reputation comes out.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a short book with a slow creep. As you get further engrossed in the novel, the creep settles in and nests in your brain. I finished this book right before I started an evening shift at work and it stuck with me; I felt all my interactions were shadowed with Merricat’s thoughts. This is not your typical scary story, and I recommend it to those who enjoy a good gothic novel.