Review: We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson

Every literary buff I have every had an in-depth conversation with has always sung the praises of Shirley Jackson.

From The Haunting of Hill House, to Raising Demons, to The Bird’s Nest, I’ve never heard someone mention Jackson’s works without following it up with the word brilliant.

Which is why I chose to pick one of Jackson’s most acclaimed works, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, as my introduction.

Would I use the word ‘brilliant’ to sum up Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle? Keep on reading to find out my thoughts and opinions.

The Book


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.

The Review

This book was brilliant, there I said it.
Before I get into the review, however, I do want to take a moment to appreciate the Penguin Orange Collection edition of this book. I had no idea what the cover meant, but after I finished this enthralling novel the cover design made so much sense.

Of course, now that I want to read more of Jackson’s works, none of her other novels come in this cover so I’m going to have to think of which editions IMG_0629.JPGwill look semi-decent next to this stunner.

Moving away from the cover and onto the content of this book all I need to say is that I was mesmerized from page one.

Jackson has this way of slowly luring out the narrative, while also keeping her reader completely addicted to the overall premise.

I also felt Jackson shined at writing multi-dimensional characters.

Ones that had flaws and yet were constantly evolving those flaws into something else entirely.

I guess the only other thing I have to say is, what should my next Jackson book be?

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Purchase Links

Penguin | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indigo


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