The past week has been one of the saddest in a very long time. A week ago today, my precious beagle Daisy died here at home with my husband and I. I know it was a long time coming, (she was almost sixteen and suffering from kidney problems and a heart murmur) but saying goodbye to her was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. I love her so much; she really was the best dog ever.
Needless to say, I really didn’t get much reading done, and I definitely wasn’t in the mood for writing. There’s a stack of books from the week before waiting to be reviewed. Truth be told, I’m not sure I’ll get to them. I did manage to get through one book last week, though. It was We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, the same woman who wrote The Haunting of Hill House. Really, reading for enjoyment just didn’t feel appropriate, but this one was so very dark and Gothic that it was right in keeping with my blue mood last week.
I’ve never read The Haunting of Hill House, but I have seen the movie. We Have Always Lived in the Castle is not paranormal, but it’s definitely every bit as dark and possibly even more macabre. The story is about two sisters, Constance and Mary Katherine Blackwood, who live on the edge of town in a Victorian mansion on their overgrown family estate. Six years after the unsolved murder of their family by arsenic poisoning during dinner at the mansion, the girls are shunned by the villagers. Constance was suspected of, then acquitted of, the murder, but even so the villagers are certain that she was to blame. The open hostility that the townspeople show the girls leads them to withdraw further and further, eventually becoming prisoners in their own home. Despite all this, the girls manage to eke out a comfortable and happy existence away from peering eyes. One day, a long-lost cousin comes to visit, disrupting the happy balance they have created. Eventually, the truth is revealed about that fateful night, revealing a truth more sinister and disturbing than one could imagine.
This book was not the kind that I usually read. Another book blog presented it as an alternative to Andy Weir’s The Martian, so I thought I’d give it a go. Truth be told, I didn’t see the connection at all. I think that I would recommend this to those who are looking for a lighter version of V.C. Andrews. If you’re in the mood for something dark and more than a little disturbing with an unsettling ending, then We Have Always Lived in the Castle will fit the bill. It’s a quick read — one that can easily be finished in one sitting. Like I said, though, it really wasn’t for me.
Do you read horror novels? Let me know!
Until then, happy reading!
Little Book Reviews