Friday, May 19, 2017

Audiobook Review: We Have Always Lived in The Castle

We Have Always Lived in The Castle By Shirley Jackson
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Release Date: June 1st, 2010 (original print date 1964)
Format: Audiobook narrated by Bernadette Dunne
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★★1/2

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

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.

I had zero idea what this book was even about, and only read it because it was on a list from of audiobooks one poster highly recommended. And if you do get the chance to read this, I would suggest doing the audio because Bernadette Dunne does a really good job. You can get a sense of the creep factor with the Blackwood family, and you really get a feel for the time period of when this book is supposed to take place. This book was so eerie, and I think Dunne had a lot to do with that. I was creeped out so much, and that was the point!

So I was really interested in who actually poisoned the rest of the Blackwood family, because I really did not believe that it was Constance. We did have an unreliable narrator in Merricat, because we just saw Constance in her eyes. However, just the way Constance took care of everyone and managed the household made me believe this wasn't a person that would do something like this. Also, what was her motive? I really had to know. Was it Uncle Julian? Someone outside the family? I even thought that they were just never going to tell us, but they did and I was actually pretty surprised by it. The book does leave you in suspense for a long time before you find out who did it, so it was definitely a shock for me! Maybe i missed this, but I didn't get a sense for WHY the person who did it, did it and that does bother me a little.

The whole village is full of terrible people that are just awful to this family. They really believe that Constance did this horrible thing, and even if the court decided otherwise they KNOW she did it. Things just get worse when their mysterious cousin Charles shows up. I'm still not 100% sure if Charles really was their cousin and he was after their money, or if he was just a conman and was after their money. I don't think the book is very clear on this, only that Merricat really does not like this dude. I think this aspect of the novel is really telling that she is afraid of the unknown. This family never ventures outside of their home, and guests are not welcomed very much because it is out of their comfort zone. This family really does not go out of their way to do things they don't like to do. In the end of the novel you can really tell that they will never get of out their comfort zone of each other. They don't welcome guests and they just want to be left alone.

This novel was a great, creepy story that I really enjoyed! It's an older book, but I think at it's core it reflects a lot about society and how people treat each other. This book was actually the last thing we would get from Shirley Jackson, as it was published 3 years before her death. It was so creepy and very much the story of that old creepy house that every kid has a scary story about. I really loved it, and if you are looking for a classic, gothic tale, go read this!

Have you read this? What are your thoughts? Have you read anything else by Shirley Jackson?

Happy Reads Everyone!