Review: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a haunting, gothic tale about a family fractured by the most shocking of events. There is something almost darkly comical about how Merricat runs wild, a woman of about eighteen who acts more like a strong willed and imaginative eight year old who needs a little guidance and discipline, while her older sister Constance remains quietly complicit in all things, in spite of the dark events that have shaped her life, having survived not only the loss of her parents and her other family members, but the fact that she was charged with their murders. There's a little bit on witchcraft, though its difficult to tell if Merricat believes in any such thing, if she suffers from mental illness, or if she's a sociopath who likes to mess with everyone, including the reader.
I was able to work out who really was responsible for putting poison in the sugar bowl early on in the story, however, I doubt that was the central mystery. The real one is why Constance remains so steadfastly loyal to her sister and the answer lies with careful reading. Look closely at her relationship with Charles, and various mentions of other members of the Blackwood family.
The ending itself is rather fitting, darkly comic with a hint of tragedy.