In The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson’s group of misguided investigators discuss the idea that some houses are inherently born evil, and are destined to be haunted from the moment they’re built. We Have Always Lived in the Castle explores the opposite idea: how a home becomes a haunted house.
Daphne du Maurier and time travel? Sure, let’s give it a shot.
That was my entire thought process when I decided to buy this from a secondhand bookstore last summer. Rebecca is terrifying and brilliant, and I figured that if du Maurier applied even a portion of her talent to this story, it wouldn’t be half bad. And it wasn’t. I still prefer Rebecca, but who doesn’t.
Anna Wulf is a writer with one published work to her name. The book was fairly successful, enabling Anna to support herself and her young daughter with the profits from the royalties, as well as taking in boarders in her London house. Although she hasn’t gotten anything else published, Anna keeps up her writing, keeping four different notebooks. In a black notebook, she writes about her time as a young woman in Africa when she first became involved with the Communist Party. A red notebook describes her later disillusionment with the movement in the 1950’s. In a yellow notebook, she writes a novel that’s basically a fictionalized version of an affair she once had. A blue notebook is for her personal diary. Additionally, several chapters are titled “Free Women” and are a third-person description of Anna’s conversations with Molly, a friend from her Communist days.