I’m going to put death in all their food and watch them die.

Summary – Six years ago, the Blackwood family were poisoned at dinner. The survivors – Merricat, Constance and Uncle Julian – now live together as outcasts, shunned by the suspicious villagers.

The Perfect Drink – A cup of Sweet Rhubarb Tea would work well with Jackson’s novel. There’s something unsettling and wild about We Have Always Lived in the Castle, with its ramshackle buildings and sprawling gardens. The sisters do their best to subsist on produce from their grounds, preparing pickles, soups and jams to store in the cellar. Rhubarb thrives in the gardens and Constance claims that ‘it has the prettiest colours of all; nothing is so pretty on the shelves as rhubarb jam.’ A hot cup of rhubarb tea, with its tangy sweetness, will remind you of foraging in damp gardens.

The Perfect Snack – The Blackwood family were poisoned with arsenic, concealed in a dish of sugar which they sprinkled liberally over their blackberries. It would be fitting (and a tad sinister) to read We Have Always Lived in the Castle with a big bowl of warm blackberry crumble – a crunchy dusting of sugar, buttery golden crumble, and a filling that is sweet, sharp and sticky with stewed fruit. For a rich nutty flavour you could add ground almonds to your crumble topping (almonds, appropriately, contain trace amounts of cyanide!) Distract yourself from thoughts of poison with a generous helping of cream.

The Perfect Place – This is a deeply disturbing book, and its themes of steady decay and loss make it a good autumnal read. Curl up by the fire and let the sinister atmosphere wash over you.

What would you pair with We Have Always Lived in the Castle? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

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