Title: House of Salt and Sorrows
Author: Erin A. Craig
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling, Mystery
Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.
Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?
When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.
Inspired by the twelve dancing princesses, House of Salt and Sorrows follows the Thaumas household who have known nothing but death and grief for years. They’re said to be cursed by those of Salann Islands, but is it really a curse or is something or someone more sinister at play?
This book has some of the best writing I’ve come across. We have eleven characters crucial to the story and while the story is told from Annaleigh’s perspective I truly felt like I knew each character. Each had such a distinct voice and while I may not be able to keep the names straight I knew who each was. Seriously Craig might be a magician because nothing is more annoying than when all the characters sound the same and start to run together.
We definitely have quite a bit of magic occurring in this book and the rules were laid out in a way that made sense. Gods, goddesses and tricksters all running wild. It actually took me a hot minute to realize that these figures had an actual foothold in the world and were not just statues being prayed to.
I loved the sisters and their bond, especially sweet little Verity. Each were so unique and they would do anything for one another. It was obvious their father really loved them all too, not at all upset they weren’t boys which was really refreshing. Women had rights and Camille, the oldest, was set to inherit the estate. None of the sisters were bitter about it nor did they fight over it. It wasn’t an inheritance game but a fight to save each other.
Annaleigh was so kind even in her own head. Practical yet still fun and willing to fight for answers when no one else would. We also get a bit of romance through her. I thought it was going to be a triangle but that was quickly dispelled. I never questioned the sincerity of Cassius or if he was behind the deaths of the other girls. It was a tad insta-love but you could tell the connection was genuine.
House of Salt and Sorrows exuded a haunting, goose-bump inducing atmosphere. It honestly creeped me out at times and, like Annaleigh, I found myself questioning everything. Were the deaths of her sisters just tragic accidents? Murders? Were they truly cursed? I needed to know and I loved that my guesses were so wrong but everything still made sense. I honestly never saw the ending coming.
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