Title: House of Salt and Sorrows
Author: Erin A. Craig
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retelling, Thriller, Horror
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
No. of pages: Hardcover, 416
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
Date Read: July 20, 2019
In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.
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.
Thanks to Netgalley and Delacorte for an advanced e-copy in exchange for a review!
What pulled me to this book a few months ago was the cover and the summary. The cover is gorgeous (!) and that description made me what to know what the heck was happening to these sisters by the sea. The book that I read was full of mystery, ghosts, suspense, and a romance that was actually adorable. Once I found that this was actually a retelling, I was super interested in the original and y’all, Craig does a GREAT job of creating her own story.
House of Salt and Sorrows follows the Thaumas sisters: there used to be twelve of them, but the eldest four have died by more and more tragic circumstances. Annaleigh truly thinks her most recent sister’s death was not an accident, but a murder. While she explores the circumstances of her sister’s death, the rest of the girls find a door that leads them to wherever they can think and that allows them to attend balls where no one think they’re cursed. As the girls begin to dance the night away, Annaleigh joins them, but soon isn’t sure if they’re something that they should attend. As her youngest sister begins to draw Annaleigh along with her dead sisters in a gruesome death, Annaleigh begins to see these ghosts, believing that they’re leading her to their killer or that she’s going mad. When she runs into a mysterious stranger in town, she hopes to find out what is going on soon as this stranger has secrets of his own that may or may not be connected. What follows is a story that keeps you on the edge, is full of twists, and may or may not have scared me out of my wits.
I’m not really one for scary stories, ghost stories, or horror stories (granted I’ve read a decent few like this in the past few months). Craig did an excellent job of keeping it high with the ghostly-horror-thriller vibe and pulled it off well. I was absolutely drawn into the story and as Annaleigh got deeper into the mystery, the more I couldn’t stop reading. This story is well paced, well written, and well thought out.
I loved seeing the development that Annaleigh goes through in dealing with everything that happens in this book. As she’s the main character, we really see most of what happens through her eyes. Seeing her piece together everything that was happening was really well done. She absolutely was truly one of my favorite things about this book. Her journey in this book of grief was one that I could definitely read over and over again. I also really like the relationship that develops between her and Cassius. Based on the understanding that the eldest becomes the inheritor of the estate, Annaleigh is super surprised when Cassius has an interest in her as most people pursue her in the hope that the curse is real and she’ll soon be the inheritor of the estate. But, Cassius is unlike any of the men she’s met before and truly, he’s also probably one of my favorite character arcs included in this story. He truly cares for Annaleigh and becomes a huge part of this story. House of Salt and Sorrows released yesterday! I really hope this is one that you’ll consider picking up. This is a perfect end of summer/beginning of fall read. It’s got the ocean feel of summer and the ghost feel of fall. Truly, this book is one to look out for!