House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig is a retelling of The 12 Dancing Princesses with a dark twist. Containing ghostly visions, mysterious balls that last all night, and a main character who is determined to uncover the truth behind her sister’s deaths, this one has all the makings of a dark and atmospheric story. Those looking for a unique and immersive fairytale retelling will not want to miss this one.Title: House of Salt and Sorrows
Author: Erin A. Craig
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: August 6, 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.
Review: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
In a manor by the sea, Annaleigh and her family appear to be cursed. Following the death of her mother, Annaleigh’s sisters are dying one by one, but despite what others may believe, Annaleigh is convinced that these deaths were no accident. She decides to take matters into her own hands and investigate while her sisters sneak out every night to dance at a mysterious ball, but as strange happenings around the manor intensify, she must get to the bottom of her family’s “curse” before one of her sisters is next.
❀ Annaleigh is an enjoyable character
I liked Annaleigh’s character, and I enjoyed getting her unique perspective on the strange events that surround her. She has a fierce love for her sisters, doing whatever it takes to protect them, and she isn’t afraid to speak her mind. While she experiences frightening visions that make her question reality, she remains brave and mature. I will say that I found it difficult at times to keep up with the many other characters within the book, but this didn’t detract from my enjoyment too much.
❀ Atmospheric Setting
Where this book really delivers is in its atmosphere. Erin A. Craig does an excellent job developing the setting from page one with the island’s rituals, and she weaves creepy details throughout the plot such as horrific drawings and ghostly visions. As this is a retelling of The 12 Dancing Princesses, this one also contains mysterious balls that last all night, wearing the girls’ shoes out soon after they have been purchased. As the line between madness and reality begins to blur, I was sucked into the story and could easily imagine myself in the spooky manor along with the characters.
❀ Dark and Suspenseful
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig is a gothic take on The 12 Dancing Princesses. I admired the main character’s dedication to her sisters, and the book’s atmosphere is incredibly well developed. Fans of dark and suspenseful reads will definitely enjoy this one.