Goodreads Synopsis: 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.
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Retelling, Mystery, Horror
Date of Publication: August 6th, 2019
Length: 400 pages
My rating: 4/5
A fairytale retelling with a horror twist? Count me in! House of Salt and Sorrows was a very interesting take on an old Grimm’s fairytale, and it took me a little while to remember the original tale. The two stories are similar but only in the broad aspects, Erin A. Craig does an excellent job of crafting a unique plot for this novel. Set in a manor next to the ocean, it reminded me a bit of the Greyjoys from Game of Thrones. Starting with the death of their mother, the daughters of Highmoor have had a string of horrible luck, their numbers dwindling from twelve to eight in a series of unfortunate incidents. Annaleigh, now one of the oldest sisters, is starting to get the sense that something is not quite right in Highmoor, and that her sisters deaths are not just unlucky coincidences.
I enjoyed Annaleigh as a main character. Her decisions throughout the book were fairly believable, which isn’t often the case with horror novels. I get very annoyed when horror plot is driven forward through dumb actions on the part of the characters (I’m looking at you, characters who go explore the creepy basement alone and unarmed!). I should clarify, in terms of horror, House of Salt and Sorrows is not overwhelmingly scary, it probably would constitute a thriller if not for the more fantastical elements. There is also a nice bit of romance sprinkled throughout that lightens up the tone a bit.
House of Salt and Sorrows is great for fantasy lovers who enjoy a mysterious twist. I don’t think you need to be a fan of horror to get into this story, and it’s not overly terrifying or gory. It is a wonderful take on a lesser known fairytale, with its own unique setting. I absolutely recommend this book, and Erin A. Craig’s next novel is out on July 27th, so there is plenty of time to read it in preparation for her next release!
Have you read House of Salt and Sorrows? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!