House of Salt and Sorrows
Erin A. Craig
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Publication date: August 6th 2019
by Delacorte Press
Get swept away in Erin A. Craig's mesmerizing House of Salt and Sorrows. As one by one her beautiful sisters mysteriously die on their isolated island estate, Annaleigh must unravel the curse that haunts her family. Be careful who you dance with. . . .
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. House of Salt and Sorrows is a spellbinding novel filled with magic and the rustle of gossamer skirts down long, dark hallways. Get ready to be swept away.
-A copy was provided by Delacorte Press for review-
A truly cinematic and unique novel, House of Salt and Sorrows begins during a funeral where we learn that one by one, the Thaumas sisters have been tragically dying. Soon our MC, Annaleigh, starts to wonder if Eulalie’s death was not accidental after all. This novels starts off fresh with a lot of faces, a ton of personalities, and plenty of mystery. I found myself engrossed from really early on, and looking forward to the wild ride this was bound to be.
After the intriguing beginning, though, I found the pacing to be a little off. The story would lag in places until I was getting close to being bored. However each time that happened, the plot would suddenly jump forward to reveal something new, something exciting, even horrific, saving it altogether. So while the pacing could have been worked a little better, I still ended this book with the opinion that I enjoyed myself greatly.
The best part of this story is by far the imagery that the author creates. The balls, the dancing, Highmoor manor, the monsters, the islands, even the weather – it’s all so beautifully depicted. I found I could fully picture everything around me. And while it had me breathless at times, it also made the horror all the more powerful. There is not much I can say about that without spoilers, but let’s just say that the author doesn’t put on any rose colored glasses when describing the ghastly side of this story. This was definitely the most memorable part of this novel. When reading, I felt transported into this world full of magic and Gods, danger and romance. It was absolutely stunning!
There is also a lot of characters in this book. There are 8 sisters, a step mother, a family friend, a love interest and more. It was a tad hard to keep track at first, but the author does a good job of giving everyone a unique personality to make them interesting. The romance aspect in this book takes a back seat to the plot for the most part. Which was a nice surprise for someone like me who dislikes a romantic subplot taking over a compelling mystery. I found there was just enough romance to balance this book out. I did find it to be a bit swoony, however – the characters falling so deeply in love so very quickly. I didn’t really feel any deep connection between them, but he was a puzzling character throughout, nonetheless. I also thought the ending was a bit too happy and convenient. Call me Debbie Downer if you wish, but I much prefer a strong, powerful ending that may have sadness and loss, over one that has a somewhat fluky happily ever after. Especially in this type of story.
All in all, this novel is absolutely enthralling. It brings you into a world that is both enchanting and cruel, dazzling, yet dangerous. Despite my issues with the pacing and such, I would still recommend it to fantasy lovers.