Title House of Salt and Sorrows
Author Erin A. Craig
Description from Amazon
In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.
Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor with her sisters and their father and stepmother. Once there 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 her sister’s deaths were no accidents. The girls 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.
I don’t normally go for ghostly or spooky stories but I had heard so much buzz about this book that I wanted to give it a try.
Some Things I Liked
- The murder mystery elements. This story really kept me on my toes and as much as it was magical and romantic, the story centered around the mysterious deaths of Annaleigh’s sisters. I have to admit, I did see the plot twist coming, but I think it was quite well written.
- Nods to Henry James and The Turn of the Screw. I loved that there were so many moments in this story where our narrator, Annaleigh, couldn’t be sure what was real and what was in her mind. Even the reader couldn’t be totally sure at points if she was crazy or if she was actually the only sane character.
- Downton Abbey vibes. I know what you’re thinking, how in the world is this story like Downton Abbey? But, hear me out. I loved that there was a strong sense of inheritance, heirs, and titles in this story. Much like the central storyline of the first seasons of Downton Abbey, this story featured the ideas of heirs and lineage. Also, the reverence for Highmore, the house. It reminded me so much of Downton.
- The love triangle that wasn’t a triangle. I liked that it was teased at, but that was it. Annaleigh didn’t sway back and forth between her love interests at all. She knew what she wanted, and she said it. I loved that.
One Thing I Wasn’t Crazy About
- I wished fewer of the sisters had died. I thought that overall, the story was very well done, but it left me feeling sad since the author went to so much trouble describing these characters that I grew to love. I didn’t want to lose as many as I did.
“Come not as you are, but as you wish to be seen.”
From what I understand, this is a standalone novel. But, I think the world Erin A. Craig has built has a ton of potential for more storylines. No spoilers, but some of the remaining sisters could easily have their own books or spinoffs and I would definitely read them.
This was a super fast book for me. I started the audiobook on Thursday morning on my way to work and finished last night. I couldn’t put it down. The mystery kept me captivated, the characters were rich and interesting, and, while there were spooky elements, I didn’t find myself frightened.
I also really enjoyed learning more about the Grimm Brother’s Fairytale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses. That was a story that I was not familiar with until I read this book. I always enjoy learning something new when I read a fiction book.
Recommendations for Further Reading
- The Weight of a Soul by ElizabethTammi – if you liked the elements of Gods and Goddesses meddling in the mortal world and the bond between sisters. Give this book a try. It’s coming out in December 2019.
- A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth – if you liked the elements of nobility, honor and respect for titles, and a strong sense of home, give this book a try.
- Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford – if you liked the references to the sea and island culture, give this story a try.