(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Random House Children's Books on 8/6/2019
Genres: Adaptations, Dark Fantasy, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy, Horror, Young Adult Fiction
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 by Erin A. Craig is a book I had my eye on ever since I saw the cover. I know the saying but don’t judge me…I love a pretty cover! All of that aside, the book was great so in this case, I feel justified.
Annaleigh is the main character and she lives at Highmoor, a fairly isolated manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and their stepmother. At one time she had twelve sisters but through a number of tragedies, four of Annaleigh’s sisters are dead and there are rumors that their family is cursed. As Annaleigh digs into the death of her sister who died most recently, she begins to believe the deaths are not accidents.
There are a number of things going on in this story that really helped to keep things moving and although it may seem they aren’t connected to the main story of the deaths, think again. As the family has been mourning for a very long time, there is a sense of loss, not only for the sisters, but for everything else the girls would like in their lives. They want to be able to go to parties, meet boys, and wear clothes that are not for mourning. When their stepmother takes the opportunity to announce her pregnancy (tackily at the most recent wake), everyone begins to argue that they should be celebrating, and it’s decided that the family will have a party in honor of the twins’ birthday. Annaleigh pushes back a little and I thought she would have stuck to her guns a bit more (even with her father pushing her along) but eventually she joins in and follows the lead of her sisters.
As the party nears, Annaleigh meets a mysterious stranger in town and is immediately drawn to him, but he clearly has some secrets. When the party doesn’t have the outcome the girls were hoping for, they find another way to have fun by going to balls and dancing all night. Annaleigh decides to skip out on this activity after experiencing some disturbing things around the manor, but she also worries that the parties are having a negative effect and taking a toll on her sisters.
I loved how the relationships were addressed in the book. Of course, the sisters are key to the core story, but they had a lot of engagement with their father and stepmother…especially Annaleigh, and it helped to see those interactions and relationships to understand her and her motivations more.
All of these things combine to make an interesting story. I’m clearly not going to tell you all the things here as I don’t want to ruin the mysteries behind it all but there are a number of twists and turns in this book that I wasn’t expecting which made me enjoy it even more. Add to that well-developed characters and writing that sets the stage and atmosphere, and you’ve won me over as a reader!
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to add a finished copy to my bookshelves. Based on this story, I will be looking for more books from Erin A. Craig in the future and I recommend you pick this one up when you can.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the early copy in exchange for an honest review.