House of Salt and Sorrows

Twelve daughters once lived in a manor by the sea. One by one, they start to die mysteriously. Annaleigh must figure out this tragic and horrific mystery before she or another sister is next!

Flushed with starlight and moonlight drowned,
All the dreamers are castle-bound.
At midnight’s stroke, we will unwind,
Revealing fantasies soft or unkind.
Show me debauched nightmares or sunniest daydreams.
Come not as you are but as you wish to be seen.

— Erin A. Craig

Synopsis:

At one time, twelve daughters lived with their father and mother at Highmoor, a manor by the sea. After her mother and four oldest sisters die, Annaleigh wonders if the family is cursed by the gods…or if there is someone behind the mysterious deaths. A new stepmother arrives, bringing suspicion and unwelcome change. Then the sisters all start to sneak out at midnight to go dancing, welcoming mayhem and danger. Annaleigh must figure out the mystery of her sisters’ deaths before she, or another sister, is next.

Review:

This is a very VERY loose retelling of Brother Grimm’s fairy-tale named Twelve Dancing Princesses. Erin A. Craig basically covers that retelling in one dinner scene, and maybe a night of dancing. Other than that, this story is pure originality and macabre mystery.

I enjoyed so many elements of this dark YA novel, but there were also other disappointments. While I enjoyed the near-horror elements of the story (super creepy vibes for sure), they really only took hold in the second half of the book. The descriptions of the scenes were so detailed, and I can see it being made into a movie by Tim Burton or David Fincher. Unfortunately, the character development was weak – and with 12 sisters, a mother/father/stepmother, friends, love interests, and other tertiary characters to describe, who has the time?

The plot twists and turns were definitely nail-biting and often shocking, but at times a bit far fetched. There were so many locations to keep in mind and catalogue that it sometimes felt bogged down.

Overall, a fun and creepy read that I enjoyed with an Instagram Buddy Read, but it won’t be one I buy or widely recommend. I would probably read it again around Halloween, since my horror tolerance is low and this one was just the right level of mystery/creepy for me.

Nights like this were meant to be shared, remembered, and talked about for years. Skies like this were meant to be kissed under.

— Erin A. Craig

House of Salt and Sorrows
by Erin A. Craig
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published August 6th 2019 by Delacorte

Summary

This is a very VERY loose retelling of Brother Grimm’s fairy-tale named Twelve Dancing Princesses. Other than that, this story is pure originality and macabre mystery. Overall, a fun and creepy read that I enjoyed, but it won't be one I buy or widely recommend. I would probably read it again around Halloween, since my horror tolerance is low and this one was just the right level of mystery/creepy for me.

— Cassie
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