Book Review: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig (ARC)

House of Salt and Sorrows

Author: Erin A. Craig

Publication Date: 06 Aug 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 416

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Thank you NetGalley and Delacorte Press for providing me a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.


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.

My Thoughts:

This book transforms the fairytale of the twelve dancing princesses into a dark, sinister ghost story that makes you weary of falling asleep with the lights off.

 The story begins with Annaleigh Thaumus returning yet another family member, her fourth eldest sister Eulalie, to the Salt. Annaleigh has already lost her eldest three sisters and her mother as well. Eulalie’s body was discovered at the base of the cliff’s edge, and with everyone assuming that the Thaumus family is cursed, the majority of people assume that Eulalie committed suicide. Everyone except Annaleigh. Annaleigh’s young stepmother, Morella, the new Duchess of the Salaana islands decides, at the funeral, that she is done with mourning and uses it as a platform to announce that she is pregnant with a son.

Now at this point, I was asking myself how in the world did this woman know that she was pregnant with a son. She told Annaleigh that she was probably around 3 months pregnant, maybe more, so the gender of the baby should not be known at this point. Also, Morella decided to take a time of remembrance to focus on herself. I understand why the daughters were hesitant to like Morella because that was incredibly disrespectful behavior.

Following the funeral, Morella decided that Highmoor would no longer be in mourning, which was uncharacteristic for the people of the Salaan islands since the mourning period for the death of a relative was a minimum of one year. While Annaleigh was hesitant to oblige, her sisters were eager to go to balls and dance the night away. While the first ball to honor the triplet’s birthday was unsuccessful, the girls discover Pontus’ magical door, which allows them to travel to distance kingdoms where no one has heard of the Thaumus curse.

I enjoyed watching the development of Annaleigh’s character because I saw her as the voice of reason. Annaleigh was the first to accept Morella as a friend and give her a chance when her sisters viewed her as a gold digger. Annaleigh also was able to connect with Verity, her youngest sister, in a way that the other sisters could not since they presumed her to be filled with childish notions. Verity confides in Annaleigh that she sees her dead sisters after Annaleigh discovers her journal is covered in drawings of their rotting corpses.

Without giving away the plot, this story was an absolute page turner for me. Erin weaves this magical tale that is horrifying, heartbreaking, but most importantly, hopeful. The nuances in which she develops the characters made me fall in love with them; making it even more heartbreaking as the terror continued to unfold. Erin did warn us to be careful who you dance with, but were you paying attention?

Rating: 5 stars


  1. I’m really glad someone got a chance to review this, I LOVE 12 Dancing Princesses and so I’m a bit hesitant on retells, and so that means I’m extra glad you were pleased with it! I look forward to getting around to it someday lol

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This book sounds absolutely amazing and I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I love retellings, especially dark takes on certain fairytales, and I really have high hopes for this book. Love your review so, so much! I’m definitely going to bump it up on my TBR.

    Liked by 1 person

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