HOUSE OF SALT AND SORROWS, by Erin A. Craig , Delacorte Press, Aug. 6, 2019, Hardcover, $18.99 (young adult)
The Twelve Dancing Princesses gets new life in Erin A. Craig’s House of Salt and Sorrows.
There once were 12 sisters who roamed the halls of Highmoor, an isolated island estate. They once were envied by all who saw them. But the death of their mother followed by the deaths of the four eldest sisters has left people talking for the wrong reasons. Rumor is, the girls are cursed by the gods, with each death more awful than the last — the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning and a slippery plunge.
Born sixth in the family, Annaleigh never expected to become one of the eldest, but now she finds herself caring for the little ones and watching out for her ailing stepmother. Even as she steps into her new role, she starts to seeing terrifying visions of her late sisters. As the visions evolve, Annaleigh begins to suspect her sisters’ deaths were not the result of a curse or accidents.
In an effort to escape their dismal lives, the girls begin sneaking out at night. They cross through a magical portal into worlds of glittering balls, silk dresses and fairy shoes. As time passes, Annaleigh finds herself divided between her sisters’ forbidden adventures and solving the mystery that haunts her.
When Annaleigh meets an enigmatic stranger with secrets of his own, she finds a friend who might just help her save her family from the darkness that has settled over her family.
Erin A. Craig’s House of Salt and Sorrows pays homage to The Twelve Dancing Princesses while standing completely on its own. In fact, the nods to source material create a sense of familiarity without telegraphing.
House of Salt and Sorrows is a gothic read that reaches out and pulls you in from the start. It’s one of the most engrossing novels I’ve read this year. It’s deliciously dark tempered with light notes throughout, and the plot twists are surprising and enjoyable. I read this in digital ARC form, and I plan on buying a physical copy to add to my personal library.
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