ARC Review // House of Salt and Sorrows

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Title: House of Salt and Sorrows
Author: Erin A. Craig
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Published: August 6th 2019
Pages: 416 pages [ebook]

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. . . .

Four of Annaleigh Thaumas's eleven sisters have returned to the Salt, the brackish water that surrounds their lonely island home, their lives cut short, each more tragically than the last. Whispers throughout the Highmoor estate say the girls have been cursed by the gods.

When Annaleigh finds out that her sisters have been sneaking out to attend glittering midnight balls and dance until dawn, she's not sure whether to stop them--or join them. And when she begins to see a series of horrific, ghostly visions and more sisters die, she realizes she must solve the mystery--with the help of Cassius, a sea captain who knows much more about her than he should--and unravel the Thaumas curse before she descends into madness or . . . it claims her next.

House of Salt and Sorrows is an ode to all the Gothic tales that haunted us at night. I simply couldn't put down this tale of ghosts, mysteries and dancing girls once I started it. A hauntingly-beautiful retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, House of Salt and Sorrows stole and shattered my heart. 

Storytelling: A tale of eight haunted sisters and chilling phantoms, House of Salt and Sorrows kept me on the edge of my seat with all its twists and turns. There are no words to describe how I fell completely and unconditionally in love with the writing. Erin A. Craig's writing is eerie and spellbinding. The descriptions are enticing and yet terrifying.

"We are born of the Salt, we live by the Salt, and to the Salt we return."

Through words, the author crafted a spooky world where dreams and nightmares intertwine, creating a tale about sisterly love, soul-shattering loss, gloomy shadows and dark secrets - all the needed ingredients to write the perfect Gothic tale. The story is creepy with an imagery that would be applauded by Ann Radcliffe and Edgar Alan Poe.

Characters: Annaleigh Thaumas, the second oldest of now eight sisters, loves her family wholeheartedly. After, Eulalia, her oldest sister and Highmoor's heir, passes away, Annaleigh is convinced that she was murdered and didn't fall off a cliff accidentally, as everyone believes. Going against her family, who vehemently shuns her theories, and putting her sanity at risk, Anneleigh decides to unveil the dark secrets hidden in the many floors of Highmoor in an attempt to discover if her family is indeed cursed or if there's a murderer running free on the island. I quite enjoyed Annaleigh's inquisitive nature and that she never gave up, even when faced with obstacles. I also enjoyed how protective she was of her family - she would do anything to protect her sisters - and how much she loved them - against her beliefs, she ended her mourning period earlier so that her sisters could have beautiful colourful dresses and attend never-ending balls without feeling guilt.

Regarding the slow-burning romance, I had my doubts in the beginning (I was worried that there would be a love triangle), but, in the end, it was perfect. I don't want to say much because I will start gushing about the romance and I'll spoil it (that's why I'm not even mentioning the suitor's name in this review). In few words, he is charming and swoon-worthy.

World building: The atmospheric sea setting and Highmoor are the perfect background for this frightening Gothic tale, where Gods mingle with humans and curses prey on innocent girls. The world crafted by Craig was alluring. I loved the culture she built and all the myths and folk tales about Pontus, the Sea God, and the Salt people as well as all the little details about the five islands (Selkirk, Astera, Salten, Vasa and Hesperus) that were part of the Thaumases girls' world.

The five Salann islands spread across the Kaleic Sea like jewelled clusters of a necklace.

The descriptions of the landscapes were stunning if yet there was something chilling about them. In the end, I just wanted to learn everything that I could about this world of humans and Gods, of shadows and curses.

Trigger Warning! Suicide, violence and bloody scenes.

Thank you to Penguin Random House for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.


  1. I've wanted to read this book for a while, but now I'm even more desperate! Your review is beautifully written and this novel sounds sensational. I adore all things Gothic, and every aspect of this story sounds incredible.

  2. Eeeek! I'm so happy you loved this one! I'm so excited to get it! It sounds so unique! Great review!
    Genesis @ Whispering Chapters

  3. This was a very good review. Now I'm even more interested in reading House of Salt and Sorrow.

  4. I absolutely love the cover for this and I've heard a lot of things that both make me want to read it and really not want to read it! I think it'll be one I'll buy and some point and it'll sit on my kindle for a random amount of time until I finally read it on a whim, lol.

    Good review though. I appreciate the warnings and info without spoilers. :)

  5. I love fairytale retellings! It's fantastic to hear that the world building and romance are well done. Annaleigh also sounds like a great protagonist.

  6. I didn't realize this was a retelling. It sounds like such a beautiful story and I may just have to pick up a copy for the retellings challenge I'm taking part in.

  7. Great review!! I can't wait to read this one it sounds soo good!!

    ~Kendra @ Kendra Loves Books

  8. I've been wanting to read this one! Great review 🙂

  9. I've been eager to see what people think of this one, since I haven't read a retelling of Twelve Dancing Princesses. Sounds like a spooky, atmospheric read!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction