House of Salt and Sorrowsby Published 06 Aug 2019
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House of Salt and Sorrows Ebook Description
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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 Reviews
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I would say a 3.5 stars. I liked it well enough. I loved the characters and the overall craziness of the book. I don’t think I would read it again though so it’s going in the trade in box. I would buy it on kindle if it was ever on sale though 😉
Buddy read with For Love Of A Book.
BOTM YA selection August 2019!
"As they whispered their strained condolences, I noticed the guests were careful to not get too close. Was it in deference to our station, or were they worried something might rub off? I wanted to chalk it up to the lowbrow superstition, but as a distant aunt approached me, a thin smile on her thin lips, the same question lingered in her eyes, just below the surface, impossible to miss: Which one of us would be next?"
Oh yes, I love a good book that is unafraid to pull a few punches. Here's the thing; initially, I was drawn to this book for three reasons: it's a fairytale retelling, it has a gorgeous cover, and it's got the whole romantic horror aspect down pat. Is this a sub-genre? YA romance horror? If not, it certainly should be. Overall, this one delivered, and I'm intrigued to see more from Erin A. Craig in the future.
Like I stated above, this is a YA retelling of a somewhat obscure fairytale by the Brother's Grimm called The Twelve Dancing Princesses. In the original version, things are much more tame and boring, so naturally I prefer the author's reimagined tale to the original. Instead of princesses being caught sneaking out and then given in marriage to the man who was able to solve the mystery of the worn out shoes, we have sisters who are dying in disturbing, and somewhat unbelievable ways, which explains why our protagonist is so determined to figure out just what in the beard of Moses is going on. Part fantasy, part murder mystery, this is an ambitious book, especially for a debut author, and I think she pulled the entire thing off rather well.
The most controversial topic surrounding this book, at least that I've seen, is the amount of disturbing content included in this novel, so let's start there. Personally, I loved it, but if you are sensitive to disturbing violence, gore, blood, and discussions of suicide, this may not be the book for you. Many scenes are quite descriptive, and there are tons of difficult, yet necessary themes discussed here that may be more appropriate for the upper end of the YA spectrum. There is a definite gothic fantasy feel to the story, which gives it an appropriate darkness, but this is contrasted with an equal dose of romance-complete with a HEA!
I think my main concern is that this is the slowest of slow burns until about 2/3 through the novel. I appreciated all of the atmospheric setup, but it also felt as if there wasn't a bit of action until the explosion of a climax. However, the twist was excellent, and the entire reimagining was creative and unique, which makes me glad I spent the time plowing through the slower moments. A solid, beautifully written debut, and I hope to see more from the author in the near future. Also? I hope we get more retellings from Craig, because she clearly has a knack for dark fantasy.
*I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
The award for Exceptional New Voice in YA Horror goes to...
...ERIN A. CRAIG!!!!
I loved this book so much. It was not at all what I expected but I am so damned pleased with what it turned out to be!
In one word: EVERYTHING!
Annaleigh lives at Highmoor, a remote manor on the sea with her father, stepmother and sisters. Where once there were twelve sisters, at the start of our story only nine remain.
The most recent to die, Eulalie, plunged to her death from a high cliff into the sea. It is rumored she was out to meet a lover and run away with him.
Tragedy has struck the family so many times, in fact, the villagers whisper that they are cursed. While some of her sisters buy into the curse, Annaleigh doesn't. She also doesn't believe that Eulalie's death was an accident.
Perhaps her other sister's deaths weren't accidental either?
Teaming up with a handsome and mysterious stranger, Annaleigh begins to investigate what is truly happening at Highmoor.
As many of you may know, House of Salt and Sorrows is a retelling of a fairy tale known as The Shoes That Were Danced To Pieces, or The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Going into this, I expected a typical YA fairy tale retelling. Fortunately, there was nothing typical about this!
Truth be told, a lot of this story creeped the heck out of me.
There was one night, I was up late, reading this on my kindle with all the lights turned off, I got to a section where there is a particularly lucid scene involving one of Annaleigh's dead sisters and I legit almost put that thing in the freezer! I had to switch to something fluffy just to be able to go to sleep that night.
As someone who is a great fan of the dark and macabre, I must say, I was beyond impressed with Craig's writing. Her ability to conjure truly terrifying moments and atmosphere is absolutely fantastic.
I am calling this a YA Horror, because even though the story isn't exactly a Horror story, I am calling out Erin A. Craig as a Horror writer!
I really hope she continues more in that vein with her future stories. There was an ominous feeling surrounding this whole story. [spoilers removed], it was all incredibly visceral.
I have never read the original source material, so I cannot weigh in on the merits of this as a retelling but I imagine, most folks who have read the original will be impressed by this. In my opinion, this book has it all and if you are a fan of gothic-feeling stories, you CANNOT miss this one. Pick it up, you won't regret it!
Thank you so much to the publisher, Delacorte Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I cannot wait to see what Craig comes up with next! You better believe I will be buying it!
In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed..
Annaleigh, (who BTW, doesn't love this name?) lives at Highmoor, a Manor by the sea with her father, his new wife and her eleven sisters. Tragedy seems to be hitting this family hard, perhaps it is cursed? The villagers think so. This used to be a big happy family. But after their Mother died, the family went into mourning, then four of her sisters died one by one. Annaleigh begins to believe that her sister's deaths are not accidents.
After the latest death, her Stepmother convinces her father that they should stop mourning and dress in beautiful clothing again, have balls and embrace life. Everyone but Annaleigh is on board, but she finally agrees to make her father happy. The new clothing and fairy shoes are not the only new things...the girls also become aware of a secret passage. A passage, or crevice if you will, that will take them to another place, a place of balls and dances, new encounters and new adventures.
But tragedy strikes again when another sister goes missing....
Put me in the camp of enjoying re-telling of fairy tales. In this case, this book is an atmospheric retelling of the Brother Grimm's "The Twelves Dancing Princesses" also known as "The Worn-out Dancing shoes and "The Shoes that were danced to Pieces." Sometimes re-telling’s can be campy but this one was not. I loved the atmosphere. The Manor overlooking the sea, the water, the sea creatures, the sisters, the balls, etc. This one felt atmospheric, Gothic and enchanting all at the same time. Is the family cursed? Why are the women of this family dying?
The book does get darker at the end, but I enjoyed how the book built up to the ending. This book also had me questioning what was real and what wasn't as Annaleigh begins to question what is happening to her family. This is a great rainy day/escape book. It's full of atmosphere, magic, a little romance, mystery, and ghosts. Parts felt a little predictable, i.e. the love triangle, but this is YA so that often goes with the genre. I found this to be a very visual book as in, I could easily visualize what was happening as the Author did a great job with her descriptions.
The Author is off to a very solid start with this debut novel.
I received a copy of this book from Random House Children's and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.