At a Glance
Title: House of Salt & Sorrows
Author: Erin A. Craig
Published: August 6, 2019 by Delacorte
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
Goodreads Rating: 4.03
“n 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.“
The House of Salt & Sorrows is a fantasy retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princess’ which is a German fairytale told by the Grim Brothers. The story goes that there once were 12 princess’ who shared a room. Every morning the dancing shoes of each of the Princess’ were found to be worn out. And every day their father would be at his wits end to figure out how they’re shoes were getting so worn out. The story goes that he initiated a challenge that any male suitor who could figure out the cause of his daughter’s shoes wearing out so quickly, could marry one of his daughter.
Now while the book is suppose to be a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princess’ to me, it’s less of a retelling and more of a completely new story that just so happens to have some mention of a traditional fairy tale. Because honestly the main plot of the story has nothing to do with the shoes and suitors. I mean yes there is some dancing and yes it plays a part in the story line, but the king’s challenge is such a sidenote that I don’t classify this as a retelling. Which I like.
The other thing to keep in mind is that this book is a Young Adult book and it reads as such. There is nothing wrong with that and I love a good YA book, but for those folks who generally stray from younger protagonist and voices this won’t be a good fit for you.
As with any YA book there is always some sort of love triangle. Generally girl and boy are friends forever. Boy loves girl secretly. Girl meets new boy. New boy is mysterious. Girl falls in love with new boy. Old boy pines for girl. Old boy and new boy have a conflict. etc. There is a love triangle in this book, but I love that Craig made it a sidenote. It’s not the main point of the book and honestly it could have been taken out of the story. But I’m just so happy that this is about Annaleigh trying to save her family and sisters and not about her relationship status.
My biggest want out of this book was for it to be creepier and edgier. If this was being written for an older audience we probably would have seen that and it would have MADE the book for me. But keeping in mind the target audience, I can’t be mad at the lack of the additional creep factor.
I really liked this book. It’s an easy read, it’s not too deep, and I enjoyed it. If you like quick fantasy reads or even enjoy a good YA book from time to time, you’ll probably like this one. ★★★★ for me and you can get the book HERE if you’re interested!