Eerie, Spine-Tinging, Twisty Fairy Tale Retelling || ARC Review: House of Salt and Sorrows

by - Saturday, July 20, 2019

Four of Annaleigh's eleven sisters are dead. With this fourth tragedy, the Thaumus sisters decide they are sick of grieving. Instead, they runaway to a magical ball every night and dance away their worries. But Annaleigh knows something is wrong. She suspects that one, if not all four, of her dead sisters was murdered. Nothing is as it seems.

Author: Erin A. Craig
Publisher: Delacorte
Publishing Date: August 6, 2019
Genres: YA Fantasy Romance, Retelling

 I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Official Synopsis

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor with her sisters and their father and stepmother. Once there 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 her sister's deaths were no accidents. The girls 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.


This book will blow your mind.

I could just leave it at that. But I suppose I should explain a little bit. There are so many unpredictable plot twists, so many uncertainties, so MUCH. House of Salt and Sorrows was such a compulsive read for me. Every second I got, I picked it up. There was just so much going on, so much mystery, deceit, worry...oh man.

And it's so creepy. This book gave me goosebumps! I don't read any horror books, and while I don't usually steer away from books with horror elements, it has certainly been awhile since I've gotten goosebumps because I was scared.

I guess I should mention that this is a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Hans Christian Anderson--and that story was one of my favorites, though some of the elements make me a little leery now (a guy following a bunch of girls--while invisible--just so he can marry one of them...). I loved the way the author weaved in some of the story elements. Even though it's a retelling, it's very original in the story it weaves. It's dark, creepy, confusing (in a good way), and just wonderful.


You'd think that having eight princesses in one book would be hard to keep track of (not even counting the dead sisters who are mentioned all the time). And you know what, you're totally right. But after a little while, it did get easier.

It helps that Annaleigh is such a good character to be reading about. She's brave, curious, and very easy to relate to. And the other sisters have such different personalities (for the most part--the triplets did all act pretty similarly, but I think that was on purpose). There were some complex characters going on here, and I was here for it. So much intrigue. So much drama.

I really appreciate the depiction of the stepmother. I'm so sick of stepmothers who are depicted as totally evil--but the stepmother in this book was not. She certainly had her flaws, but it made her a very complex person, and I loved that.

The only complaint I have is the romance. I did not like the love interest in the beginning, at all. There was some serious insta-attraction, which I know is realistic, but didn't seem to jive with Annaleigh's character. But whatever. He did grow on me.

World Building

I don't have much to say on this front. The world we see in this book is pretty small, and there is a certain mythology behind it all, which is very interesting (if not a bit confusing at times). The atmosphere in the book is perfectly gothic and creepy, and the setting reflected that.


I would absolutely read another of Erin A. Craig's books. House of Salt and Sorrows was such a fun, intriguing ride with complex characters. Such a fun retelling--it's refreshing really how good it was.

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  1. I do like fairytale retellings and haven't spotted one for the Twelve Princesses before so this novel has me intrigued. Thanks for the thoughtful review :-)

  2. Oooh I had to stop myself from reading the whole of this blog post as this sounds right up my street! I love fairy tale retellings (probably why I love shows like Grimm) so I need to save this post for later. Thank you so much for sharing it!

    Lizzie Bee // Hello Lizzie Bee

  3. Great review! I love the subheadings, they look so organized. You really cover everything. The book sounds so good, theres few 12 dancing princesses retellings but all the ones I've seen/read have been great.

    New follower!

    1. Thank you! What a compliment! I agree that there haven't been many, but this book will easily fit in with the other amazing retellings :D