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.
Review: 4 Stars
House of Salt and Sorrows is a book that I actually wasn’t really excited about when I started it because I forgot what it was supposed to be about by the time I picked it up. When I requested a review copy I was excited to read it because I had heard that it was a re-telling of the 12 Dancing Princesses which is one of my favorite fairy tales. This book was extremely eerie and creepy, but also incredibly beautiful and magical at the same time. It is a wonderful retelling and really does the dark fairy tale justice.
The first half of this book was absolutely incredible. There were these horrifically creepy scenes that felt straight out of a horror movie and then there were chapters where the girls were excited about dresses and balls. It was a crazy mix of contrasts and it was all pulled together beautifully somehow. I found myself quickly emotionally attached to the characters and absolutely outraged on the behalf of Annaleigh and her sisters at the way their step-mother was acting. I really loved all of Annaleigh’s sisters, but Camille and Verity were my favorites. I loved the eerie atmosphere and the writing. I loved the magical balls and the relationships and dedication to family. This book seemed to be looking like it was a five star read.
Then it suddenly seemed like I was reading a different book. The climax and the ending of this book sucked. The reasoning behind everything ruined the magic and what was supposed to be the height of the book felt drawn out and boring. I felt like as soon as the girls started going to the magical balls the pace slowed way down. The novel focused on the goings on at home rather than beautiful magical balls that were so much more entertaining. The climax was written poorly in my opinion because it held no intensity for me. The last half of the book was slow and ruined the magic of a wonderfully exciting tale. I felt like the author created this wonderful story and then didn’t know how to end it so she threw the ending together at the last minute. Either that or the ending needed another round of content editing.
Overall I am still impressed. I absolutely loved most of this book and was amazed at how beautifully magical scenes and creepy horror like scenes were all melded into one story. I was very disappointed in the story, but would definitely still recommend this book to horror fans, dark fairy tale fans and even fans of books about magical balls. House of Salt and Sorrows was way better than I had ever expected it to be and I can’t wait for other people to read it and for it to make it’s dark splash in the sea of readers.