“House of Salt and Sorrows” is a novel that masterfully blends elements of fantasy, horror, and romance into a captivating narrative. It’s a modern reinterpretation of the lesser-known Grimm fairy tale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”. The book is a chilling journey into the world of the Thaumas family, enveloped in mystery, death, and a peculiar curse. The tale is spun by author Erin A. Craig, whose writing style and storytelling prowess has been applauded by many.
Unveiling the Book’s Essence
“House of Salt and Sorrows” is a standalone young adult fantasy retelling, with a smattering of horror and romance. It was published by Delcorte Press on August 6th, 2019. The story revolves around the twelve Thaumas sisters, who live a sheltered life in their grand manor by the sea, Highmoor. Tragedy strikes the family as four of the girls meet untimely deaths. The protagonist, Annaleigh, second eldest of the sisters, is suspicious that these deaths were not accidents. She’s further unnerved by a series of ghostly visions.
The story takes a turn when the girls start attending midnight balls, dancing till dawn. Annaleigh is torn between stopping them and joining in their forbidden trysts. The tale unravels when Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger deepens. It becomes a race against time to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family before it claims her next.
A Unique Blend of Genres
The novel is a unique blend of various genres, making it a captivating read. It beautifully combines elements of gothic horror with fairy tale magic. The author has created a chilling narrative that is both haunting and beautiful in its depiction of family, revenge, and love. There’s a good balance of supernatural elements, folklore, and realism which enhances the overall reading experience.
The Plot: A Mix of Mystery and Horror
The plot of “House of Salt and Sorrows” is well-crafted, with a steady pace and an engaging storyline. Erin A. Craig successfully combines the elements of a mystery thriller with a ghost story. The Thaumas sisters’ deaths are shrouded in mystery, and Annaleigh’s efforts to uncover the truth form the crux of the story. The plot takes several unexpected turns, keeping the reader on edge till the very end.
Characterization: A Diverse Cast with Depth
The characterization in “House of Salt and Sorrows” is thoughtfully done. Annaleigh, as the protagonist, is a well-rounded character. She is depicted as a headstrong girl with a deep love for her family. Despite the hardships she faces, her determination and courage shine through.
The other characters, including the Thaumas sisters and the mysterious stranger, Cassius, are also well-developed. Each character has a distinct personality, adding depth to the narrative. The author’s portrayal of the sisters’ bond is realistic and heartwarming, making it easy for readers to connect with them.
Setting: A Manor by the Sea
The setting of the novel is one of its strongest points. The Thaumas family’s manor, Highmoor, is an eerie and isolated place by the sea. The author’s vivid descriptions of the manor and its surroundings create a haunting and atmospheric backdrop for the story.
The Twists and Turns: A Roller Coaster Ride
“House of Salt and Sorrows” is filled with twists and turns that leave the reader guessing. Just when you think you’ve figured it out, the author throws in another unexpected twist, making for a thrilling read. The climax of the story is particularly gripping, with a resolution that is both surprising and satisfying.
The Language: Elegant and Haunting
Erin A. Craig’s writing style is elegant and haunting. Her use of language paints a vivid picture of the world she has created. The narrative is filled with rich descriptions and beautiful prose, making the reading experience an immersive one.
The Ending: A Dramatic Conclusion
Without giving too much away, the ending of “House of Salt and Sorrows” is dramatic and unexpected. It wraps up the narrative effectively, providing a satisfying conclusion to the story. The ending leaves a lasting impression on the reader, making the book a memorable read.
Content Advisory for Future Readers
“House of Salt and Sorrows” contains some graphic scenes, including descriptions of death, childbirth, and violence. It also has elements of horror and supernatural occurrences that may be disturbing to some readers. Therefore, it’s recommended for young adults aged 16 and above.
Despite some minor issues, “House of Salt and Sorrows” is a highly engaging and well-written novel. It’s a unique blend of fantasy, horror, and romance that captivates the reader from start to finish. The author’s ability to create a haunting atmosphere, coupled with a compelling plot and well-developed characters, makes it a standout read. Overall, it’s a book that is worth adding to your reading list.
About the Author
Erin A. Craig is a stage manager who specializes in dark opera productions. “House of Salt and Sorrows” is her debut novel. Her writing style, coupled with her ability to weave a captivating story, has earned her much acclaim. She has a new book titled “Small Favors” releasing soon. For those who enjoyed “House of Salt and Sorrows”, Erin A. Craig’s upcoming works are definitely something to look forward to.
“House of Salt and Sorrows” is a hauntingly beautiful tale of death, mystery, and dancing. Its unique blend of genres, well-developed characters, and atmospheric setting make it a must-read. Whether you’re a fan of fairy tale retellings or looking for a chilling read, this book is certain to captivate and thrill you.