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All booksYoung adultHouse of Salt and Sorrows
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
Young adult

House of Salt and Sorrows

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Erin A. Craig, on your first book!

by Erin A. Craig

Quick take

A magical princess fairy tale, but much darker. Think: death, mystery, and creepy, Brothers Grimm vibes.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Scary


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Magical


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_BasedOnAClassic

    Based on a classic

Why I love it

Lily Philpott

I'm convinced I was uniquely positioned to love this book—but I’m equally convinced that you'll love it too. “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” the Brothers Grimm fairy tale that House of Salt and Sorrows riffs on, is my favorite fairy tale, and this book is a retelling par excellence: There’s devoted sisters, strong women, and lush descriptions of period fabrics and clothing (I'm a sucker for an iridescent ball gown).

This is the story of Annaleigh Thaumas, who lives with her father, stepmother, and sisters in a beautiful but haunted island manor. Tragedy has claimed the lives of four of her twelve sisters, and it soon becomes clear that their deaths were not an accident. By turns spooky and romantic, the book follows Annaleigh to enchanted balls and beyond as she fights to protect her sisters—and brushes up against the cosmology of major and minor gods that populate the book and control her fate.

This book was a sheer pleasure to fall into. It’s beautifully detailed, gorgeously written, and completely unpredictable, with a strong-willed female character at its heart. I loved watching Annaleigh defend her family in the face of enchanting strangers and ghosts. If you love fairy tales, dark magic, and a touch of horror, I recommend picking up Erin Craig’s excellent debut.

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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.

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Check out a preview of House of Salt and Sorrows.

Member thoughts

All (696)
All (696)
Love (417)
Like (231)
Dislike (48)
708 ratings
  • 59% Love
  • 33% Like
  • 7% Dislike
  • Spearfish, SD

    I couldn’t put this book down!! A neat spin on the fairy tale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” where the world isn’t spelled out for you from the get go, you need to keep reading to put it together.

  • Seattle, WA

    Was thoroughly shocked by some of the twists. A few things I saw, a few I expected and a few was completely flabbergasted by. However, knowing the fairytale it’s based on they now make sense. So good!

  • Tampa, FL

    House of Salt and Sorrow was riveting page turner that comes with the most unexpected climaxes. Written a almost poetic quality and a need to solve the mystery at hand, the writer keeps you guessing!

  • Cocoa, FL

    A great retelling of a much loved old tale. The eerie and somber family really sets the stage for an ominous story. I had the sense that things were not as they seemed- but did not know why. Loved it!

  • League City, TX

    Draws you in fast. An awesome page turner. This book is a great mix of general fiction and thriller! I was dying to get to the end and find out who was behind it all. Definitely recommending this one

  • Mullica Hill, NJ

    What a surprise this book was! I was expecting a little mystery, but nothing as creepy and magical as what I was pulled into. I couldn't put this book down by the end and I loved everything about it!

  • Las Vegas, NV

    This book was amazing! A cross between a Brothers Grimm tale and a modern, unreliable female narrative story. It was a mystery, a fairy tale and a time period piece with gorgeous rich descriptions.


    I loved this unusual blend of fairytale, spine-tingling mystery story and romance! Situated in a rich world, the book kept me on edge about what was real and wasn't and I just couldn't put it down!


    This is one of the best BOTMC books yet. Absolutely brilliant from start to finish--especially that moment when the floor drops out from under you. Original and well done. I want more of these!

  • Knoxville, TN

    From the synopsis I wasn’t sure if this book was for me, but I was so wrong. The atmosphere was spine tingling, the plot kept me guessing, and I LOVED the romance. Good luck putting this down

  • Baton Rouge, LA

    This was such a good book! Easily one of the best I’ve read this year. Wonderful retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. This gothic fairy tale is everything I’ve been needing to read!

  • Las Vegas, NV

    This was a great take on the fairy tale of the 12 Dancing Princesses, I love the authors writing style and felt like she really developed the characters really well. Plus it was so atmospheric!


    A dark fairytale retelling with magic, mystery, poetically descriptive storytelling, and a good dose of creepiness, House of Salt and Sorrows proved to be an ideal reading experience for me!

  • Brooklyn, NY

    This book def was one of my fave fairytale retales. It def left me guessing till the end and kind of messed with my mind a little. Haha this is def a recommendation to everyone.. so worth it

  • Chadds Ford, PA

    Highly suspenseful and enjoyable, though I think I was so caught up in the suspense/horror that the romance fell a little flat for me. I think this could have been longer, or even a duology!

  • Post Falls , ID

    I can’t speak highly enough of this book! I loved the characters, the storyline and everything. It was a page turner with a surprising ending. In a VERY good way. Definitely recommend.

  • Eagle, ID

    This is a book that stays in your mind! That scene where she finds them all dancing in their own dark bedrooms will forever stay in my brain. It’s a creepy version of The 12 Sisters.

  • South Barre, MA

    This book took me for a spin! Psychological thriller meets fantasy mixed with a little romance. This book follows a cursed family on an island with very specific beliefs and practices.

  • West Lebanon, NH

    A magical retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses. Compelling and riveting! I loved the mystery and the magic and just everything was so compelling. Truly loved it! Fantasy at its best

  • Clovis, CA

    I haven’t read a book that was so beautiful, heartbreaking, repulsive, nightmarish, and just fantastical in so long, I devoured it completely. Easily one of my favorites of 2019.

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