A magical princess fairy tale, but much darker. Think: death, mystery, and creepy, Brothers Grimm vibes.
Good to know
Based on a classic
Why I love it
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.
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.