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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


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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Free sample

Check out a preview of House of Salt and Sorrows.

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.

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Member ratings (895)

  • Kristin R.

    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.

  • Sarah H.

    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!

  • Chelsea R.

    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!

  • Stephanie L.

    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

  • Amanda C.

    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!