Not too long ago, I binged Haunting of Hill House and fell head over heels. Once it was over, I was left yearning for more. Obviously, there isn’t any more (yet!). I tried to jump back into reading YA fantasy and clear out the TBR stack threatening to topple and bury me, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I’d get about fifty pages into a book and get bogged down.
They weren’t providing the elements I was craving: the eerie prickle on the back of my neck, the spine shuddering revulsion, and an insatiable need to know what happens next. I wanted to be scared, to be on the edge of my seat. Thankfully, Netgalley came to the rescue with an advance reader copy of Erin A. Craig’s novel, HOUSE OF SALT AND SORROWS.
The synopsis for HOUSE OF SALT AND SORROWS does not do it justice. The book delivered on every point.
Annaleigh Thaumas is one of nine daughters in Highmoor–Once she was one of twelve. Four of her sisters have tragically died. At first, they all seemed accidents. One was taken by Scarlet Fever. Another by a precarious fall. But when another sister dies, Annaleigh can’t help but feel that there is another force at work.
While she is trying to unravel what happened to her older sister, it is her world that begins to unravel. Terrifying visions, sightings of her dead sisters, and eerie drawing by the youngest Thaumas shake Annaleigh to her core, but nothing will stop her from finding the truth. Everything Annaleigh thinks she can trust is slowly destroyed until she can no longer trust her own mind.
The town is convinced the house of Thaumas is cursed, effecting the sisters and their prospects of marriage. While Annaleigh would prefer to investigate the deaths, her living sisters are more interested in finding suitors who have never heard of the curse of the Thaumas sisters. Their search leads them to dazzling balls where everything may not be as it seems.
The writing in this book deftly keeps the reader guessing. When I started the book, I thought I knew who was behind the accidents. Then, each chapter had me changing my guess. There are numerous characters who stroll across the page. At first, they can feel trivial. There are some obvious misdirections, but the true clues are subtle. Perhaps I’m the kind of person to abandon myself to a story, but the journey was altogether enjoyable.
The setting is clear and vivid.. Not only does Craig expertly weave the imagery into the writing, but her world building is similarly woven into the narrative. There are few times when the story stops to drop some heavy world building information, keeping it from weighing down the fast paced narrative. This world comes into sharp clarity, leaving the taste of salt on your tongue and the spray of water on your cheeks.
My only complaint is the romance. To be honest, it’s a really minor complaint and I can see teens truly enjoying the romance aspect of this book. The love interest is interesting, otherworldly, and committed. Deeply. Committed.
That really is my only complaint. The love interest’s only role is to be Annaleigh’s beau. It’s super obvious and one-note. His commitment is honorable, but rather boring. His secrets make up for it and make him the kind of guy any teen would love. I would have liked him to be a bit more well rounded, but it didn’t stop me from rooting for him.
HOUSE OF SALT AND SORROWS is a great, read for those who enjoy Crimson Peak and Haunting of Hill House. Be sure to read it with one foot in the ocean, if you can handle it.
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.*