8th September, 2019
Review: A House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig (Delacorte)
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. 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.
I was utterly and totally in love with this book from the very beginning. I was only losely familiar with the fairy tale that parts of the book are based on which, maybe, made me enjoy it even more, because I didn't have any expectations. The story was a bit trippy towards the end (which is good!) and a lot creepier than I expected (which is even better!).
What had me mesmerised was the mystical seaside setting. I loved the descriptions of Highmoor and Old Maude, and at times it felt like you could almost feel the wind on your face and smell the brine on the air while reading. I also loved how Craig manages to weave different strands of folklore and fairy tales together to create something new. The book is extremely atmospheric and has you guessing throughout. I only figured out what was happening towards the very end, i.e. the author did a great job in playing with her readers' expectations and overthrowing them again and again.
A lot of people die in this book and at times it almost tore out my heart. Without giving any spoilers: Be prepared for some serious G.R.R. Martin-esque character disposals. Yes, it's shocking and heart-wrenching but these scenes help along the story and character development tremendously, so they are needed ... even if that means you'll possibly be using up a packet of tissues.
I read this book during a holiday by the sea, mostly on very stormy nights - if you are able to read it in a similar surrounding, I highly recommend it. It will make you feel like you're right inside the story. :-) If you don't have the sea close to you, a blustery autumn day will of course do as well. But really, this book is so good that it probably works anywhere.
Final verdict: A perfect eerie read with wonderful characters and mesmerising atmosphere. Highly recommended!
Rating: 5/5 stars
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