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House of Salt and Sorrows

Written by: Erin A. Craig
Narrated by: Emily Lawrence
Length: 12 hrs and 50 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Step inside a fairy tale." (Stephanie Garber, number one New York Times best-selling author of Caraval)

Get swept away by the New York Times best seller that Melissa Albert, best-selling author of The Hazel Wood, calls "eerie" and "lovely." As one by one her beautiful sisters mysteriously die on their isolated island estate, Annaleigh must unravel the curse that haunts her family. Be careful who you dance with....

In a manor by the sea, 12 sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor with her sisters and their father and stepmother. Once there were 12, 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 her sister's deaths were no accidents. The girls 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. House of Salt and Sorrows is a spellbinding novel filled with magic and the rustle of gossamer skirts down long, dark hallways. Get ready to be swept away.

"An eerie, lovely Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling full of ghosts and gods and a fascinating waterfront world and I'm reading it from behind my fingers." (Melissa Albert, New York Times best-selling author of The Hazel Wood)

©2019 Erin A. Craig (P)2019 Listening Library

What the critics say

"Haunting, atmospheric, and immersive." (Bustle)

"Nothing short of both haunting and mesmerizing...a perfect step into escapism and away from real life." (Hypable)

"A gothic maritime romance...after two centuries of dominance by the realistic novel, we need more than the sketch of a fairy tale. We need personalities, we need individuals, we need to understand the heroine’s interior life, all engagingly presented in this charming remake." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Chilling and atmospheric." (Laura E. Weymouth, author of The Light Between Worlds)

"Evocative details and lyrical, moody prose...a richly conceived story that blends mythic and Gothic storytelling." (PW)

"The novel’s vivid, evocative atmosphere will please fans of the gothic...chills aplenty." (The Bulletin)

"Equal parts gothic fairy tale and romance...compulsively readable." (SLJ)

"This moody maritime retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses blends elements of suspense and horror for a gothic twist on a familiar tale. A memorably built world populated with a hauntingly doomed family." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Heather
  • 2019-09-15

reviews

i went back and forth with purchasing this audiobook. There really wasnt anything i really liked about this book. I didnt like the narrator and the way she portrayed the main charecter. All of the sisters where downright annoying except for verity and camille being one of the most annoying characters i've encountered in a long time. I loved the direction the author was trying to take it, but it was just so many antagonist that it almost made it not worth finishing. all in all i rate this a three. The picture they painted was beautiful. the rest was not.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Booniecat
  • 2019-08-28

a creepy, gothic mystery!

An interesting retelling of the Dancing Princesses fairy tale, this book takes the basic premise and makes it new with a gothic, atmospheric and very creepy story. The narratation was very good, and brought just the right voice to the main character. The first part of the book was a little slow, and seemed to lose its focus a bit as the timely discovery of a magic portal to amazing balls where the sisters can dance all night distracts the main character from her dective work in the murder mysteries, but it is all worth it because the slow, creepy build really brought it all together by about 2/3 of the way in. The author is particularly adept at slow burn, creepy scenes...several times I was on the edge of my seat with the vivid imagery! The threat of madness and real vs fantasy was well handled as well. Most questions were answered, and the world building was interesting enough I would love to read more stories set in this world. Not perfect, but an excellent listen and I will be looking for more from the author!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah
  • 2019-10-30

a novelized folk tale

My favorite part of this story was the description. I would read other tales by this author just for more of the imaginative descriptions.

I also really liked a protagonist who made mistakes, who succumbed to intense opposing forces, who struggled to weather adversity.

I didn't like the predictability, but that may just be me. The villain could be identified by name alone from the beginning. The setting up of some of the story elements seemed a bit ham-handed. However, the concept here is a sound one and fairly unique. It may be reminiscent of a fairy tale, but this veers far from the dancing princesses story I know.

What I really disliked about this book was the audio. I think I have listened to this reader before. Her elocution is great; what bugs me is the nasal quality of her voice. Every word sounds as though she ran it through her sinuses on the way out. I will probably just avoid buying books with this reader in future.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cassandra
  • 2019-08-29

Wow!

I downloaded this before a trip because it sounded intriguing and I needed a longer book to fill travel time. WOW! Craig’s story is a delicious mix of beautiful, magical, mythical, and creepy. I really love the twists and turns she takes the reader/listener down. If Haunting of Hill House crossed with a fairy tale, this would be it. This book was meant to entertain me for a few hours between point A and point B then back again, but it thoroughly grabbed my attention long after my trip was over!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Kelly C.
  • 2019-08-23

Not For Me

I have heard several people talk about this one. I actually do not know if I know the fairytale that is it a retelling for, but I was still excited to give it a try. I really loved the beginning, but then it went a little too slow for me. I liked the mystery behind the sisters and the curse. As the story goes on though it veered off too much. I did not care at all about the ball and the dancing. It just made the story drag on. I wanted to get back to the mystery and if the sisters were killed. There was so much filler that did not bring anything to the story. I know it all comes together in the end, but I just kept feeling like I wanted it to be over. Yes, there was exciting parts but even then I could not get into this one. I should and could have pushed through to finish this as I got so far. I seriously read around 80% and then skipped to the end to get it over with. This one was just not for me.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Karissa Eckert
  • 2019-09-28

Unique but very slow

This was a retelling of the "Twelve Dancing Princesses", which was my favorite fairy tale growing up. I was very excited to read this and it ended up being...okay. I normally love fairy tale retellings but this one was very slow, you could have had this book be quite a bit shorter and the story would have been just as good. Most of the action and excitement takes place in the last few chapters of the book.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life as the daughter of a Duke on a small island. However, her peaceful life has been shattered by the intermittent accidental deaths of her sisters. When she starts having ghostly visions and a mysterious door to another realm is found, Annaleigh begins to wonder if her sisters’ deaths were really accidents at all.

So, first...other things I didn't like (aside from the poor pacing). I had trouble engaging with the main protagonist, Annaleigh, she was just so serious and so good. In fact that's another issue I had with this book; it felt like it took itself way too seriously and was just way too dramatic. No humor or fun dialogue here.

I listened to this on audiobook and the narration might have been part of my issue with this. The narrator does an excellent job with most character voices but Annaleigh's voice sounds breathy and dreamy, almost overdone.

There were some things I liked about this book as well. The description in this book is pretty amazing, I never had trouble picturing characters or settings. There are strong horror elements throughout, enough that the story is very creepy and at points the description is a bit naseauting. I liked how this horror was woven into a classic fairy tale. I also liked that this blended elements of madness and almost Lovecraft/Cthulhu-like themes into the fairy tale as well.

Regarding the horror elements...I would only recommend this book to older young adults. This book includes a lot of very descriptive and gory horror elements. There are also a lot of other mental health things going on here like suicide, madness, and self-harm. Just a heads up to anyone sensitive to those topics.

Overall, although the ending was interesting and I liked how the fairy tale was blended with themes of horror and madness, this is a book I would have been fine with skipping. Personally I wouldn’t recommend, there are better fairy tale retellings out there. However, if a horror and fantasy themed retelling of the twelve dancing princesses intrigues (and you don’t mind a deliberately paced story) you might really enjoy this one.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2019-09-07

Wow!!!!!

This book is magnificently written! Spellbinding fantasy so relatable you would think it’s true. Bravo!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • caylie
  • 2019-09-06

So So So Good!!

It was so good!! Intense, sad, exciting, and just overall amazing!!!! I loved the ending!
There were times that I was confused, but thats because I didnt read the story this was spinned from. But it was good even without that!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • saray hernandez
  • 2019-08-23

Constant Goosebumps

I recommend this book to all who want that chill to run up your spine. House of Salt and Sorrow is always making you question who to trust. It’s Storyline keep me wanting more. Hope y’all enjoy this tale of strange and full of darkness.... with a touch of madness!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Ashley
  • 2019-08-17

full review to come

this one was a little odd. I enjoyed it up to the big reveal then it fell a little flat.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful