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.
I don’t remember the story of Grimm fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, but the cover and description were compelling enough to draw me to this book.
This novel is very atmospheric, and leans toward the Gothic side. It’s an engrossing blend of mystery, secrets, magic, and gods, with a tinge of horror. When the ghostly visions began, I was all in, and the imagery is spectacular and chilling. I could easily picture Highmoor manor perched atop a steep cliff overlooking the churning sea below.
When Annaleigh sets out to prove her sisters’ deaths were no accident, the author provides a long list of suspects, all with motivation, and plenty of red herrings for distraction. Although the hints were there all along, I was a bit disappointed at a turn the story took, but near the end, along with Annaleigh, the reader isn’t sure what’s real and what isn’t.
With a suspenseful mystery, excellent characterization, and a Gothic atmosphere, House of Salt and Sorrows is a perfect book to curl up with on a stormy night.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.