Genre: Fantasy Age Range: YA Star Rating: 5 stars Series: No - standalone
In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.
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.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
Where do I start with this book?
Probably, first things first, thank the lovely Justine (I Should Read That) for convincing me to move it to the top of my reading list. She had been gushing about it as she read it, then wrote a wonderful review and so I picked it up rather than waiting.
This book is a gorgeously creepy read. If you don’t read this and come over with goosebumps, glancing over your shoulder at every creak – have we read the same book? The tension is so carefully built, a subtle pressure you don’t notice until the nerves kick in and events start to get freaky. This is certainly an autumnal read, if you’re looking for spooky, lavish books.
The world is so richly drawn that I felt present. From the strong sense of the island to the actual house itself. I loved the more late Regency/Edwardian feel of the world, as I feel like fantasy tends to be either modern, medieval or Victorian. There are all these little attentions to detail, like gas sconces for lights in some rooms, that are just slipped in as the character interact with them. They really helped bring the world alive.
The two love interests are both perfectly nice boys (yay, no troubling romances and two kind, caring boys to root for. Good luck picking). Of course, with such a choice before here, there had to be something to simplify it for Annaleigh. And it’s horribly gruesome. Be aware, this book does not pull punches on the gore. It’s not excessive, but the few times when it’s there, the words are picked with surgeon-like precision for the max creep factor.
Overall, a lovely book and I can’t wait to see what Erin A. Craig writes next!
Read my reviews of other books by Erin A. Craig: