Review: House of Roots and Ruin by Erin A. Craig

House of Roots and Ruin by Erin A. Craig cover shows what might have been the inside of a very overgrown greenhouse with poisonous-looking plants.

House of Roots and Ruin (Sisters of Salt #2)
Erin A. Craig
Delacorte Press
Published July 25, 2023

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About House of Roots and Ruin

A modern masterpiece, this is a classic Gothic thriller-fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Erin A. Craig, about doomed love, menacing ambition, and the ghosts that haunt us forever.

In a manor by the sea, one sister is still cursed.

Despite dreams of adventures far beyond the Salann shores, seventeen-year-old Verity Thaumas has remained at her family’s estate, Highmoor, with her older sister Camille, while their sisters have scattered across Arcannia.

When their sister Mercy sends word that the Duchess of Bloem—wife of a celebrated botanist—is interested in having Verity paint a portrait of her son, Alexander, Verity jumps at the chance, but Camille won’t allow it. Forced to reveal the secret she’s kept for years, Camille tells Verity the truth one day: Verity is still seeing ghosts; she just doesn’t know it.

Stunned, Verity flees Highmoor that night and—with nowhere else to turn—makes her way to Bloem. At first, she is captivated by the lush, luxurious landscape and is quickly drawn to charming, witty, and impossibly handsome Alexander Laurent. And soon, to her surprise, a romance . . . blossoms.

But it’s not long before Verity is plagued with nightmares, and the darker side of Bloem begins to show through its sickly-sweet façade. . . .

House of Roots and Ruin on Goodreads

My Review

I read this immediately after finishing HOUSE OF SALT AND SORROWS (my review isn’t live yet), but I don’t think you would need to read one read the other. Verity is a minor character and very young in the first book of the series. There are a couple of references to what happened, but they’re pretty carefully explained.

I think the pacing of this book is a lot smoother than the first one. At least, that’s how it felt to me. The last several chapters are pretty intense, but they didn’t feel as rushed as the same part of the story in the first book.

I also really enjoyed Verity’s character and the relationship between her and Alex. They were so sweet together, which was really cool in contrast to the dark, intense plot of the story. I thought it was cool to see this book feature a love interest who uses a wheelchair. I am not qualified to evaluate the representation, but I enjoyed the inclusion.

Of the two Sisters of the Salt books, this one is easily my favorite. I think readers who enjoyed A FORGERY OF ROSES by Jessica S. Olson would like the romance and creepy gothic setting of this book.

House of Roots and Ruin on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Verity is white. Her employer, Dauphine and her son Alex are people of color. Alex is paralyzed from his thighs down and uses a wheelchair.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
One of Verity’s sisters has a secret romance with a woman. Kissing between boy and girl. Vague references to sex (Alex worries whether this will be possible for him.). Verity discovers a secret bookshelf filled with pornographic books. She briefly but explicitly describes what she sees. One scene shows a boy and girl having sex.

Spiritual Content
Verity sees ghosts, but she can’t tell which of the people she sees are ghosts and which are not. She encounters some creepy situations, like what appear to be screaming women.

Violent Content
Situations of peril. Descriptions of torture. References to assault. Some graphic descriptions of murder and attempted murder.

Drug Content
References to social drinking. Someone drugs, others through the use of poisons, hallucinogens, and opium.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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