Book Reviews

House of Roots & Ruin by Erin A. Craig

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’m sorry, I just…I had this awful image in my mind that when I came in, you wouldn’t be here, that you’d be…And I….I’m not ready to live in a world without you, Verity.

-Erin A. Craig, House of Roots & Ruin

I was so excited to read this book after speed reading House of Salt & Sorrows. I don’t know why, however, I read the first few chapters, then put it down for 2 weeks. I do know that when I picked it back up yesterday, I read the last 90% of it in one sitting. I legit could not put it down it was that good.

House of Roots & Ruin picks up around 14 years after the events of House of Salt & Sorrows. This time we are following Verity, the youngest of the Thaumas sisters. The girl who at age 4 in HoS&S was drawing graphic pictures of her dead sisters. Even the ones she had no way of remembering. Almost 18, Verity has honed her drawing and painting enough that she is asked to go to a far away manor in the area of Bloem to do the official portrait of the duke’s son. Against the wishes of her oldest sister and duchess Camille, Verity flees in the night to go on her own adventure. But similarly to her own home, the enormous manor house and it’s inhabitants hold very dark and disturbing secrets. Verity is caught between hiding a part of herself to seem more normal, and wanting to solave the mystery she has stumbled upon. All while getting no sleep due to a pair of screaming birds who roam the grounds (or is it always the birds).

I loved Verity as our new FMC. It’s not that she isn’t afraid to do things, but she is willing to push past that fear if she knows it’s going to get her where she wants and needs to go. Pushing past fear, to me, is an even stronger quality than being fearless. Alex our MMC was such a sweet soul with a quick sense of humor and sarcasm, but a huge open heart. You can feel the draw between the two of them instantly. One of my favorite things about them as a couple is Verity’s reactions during their first romantic liasons. They are very real for anyone who has not had any romance in their life. Yes, it’s awkward, no it’s not perfect. And you likely will spend a good chunk of it overthinking everything. (Or, wait, was that just me?). I also loved that despite Alex being confined to a wheelchair since he was 4, he never views it as a disability. He talks about adjustments that had to be made to their manor and grounds, but he never comes off as biter or upset. Which is something I love. He is happy with who he is, and he doesn’t spend the whole book wishing he could walk or stand.

Just like the first one, this book had me opening my mouth in horror and fear at many moments. So many things to terrify lie in the pages. But, if you liked House of Salt & Sorrows, you should definitely pick up this book. And Erin Craig definitely has left the door open for another book, which I anxiously await!

Thank you to Delacourte Press, Random House, & NetGalley for the ARC of this book!

Book Particulars:

  • Page Count: 544 Pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte
  • Edition Read – eBook – ARC from NetGalley
  • Projected Release Date: July 25, 2023
  • Dates Read: March 22, 2023 – April 5, 2023

Book Synopsis:
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 into 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 facade.

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