You have to take your time with this book. It's like eating a whale - you have to do it bit by bit. But it is worth it, because the story will take you by surprise, and lead you to places where it is best to go only in stories. This is a very grim fairy tale based in the reality of 17th century Iceland - a world like ours and nothing like ours. It should cheer you up because your life cannot be as bad as this. A proper Winter's Tale.