There’s no question that A Spell of Winter is exceptionally well written. The prose is heartbreaking and extremely affecting, but the story is immensely depressing. It comes as no surprise to me that this book won critical success (and the Orange Prize for Fiction), but it certainly wasn’t particularly pleasant to read. When it was over I felt a tremendous sense of relief.
I would only recommend this book to someone who’s completely weighed down with depression and wants to watch someone else embrace and ultimately come undone by seclusion and sadness.