I listen to a lot of audiobooks, read a lot of library books and e-books, still somehow never have enough room on my bookshelves.
I can't tell if this was a gothic romance about the fey, or an extended metaphor for seasonal affective disorder. I spent a lot of the novel not knowing what was going on, but feeling like it was probably bad, which feeling was heartily shared by the heroine.
It's set in a small town in New England or Quebec (corn, hummingbirds and colour change in the fall) in a time before internal combustion. The characters are white, but no one has an identifiably Anglo-Saxon name, or a German name, or a Swedish name (some of them sound French?). No one mentions history/politics/government/nation/currency. It could be any village, except it's so explicitly not any village that it feels like it as much as fairyland is half a universe over.
The town itself feels claustrophobic even before the snow sets in. Everyone knows everyone. No one ever seems to leave. The family with the great house on the hill is cursed, but no one remembers exactly how. When the son of the family returns, he is watched, waiting for the curse, by the heroine most of all. She watches as the hero tries to struggle free, as the barriers between her slightly out of this world village and another world entirely start to break down, as she and her family are pulled into another reality, presumably to their deaths. There's a touch of the Snow Queen in this, and a touch of the Fairy Queen, and a dash of Anne Radcliffe.
All of this is expressed in closely written, vivid language, that makes the barrier between dreaming and waking, her world and fairyland increasingly unclear. Which indeed is the case, and the book pulled off the immersion very well, but by the end it was all so tightly packed together and murky that I felt like I couldn't breath. Also, I'm really unclear as to what was going on.
I'm interested in the second book, which takes up the story in contemporary America.