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SPOILER: This is part of my Currently Reading series, where I write my thoughts on books while reading them. These posts contain spoilers for the chapters mentioned in the title, so continue reading at your own discretion.

This book is amazingly written, and I don’t say things like that lightly. It’s written in a hauntingly beautiful language that has immersed me in the setting and the story. I can just feel being there with her in the snow and in the blizzard and in the fire. Peggy is officially one of my favourite fictional characters, particularly at age 8-9.

Peggy and her father arrive at die Hutte, which is in a significantly worse condition than James expected and Peggy imagined. James curses Oliver under his breath for lying to him about the cabin, as he gets to work on fixing it. Over the next several months, the cabin and its surroundings get clearer and clearer. We see them getting used to it, to the life there, especially after they almost die during the first winter.

Peggy goes through so much I can’t even believe it. She accepts the idea that everyone she ever knew is dead, that the world beyond the forest vanished leaving behind a darkness called the Great Divide, she is malnourished, and probably not healthy (as we learn later, her teeth have suffered a lot). Not to mention she is just a kid and the only person in her life, who is supposed to take care of her is an irresponsible twentysomething year old. When she has her first period, she has to sit through her father having apparently a mental breakdown that almost kills both of them. It was obvious he was irresponsible, and I called him an idiot so many times, but now he went completely insane.

At the same time, I feel that however horrible he might be, his condition is painfully understandable (after he kidnaps her I mean). And the way Peggy is treated after she gets back home is painful to her, but still understandable. The most heartbreaking thing is that she was hurt repeatedly by him since they left home, but still (before she grows up in the latest chapters) she sees him as her hero and her protector.

Peggy grows up all alone, save for her idiot father, and I can’t begin to imagine that. After he hits her, the whole passage up until she arrives at the river is devastating, and it culminates in her burying Phyllis, her doll (who was such a dear character to me!).

And then there’s Reuben. She sees this name carved on a wall of the cabin and soon after she carves her nickname, Punzel, next to it. She sees him, or at least his boots and legs, when she is little but it isn’t until now when she is 16-17 (I believe) that she meets him.

I feel that this is going to be the best part of the book.