Self is tempted to skip some parts of this novel (the torture scenes) but no, she just couldn’t.
Luckily, this morning, we’re still in the fairy tale parts:
My bowl of porridge was full, but it felt empty. The fire blazed in the huge hearth, but the room was cold, as if the snow had not melted after all, had not filled the woodland pool to overflowing and opened the roads for travel. Wee Thomas was forlorn also, his appetite less than I had seen in his illness.
“Ach, fit are the two of you like?” remarked Bessie, taking in our moping faces. “He’ll soon be back and then it’ll be Christmas. What a time we’ll have then. You think your party was fun wi’ the snow, but you’ve seen nothing like Christmas.”— The Mermaid and the Bear, p. 73