Everything about this book is so convincing, it's hard to believe this is Susannah Clarke's first novel. I don't mean the footnotes and what must have been the Herculean task of keeping track of an alternative history of about a thousand years (I think it took her ten years to write); I mean about her writing itself. She has a confidence about her voice that make you want to invest your time and energy and a certain amount of love in these characters and her world. And what a world! It's as if the characters from Pride and Prejudice or Persuasion were relocated into a book of British fairytales. I enjoyed this book more than anything I've read for a long time, but since Victorian lit and fairytales are two of my favorite things, I might be a bit biased.