This was a challenging read for me. Recommended as a book that a publishing colleague "LOVED, LOVED, LOVED", by an author that a bookseller endorsed, (her previous book Tiger Moon), I was determined to finish this. It took me an inordinately long time to read it. Having just discussed the need for more mystery for YA, this book would definitely fit that need.A very sophisticated European fairy tale thriller. And by sophisticated, I mean the story reveals an ugly contemporary reality with no happy ending. There are many disturbing violent elements to this story which make it true to the fairy tale convention of a cautionary tale.The fairy tale told by the storyteller is a very effective device. The careful evolution of the plot was at times a bit too plodding in the early stages. The mystery unfolds slowly and is mirrored in the fairy tale. The thriller dimensions kick into high gear when a shocking set of circumstances take the reader in an unexpected direction.This is a provocative, controversial book. I now know why my publishing colleague loved it, and I also see the sophisticated talent the author brings to her stories as recommended by my bookseller. A book that I appreciate for it's uncompromising challenges, but realize that it might not be right for the average reader. Opportunities abound for discussion and the novel structure is rich for analyzation.