This is a wonderful read. At heart it is the story of an 18 year old girl, Sophie, on the threshold of womanhood - a love story with a very strong mystical, pagan element.
Set in Brittany and Oxford, the first half of the book takes place in Brittany, and is absolutely fantastic. It is extremely well written, the whole area being beautifully described; the countryside comes alive on the page in a very magical way which gives this section a very "misty" "hazy" feel to it. The best way I can describe it is that it is like walking into a Cadbury Flake advert. The mystical "earth power" of the land is certainly well brought out in the book.
It is a very emotional, sensual read and the second half of the book, set in Oxford, deals with Sophie's attempts to make sense of events in Brittany whilst planning for her future, including making decisions about a career and how she is going to live. The contrast in atmosphere of the two sections is very well done, you certainly sense the faster, more normal pace of live in Oxford whereas Brittany is slow, languid, lazy and other-worldy.
My only criticism of the book is that Sophie is only 18, naïve and a little bit gullible, yet at times you feel you are reading about someone older - her emotional responses and reasonings sometimes seem more to belong to someone a few years older who maybe has "lived" a bit more. Having said that, it is still an extremely enjoyable read - a lovely bit of escapism.