As a folk tale, or a fable, this story is brilliant, beautiful, touching, inspiring. Outstanding.
As a historical-esque fiction novel about an isolated young girl's journey to save her mother from a villainous and insane man, it's laughably unbelievable. Laughable, as in, "what the hell is this ridiculousness," as in, so many plot holes and frustrating "real time" questions, I was constantly jarred out of my story transportation.
As soon as I let go of the expectation of a fiction novel that asks me to believe its reality, as soon as I approached the story more as I would a children's fantasy book, or a short tale by someone such as H. C. Anderson, as a vivid, rich fairy tale, with unusually specific and individual detail, I was easily swept up into Feo's life. And boy oh boy, was I committed. The characters dance off the page, especially the two boys who help her and her three (and a half-pint!) wolves! The prose was magical and the dialogue intriguing.
The ending, I held my breath and got a few tears in my eyes. Wonderful hope. Empowering.