I have never, ever read a book that deals with fairies so well. rhube speaks well of Diana Wynne-Jones's 'Fire and Hemlock' in this regard as well.
I loved the characters, and the delicious atmosphere of the book. The feel of the period is very strong without being obscured by perfectionism. I strongly disagree with those who say that it was too long. Everything in there was needed. The canvas had to be that busy to create the sense of the world that they were in properly. I also spend a lot of time thinking about various magical and world cosmologies, and there was something refreshing about a book that did not tie magic into a particular way of operating.
I need to read more books that provide a reading experience of this magnitude.