The first half of the book was slow, peaceful and deliberative. I have enjoyed watching how Ofelia, in her seventies, went about her day. The book painted a picture of quiet joy and contentment I appreciate; of solitude and loneliness. It also showed how plenty of the societal expectations beaten into Ofelia during her lifetime keep influencing her even when there is no more society to enforce them, even as she realized how unnecessary that is. The close narrative distance was a big factor in making feel so vivid and personal.
It also is one of those books where I'm really glad I didn't know anything about them when I started, so I won't spoil anyone's surprise here. I'll just say that the pace picked up a bit in the latter half, and I loved that, too.