IMPOSSIBLE, by Nancy Werlin
Interest Level: Upper Grades
I listened to the audio of this book on my drive to Houston and back, and it definitely helped the hours roll by quicker than they would have without it. I bought the book for our library for a couple of reasons--first, I love Nancy Werlin (I can't keep THE RULES OF SURVIVAL on the shelves) and second, the cover immediately caught my eye.
Nancy Werlin has done a fantastic job of weaving the lyrics of the Simon and Garfunkle folk ballad Scarborough Fair into a modern-day fairy tale, that expertly combines the past with the present, and the magical with the real. It is the story of Lucy Scarborough, a pregnant and unwed girl of eighteen who must complete a series of seemingly impossible tasks prior to her daughter's birth.
Lucy has been raised by foster parents, and everyone assumes her parents are dead or unfit to care for her. One of these assumptions is half true. Her parents are not dead, and while she's never met her father, her mother is someone everyone in her small town knows...or has at least seen. Her mother's name is Miranda and she is the homeless schitzophrenic woman who wanders the streets, singing the same folk ballad, over and over...verse after verse.
When Lucy finds her mom's old diary, she learns that the Scarborough women have all been the victims of a cruel curse. The curse originated when Lucy's long-lost ancestor Finella spurned the affections of an elfin king. When she rejected him by marrying another, he placed a curse on her that would require her to complete three virtually impossible tasks before her child's birth, or she would go insane. The curse was handed down from daughter to daughter, until it reached Lucy. Can Lucy break the curse, and free herself as well as future generations of Scarborough women? What if she doesn't? Will she go insane the same way her mother did?
I am usually not a fan of the modern-day fairy tale, but this one held my interest...probably because there was enough "present" and "real" that it didn't seem as far fetched as many of this genre do.