Impossible by Nancy Werlin. Recommended by CarrieK at Books and Movies.
Lucy Scarborough is seventeen, in her senior year of high school, with a handsome and likable date to the prom, a best friend with whom she can share all her secrets, and foster parents who love her dearly. Her life seems near-perfect. However, seventeen was the age of Lucy’s mother Miranda, when she had a baby girl and then went mad. A family curse passed down from mother to daughter in unbroken line seems far-fetched, impossible, but Lucy might have to believe in the impossible to break the curse.
I’m a Simon and Garfunkel fan from way back, so of course I enjoyed the fact that this folk tale translated into the present was based on the old folk tune, Parsley, Sage Rosemary and Thyme (Scarborough Fair), even if the lyrics are changed up a bit from the version I knew.
Here’s a performance by Hayley Westenra of Celtic Women:
The book puts a rather dark interpretation on this old song: Lucy must perform the tasks in the song so that she can free herself and her family from the Elfin King’s curse. The penalty if she is not successful: insanity and captivity under the Elfin King’s sway.
The characters and their actions and reactions in this story were a bit off-kilter; they reminded me of some of Madeleine L’Engle’s characters and plots, not quite believable or convincing in their actions. It’s not the fantasy parts of the novel that I didn’t find probable but rather the characters’ reactions to the improbable situation in which they find themselves. Would you plow a beach with a goat’s horn, even if you did believe in an age-old curse on your family?
Still, there was something endearing about Lucy and her family and friends and their willingness to fight together against the curse. Just as the characters in L’Engle’s novels “fight against the night” in ways that stretch credibility but also enrich the imagination, Lucy makes a stand in her own way and refuses to give in to the Elfin King.
Solid Young Adult fiction for the readers of vampire tales and dark ghost stories and borderline horror.