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Author:  Nancy Werlin

A beautifully wrought modern fairy tale from master storyteller and award-winning American author Nancy Werlin.

Lucy is seventeen when she discovers that she is the latest recipient of a generations-old family curse that requires her to complete three seemingly impossible tasks or risk falling into madness and passing the curse on to the next generation. Unlike her ancestors, though, Lucy has family, friends and love. Is it enough to keep her safe?

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Apr 12,2011
Lucy is cursed; like her mother before her, and her grandmother, and her great grandmother… all Scarborough women are doomed.

Scarborough women are destined to fall pregnant at 18, have a baby girl and then go completely insane. It’s true – because Lucy has seen it happen. She was adopted by Soledad and Leo when she was just a baby, because after she was born her mother lost her mind. Lucy is 17 now, and she still sees her birth mother, Miranda. Miranda is the bag lady who hangs around outside the school gates, she yells abuse at passersby and sometimes follows Lucy home… always singing a haunting tune…

That melody is the key to breaking the Scarborough curse. Steeped in folklore, the song ‘Scarborough Fair’ tells the tale of a woman completing three seemingly impossible tasks to keep her ‘true love’.

Make a magic shirt without needle or seam
Find an acre of land between the salt water and the sea strand
Plow the land with a goat’s horn, and sow it with one grain of corn.

It is up to Lucy to break the curse: complete the tasks and save the Scarborough women, herself and her unborn baby…

Wow. Just, ‘wow’. Nancy Werlin’s novel is a modern fairytale - equal parts macabre, fantastical and romantic.
Werlin’s book harks back to the darker tales of the Brother’s Grimm, as the story begins with a sinister plot trigger that sets events in motion. Lucy is raped, and nine weeks later discovers that she is pregnant. This is quite a dark beginning; but the rape scene and Lucy’s subsequent trauma are written with such honesty and tenderness that you can’t help but marvel at Werlin’s skill and finesse.
‘Impossible’ has a dark beginning… but Werlin does not turn Lucy into a victim because of it. Instead, her rape and subsequent pregnancy are what sets Lucy off on her heroes’ journey. Because with her pregnancy comes the revelation of her ancestry – and the truth behind the old folk song, ‘Scarborough Fair’.
At its heart ‘Impossible’ is a love story, in keeping with the fairytale archetype. There is true love’s kiss, happily ever after and a knight in shining armour. On the journey to breaking her families’ curse, Lucy enlists the help of her childhood friend and next-door-neighbour, Zach Greenfield. As Lucy sets out to complete the three impossible tasks, she also discovers that Zach is her true love…
“What are you thinking?” Lucy insisted.
Zach shook his head. His grip on her hands was as strong as hers was on his. His grin didn’t fade. “Just say it again, Luce. Say again what you just said.”
“About you being smug?” she teased
“No. The other thing.”
She cocked her head to the side. She peeked down at him through her lashes. She came to the same incredible conclusion, but this time she allowed an entire minute to pass before she smiled and said it again. “I love you, Zach.”
I loved Zach and Lucy’s relationship. They’ve known each other since they were children, growing up as next-door-neighbours. But in ‘Impossible’ Werlin tells the story of their evolving feelings – friendship to romantic relationship. Werlin beautifully articulates Lucy and Zach’s shifting feelings, from awkward encounters to heated professions of love. Their romance was the perfect counter-point to the novel’s sinister beginning, and acts as a life raft for Lucy when her world spirals out of control;
They were silent.
Then: “Thank you,” Zach said formally. “For choosing me. Trusting me. And, Luce?”
“You could be having wild hallucinations, and still I’d be looking around for whatever caused it, because I’d know it was grounded in something real.”
'Impossible' drags fairytale and folklore into modern day and takes readers on a magnificent journey. The knight in shining armour is the boy next door. The riddle to be solved can be found in a Simon & Garfunkel song. There’s a bag-lady prophet. And the damsel in distress is an unwed pregnant teenager. Nancy Werlin’s novel is haunting and dazzling, and I loved every page of it.
Apr 08,2011

Another book for teens dealing with true love and the supernatural. This one is refreshing in that it is not about vampires or fallen angels or faeries – it has more of a folksy feel, the ‘love’ has been developing since the two protagonists were both kids, and it just feels softer somehow, not so in your face. It is refreshingly different but not entirely successful.

Werlin’s writing is quite evocative and dreamy, which suits the folksy romantic elements of the book. I love folk songs so it was nice to see Scarborough Fair make an appearance, but I don’t think Werlin tapped into the true potential of it.

Full review at:


Apr 06,2011

Lucy Scarborough had always known her mother was crazy. Literally, she was insane. More accurately she was a homeless crazy bag lady as far as Lucy could see. But that was only on the occasions Lucy would see her, but where she went to when she disappeared no one knew.

When she was seven Lucy made a discovery, one that would change her life. But being seven and as yet unable to read fluently this discovery was put aside and all but forgotten but for a spell created and made on a childish whim. A spell that may just one day save her life.

When she was seventeen Lucy learned the truth, well the truth as her mother believed it to be. But would believing her mother really be the key to her salvation, or was it yet more ranting from a mind lost to insanity and would listening to it only lead to insanity for Lucy herself?

More importantly would Lucy, being only seventeen with her only experience with a boy being a horrible and traumatic one, be able recognise true love when she saw it? Especially if true love was her only saving grace from a ancient curse that had already taken all her family before her.

Taken from the balled 'Scarborough Fair', Impossible is more then just a tuneful song, it is a story of magic, heartbreak and love. But Impossible is only one way to describe the puzzling tasks Lucy must undertake to break an ancient curse that has plagued her family for generations. This is an emotional story with true love at its heart.



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