- Publisher: Penguin USA
- Format: Paperback | 376 pages
- Dimensions: 137mm x 206mm x 30mm | 408g
- Publication date: 11 August 2009
- Publication City/Country: New York, NY
- ISBN 10: 0142414913
- ISBN 13: 9780142414910
- Edition statement: Reprint
- Sales rank: 107,698
A beautifully wrought modern fairy tale from master storyteller and award-winning author Nancy Werlin Inspired by the classic folk ballad "Scarborough Fair," this is a wonderfully riveting novel of suspense, romance, and fantasy. 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 other modern resources to help her out. But will it be enough to conquer this age-old evil?
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Nancy Werlin was born and raised in Peabody, Massachusetts, USA and now lives near Boston. She received her bachelor's degree in English from Yale. Since then, she has worked as a technical writer and editor for several computer software and Internet companies, while also writing fiction. She is a National Book Award finalist.
By TeensReadToo 22 Sep 2010
Nancy Werlin uses a variation of the folksong "Scarborough Fair" as the backdrop for an interesting combination of mystery, fantasy, suspense, and the paranormal.
Generations ago an angry elfin knight placed a curse on the young women of the Scarborough clan. Each girl became pregnant as a teen and upon giving birth to a daughter, each girl went insane. The only way to break the curse was to complete three tasks described in the lyrics of the song. Until now it seemed the curse would carry on forever.
Lucy Scarborough, now seventeen, has always known her birth mother was Miranda Scarborough, but luck brought her into the lives of Leo and Soledad Markowitz. They have raised her since birth and understand the complications of her life story. Through the years they have been plagued by visits from Miranda. Her insanity has been the cause of many embarrassing situations. Now, as Lucy is approaching her last year in high school, she hopes that she can avoid anymore encounters with her crazy mother and get on with her life.
Early in the story, Lucy is preparing for her prom and her date with Gray Spencer. Her adopted parents are nervous about the date since it is one of her first, and they haven't actually met Gray. As the couple is posing for pictures and is about to leave for the evening, the unthinkable happens. Miranda shows up in her baggy T-shirt and flowing skirt, pushing her rusty shopping cart full of bottles and cans. Everyone is shocked when she begins to attack, throwing glass bottles at everyone in the yard. She is finally hauled away by the police, but not before Gray makes a get-away in his new car, leaving Lucy humiliated and dateless.
Just when Lucy is ready to give up on him and attend the prom with a long-time childhood friend, Gray returns, apologizes for running off, and begs her to still be his date. She happily accepts, but it proves to be the beginning of yet another horrible experience. As the two are leaving the prom later that evening, Gray takes Lucy aside and forces himself on her. The experience is not only terrible, but also puzzling as Lucy tries to connect the gentle high school boy with the vicious act and the sinister voice she hears during that attack.
Weeks after the prom, Lucy discovers she has followed in the footsteps of the Scarborough women and become a pregnant teen. Will her fate be the same? Will she give birth to a daughter, and will she lose her mind?
Werlin creates an interesting mix of past and present. Lucy seems one moment to be a typical teen, and the next, the victim of an ancient evil. The turning of each page reveals another fact about the family curse. The lyrics of the song provide the clues necessary to break the curse, but those clues are not crystal clear and require creative solutions from Lucy and her helpful family and friends. Encouraged by hope and love, Lucy fights to change the direction of her life at the same time as she learns to accept the hand fate has dealt. Werlin fans will not be disappointed.
"Werlin earns high marks for the tale's graceful interplay between wild magic and contemporary reality." - "Booklist," starred review "This unique story flows smoothly and evenly, and the well-drawn characters and subtle hints of magic early on allow readers to enter willingly into the world of fantasy." - "School Library Journal," starred review "Modern logic and methodology mesh splendidly with fairy lore. . . The conclusion is startingly wholesome, comfortable and complete. . . the melding of magic and practicality provides a lovely whole." - "Kirkus Reviews," starred review