I love when music and folklore are weaved into modern story telling, and that’s precisely what Nancy Werlin does with Impossible. Inspired by the song, “Scarborough Fair,” (and yes, Simon and Garfunkel were singing in my head through much of my reading), Werlin brings what is actually a centuries old ballad into the 21st century as our protagonist learns of the curse of the Elfin Knight.
Lucy Scarborough has it better than many foster children do. Her foster parents, Soledad and Leo, have loved her since she was born and would have been happy to adopt her had it not been for Miranda. Miranda is Lucy’s birth mother, and, well, she’s crazy. According to Soledad, Miranda wasn’t always like this, but crazy Miranda is all Lucy has ever known. It’s not until Lucy is seventeen and in very much the same situation Miranda was in at the same age that Lucy learns of the curse. If Lucy chooses to believe that she is one in a line of generations of Scarborough women who fall into madness after failing to complete three impossible tasks, then Lucy is next. But Lucy has something Miranda didn’t–warning–and three people who love her and won’t let her go without a fight.
Werlin’s blending of realism and fairy tale is brilliant, but this fairy tale is way more Brother’s Grimm than it is Disney. But at the heart of this tale is exactly that, heart. Yes, there is a love story here, but it’s not just about romantic love. The love that a mother has for her daughter is extremely powerful. I speak from experience, and to see how that love plays out amidst a terrifying curse makes for an equally powerful novel!