A young woman discovers that she is cursed to go mad on the birth of her first child unless she can complete three impossible tasks.
Woven from the lyrics of the ballad Scarborough Fair, made famous by Simon and Garfunkel, Impossible successfully places a fairy tale in the context of modern life without sacrificing any magic at all.
Lucy Scarborough was raised by foster parents after her mother, Miranda, went mad on Lucy’s birth. Now Lucy finds herself pregnant at 17, and discovers a diary kept by Miranda during her pregnancy claiming that unless Lucy can complete the tasks named in the ballad, Lucy will go mad when her own daughter is born. Lucy chooses to believe, and sets out to weave a seamless shirt with no needles, find an acre of land between the saltwater and the sea strand, and plow it with one grain of corn using a goat’s horn. In the backdrop lurks the figure of the Elfin King, who seems to rule over Lucy’s plight, though she does not know yet exactly how.
I tore through this book. It’s fast paced, romantic, magical, and skillfully plotted. I’m not always a fan of updated fairy tales but this one really worked, I think because Werlin didn’t try to make it too contemporary. There was just enough realism for me to connect with the characters, and just enough magic for me to buy the premise.