Thursday, February 25, 2010

Impossible by Nancy Werlin

Thursday, February 25, 2010
A crazy curse, or more accurately a curse that makes you crazy and your daughter, and your daughter's daughter, and so on. Unless of course you figure out a way to break the curse, which requires completing three impossible tasks. In Nancy Werlin’s Impossible this is Lucy Scarsborgh's legacy to either break a curse placed on the Scarsbourgh women eons ago or wind up like her mother, Miranda, crazy as a loon and dooming her own daughter to the same frightening fate.

I must admit I was unsure whether I was going to like Impossible when I first began reading. I think it was because the exposition took longer than many books I read. However, it would have been a huge mistake to judge this book without reading further because the first event in the rising action truly sets the scene for what is to follow. In the exposition, Werlin takes her time introducing Lucy, the protagonist; her foster parents, Leo and Soledad; Zach, Lucy’s next door neighbor, life-long friend, and eventual love interest, and Miranda, Lucy’s crazy mother. This introduction establishes Lucy’s past and present, which are irrevocably tied together.

Werlin’s plot is remarkably inventive in it originality. The seed of Impossible’s plot revolves around an old folksong, Scarbourgh Fair, which dates back to the 1600’s. Werlin’s version of the song describes three impossible tasks that must be perform in order to break the curse, which was placed on Fenella, the Scarborough woman who spurned the Elfin King's affection. Failure to break the curse results in the woman losing her mind after giving birth to her daughter, and condemning her daughter to give birth at seventeen thus, perpetuating the curse for another generation. Once Lucy realizes that in order to escape her mother’s fate and all her ancestors before her, and with the help of her foster parents and Zach, she set out to defeat the Elfin King’s malediction.

In addition to Welin’s mesmerizing plot, I was enchanted by her characterization. Lucy is a strong rational teenager, who despite overwhelming odds, dauntlessly attempts to complete each task necessary to break the curse. Another author might have easily allowed Lucy to become despondent and even whiny over her fate, but Lucy manages to realistically work through her moments of self-doubt and despair to face the obstacles that threaten not only herself but also her unborn child. I was especially  drawn to Zach’s character. Quietly unassuming, Zach unflinchingly becomes Lucy’s closet allied. Again, another author might have created a character who just willingly accepted Lucy’s fate, but Welin takes time developing not only Zach’s love, but his belief in the unbelievable.

Impossible is a perfect example of how an author takes a thought and nurtures it over a period of time to create a complex plot and turn it into a fascinating tale that holds the reader attentively through out. I recommend if you have not read Impossible that you do so. It is romantic without being a romance novel, it will satisfy the fantasy lover in you, and it speaks to the realist as well.


NatalieSap said...

I share your views exactly on this book! I read it about a year ago, but it all came rushing back to me with your review. Glad you enjoyed it as well!

Jennifer G. said...

I've seen this around, but didn't realize what it was about. I love that song, so I'll have to look into the book. Thanks!

Care said...

I can't help but have the song going thru my head! I enjoyed this review and will look for this book. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hey Jan! I just ordered this book. Loved your review. Can't wait to meet these characters myself ;)

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