Nancy Werlin makes the old folk ballad Scarborough Fair come alive in this YA novel. The book features Lucy Scarborough who is a foster child nearing her 18th birthday. Her mother is a crazy homeless lady who shows up now and then singing her the song and telling her she is way too pretty for her own good. Lucy finds a letter from her mother hidden in the room she sleeps in and begins to realize a curse is truly upon the women of the Scarborough family.
The women of Lucy’s family are all pregnant at seventeen and go crazy after giving birth to their daughter. Researching Lucy realizes that all the women of her family have indeed all had a baby at eighteen and went crazy after the birth. She unravels the curse by using the lyrics of the song her Mother and Foster Father taught her.
Make me a shirt without using needle and thread, find me an acre of land between sea and strand, plow it with the horn of one goat and sew it with one kernel of corn.
It sounds easy enough but when you are pregnant and trying to figure out all the clues of an ancient rhyme things get pretty hairy. Lucy however has what the other Scarborough didn’t, a family, her mother made sure of that. She also has the neighbor boy who helps her to figure out the tasks.
Just when you think Lucy is going to win, the Elfin Knight himself shows up and offers Lucy another deal, if she comes with him now her daughter and all future Scarborough women will be safe from him. They will no longer get pregnant as a teen and go insane after. Lucy thinks it is a pretty good deal and what mother doesn’t want to self sacrifice for her children?
I really enjoyed this book, I thought the characters were well defined as well as intelligent in different areas of the curse. Lucy grows up quickly in this book and the book lightly touches on some sensitive subjects such as date rape and teen pregnancy. I recommend this to lovers of YA and Fairy Tales.