My rating: 4 of 5 stars
One of my 7th graders read this book as part of her independent reading program. Her comment on her reading log intrigued me. "I loved, loved, loved, loved this book. I've read a lot of books and this is definitely the best. You HAVE to read it!" So she loaned me her copy.
Lucinda Scarborough is cursed as were her mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and so forth, ever since Fenella refused the advances of the Elfin Knight. Until a Scarborough woman can fulfill the impossible tasks listed in the ancient ballad we know as Scarborough Fair, all Scarborough women will bear an illegitimate child and go mad. Lucy has been raised by a loving foster couple, and when she is raped on prom night, they stand by her as she chooses to keep the baby. Along with Lucy's best friend Zach, they also help her try to break the curse. Is Lucy able to make her true love a seamless shirt without any needles? Is she able to find an acre of land between the sea and the strand and plow it with a goat's horn and one kernel of corn? Can she accomplish all these tasks before the birth of the next Scarborough female? I found the writing strong and the characters quite likeable. I was really drawn into the story. I certainly understood why the book appealed to my adolescent student so much! I can't put this on my classroom library shelf although I know other girls who would enjoy this book -- the rape and later, the references to marital sex (although very subtle) would not meet school criteria. I will say that the author handled the rape scene very sensitively, and I think that some of my more naive girls might not "get it" until later in the book when the characters talk about it.
I love being able to "talk books" with my student readers, and I especially love it when they recommend a book to me!
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My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I chose this book because two colleagues recommended it. I also love historical fiction set in ancient times so I looked forward to reading it. As my 2 stars indicate, it was okay. I wanted to like it more. It's a detective story set in ancient Egypt. Nefertiti is married to Akanaten who has dared to start a new religion, with himself as the center of it. Rahotep, a detective from Thebes, has been hired by Akanaten to find his missing wife. Several gruesome murders occur before Rahotep finds the missing queen, and he is tangled up in a life-threatening web of intrigue. The author creates a believable setting, and captures the flavor of ancient Egypt well. But I found the story itself plodding and not particularly compelling, and I didn't really feel connected to Rahotep who is telling the story. I have the 2nd book on my kitchen counter since I checked both of them out from the library at the same time. I haven't decided if I will read it.