It’s difficult to say how I feel about this book. There are a lot of things I liked: the supportiveness of Lucy’s adoptive family, the relatively sex-positive attitudes and the emphasis on women’s autonomy and right to choose what’s right for them, the very fact that it’s built on a folk song (there are so many stories in those). The part that worried me somewhat was the fluctuating attitude to abortion: at times it’s suggested as a natural solution (which it is in the situation described here), and at others there’s very much a “no, every life is sacred” thing. There’s a risk of glorifying teen pregnancy, and glorifying martyrdom-by-having-your-rapist’s-baby which I’m very uncomfortable with.
And yet, as I said, free choice is emphasised so often; several positively portrayed characters express their support for abortion… I think it’s just a factor of the story’s set-up: if Lucy has an abortion, there’s no story, and there’s hints that the adversary in the story is manipulating things.
One thing it does glorify that I’m not sure about is very hasty marriage. The characters don’t seem mature enough for it, and it’s so immediate upon their realisation. She’s having a baby -> we must get married. And then, of course, there’s the fact that the whole plot of the story hinges upon centuries of rapes.
I’m not entirely sure what that comes to, overall. The writing is fairly simple and functional, though once or twice it does capture some moments perfectly — particularly Zach and Lucy’s relationship, and Lucy and Sarah’s friendship. I did feel a push to finish the book; I had to know how the mystery/riddle/curse worked out. I’m not sure I’d recommend it, but I found it interesting.