Is it fair that one person has to pay a debt for an obligation made by an ancestor many generations before them? Nancy Werlin gives us a story about a girl from a very wealthy family who has to face this dilemma. Phoebe's mother is a descendant of a man who made a deal with a fairie queen in order to create a financial dynasty. It seems that Phoebe will have to repay his debt.
Mallory appears at Phoebe's school one day, looking quite lost and wearing bizarre clothes. Phoebe turns her back on her priveleged friends and befriends her. Little does Phoebe know that Mallory has an alterior motive.
"Yes, Your Majesty. Phoebe - the girl - we are best friends now. That is what humans call it: best friends. With time I will be able to make her do exactly as we wish. But Your Majesty! I have tired you. Would you rest now? I can come back."
"I am only a little tired. I am not so sick yet, my child. Very well. You may have the time you say you require. It will not, after all, be the longest time that a faerie has ever masqueraded as a human."
"Thank you, Your Majesty. This is just a delay. I won't fail you or our people, I won't. You may rely on me. In the end I will do exactly as I have promised."
It is an intriguing question about how long a family can enjoy the fruits of an arrangement before they have to settle a debt. In this case, over 200 years pass before the opportunity arises for the fairies to collect and Phoebe is the price. Is there no alternative?
I liked this book except for some aspects which seemed forced and necessary only to make the story work. For instance, Mallory's "mother" is a mentally disturbed woman whose true daughter (named Mallory) had died. This Mallory moves in with her, helps her keep up with her drugs and Skittles addiction, and no one worries too much about the situation. Did the school not notice that someone is taking the place of someone they thought had died? Oh, well. It is a fantasy and we shouldn't worry about such details.
My rating for this book: +++