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Keturah and Lord Death
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Keturah and Lord Death

4.3 56
by Martine Leavitt

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Martine Leavitt offers a spellbinding story, interweaving elements of classic fantasy and high romance in this National Book Award Finalist. Keturah follows a legendary hart into the king's forest, where she becomes hopelessly lost. Her strength diminishes until, finally, she realizes that death is near. Little does she know that he is a young, handsome lord,


Martine Leavitt offers a spellbinding story, interweaving elements of classic fantasy and high romance in this National Book Award Finalist. Keturah follows a legendary hart into the king's forest, where she becomes hopelessly lost. Her strength diminishes until, finally, she realizes that death is near. Little does she know that he is a young, handsome lord, melancholy and stern. Renowned for her storytelling, Keturah is able to charm Lord Death with a story and thereby gain a reprieve—but only for twenty-four hours. She must find her one true love within that time, or all is lost. Keturah searches desperately while the village prepares for an unexpected visit from the king and Keturah is thrust into a prominent role as mysterious happenings alarm her friends and neighbors. Lord Death's presence hovers over this all until Keturah confronts him one last time in the harrowing climax.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Leavitt (Heck Superhero) crafts a darkly gorgeous medieval fairy tale, deftly spun by Keturah, Tide-by-Rood's beautiful 16-year-old storyteller. Keturah was orphaned at birth, and her life, begun with Death, entwines with him ever after. Indeed, when she follows a prized, elusive hart into Lord Temsland's forest and loses her way, Lord Death comes for her. Like Scheherazade, with her gift for storytelling she beguiles him into allowing her a day's reprieve, then another and one more, weaving her own quest-finding her own true love-into installments of a tale within the tale. Leavitt also introduces some beguiling details: the heroine bargains with the village wise woman for a love charm-an enchanted eye that will indicate to Keturah her true love. The townsfolk find Keturah both villain and savior before the tale's finish, as she attempts to ward off tragedy within her beloved village. A few farcical plot twists lighten the tone, as Keturah's stalwart friends Gretta and Beatrice rush to uncover Keturah's mate (and wind up finding their own)-before Lord Death's deadline. Leavitt renders in Lord Death a character rivaling the finest gothic depictions, in her portrayal of a palpably sexual man whom Keturah both resists and embraces. Well-tuned narration, at once plainspoken and lyrical, conjures the sunny, brimming village at fair time, but also the volatility of a vulnerable peasantry and the encroaching forest's secrets. A fine achievement. Ages 12-up. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT - Janis Flint-Ferguson
Martine Leavitt has intertwined the Scheherazade legend of the Arabian Nights into an English legend of love and sacrifice. Keturah is a 16-year-old girl with a gift for storytelling. After following a large, majestic hart into the woods, she becomes hopelessly lost and meets the dark, handsome personification of Death. He is beguiled by her beauty and willing to allow her one more day before claiming her if she will finish the story she has started to tell him and name her true love. But he also tells her about the plague beginning in Great Town, not far from her beloved village of Tide-by-Rood. At the end of the day she knows she needs more time to find her true love, and so have a conclusion to the story she is telling. Through the intervening days, she is drawn into the village, into working with the son of Lord Temsland in encouraging the peasants and craftsmen to clean the mill and build a road as a way to stave off disease. She also makes a deal with the local "witch" for a charm that will help her identify her true love and free her from having to meet Death. After a slow start, the novel twists and turns through Keturah's dilemmas and solutions. Leavitt mixes elements of legend and folklore into a clever discussion of the role of death in the lives of humans. As Keturah comes to better know and understand Death, she is convinced that his power is not evil and she is better able to appreciate all the daily details of life around her.
VOYA - Anita Beaman
Keturah has told many tales of the famed stag that lives in the forest and evades those who hunt him. When she spots the enchanted animal just inside the shadows of the trees, she follows, soon finding herself lost and alone in the forest. She waits for Death to claim her, and when he does, she is surprised to find him a melancholy but handsome young lord. Desperate to live, Keturah enchants Lord Death with her stories and bargains with him for her life. Granted a day to save her village from the coming plague and salvage her life by finding her true love, Keturah returns home to find herself an outcast among the villagers, who seem to sense and fear her closeness with Lord Death. In the spirit of Scheherazade, Keturah continues to captivate Lord Death with her stories and buy time for herself and her village. Lyrical and compelling, Leavitt's novel uses the conventions of traditional fairy tales to weave together a story of love and life in a rich medieval setting. Keturah is a strong character who is as enchanting as her stories, and through Keturah's eyes, the dirty village of Tide-by-Rood and its inhabitants become a magical setting worth cheating Death to save. Teen fans of fantasy and fairy tales will be as charmed by Keturah as Lord Death himself.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-At 16, Keturah is a poor peasant girl who constantly ponders her future. She has always been different from the other girls of the village and has unique but unrealized gifts. She has been raised by warm and loving grandparents, experiencing firsthand what a truly happy marriage is all about. The teen is committed to finding a suitable husband so she, too, can be happy but has not yet been successful. All this changes for her the day she follows the legendary hart deep into the forest and becomes lost. After three days of wandering aimlessly, she knows that she is about to die. Keturah is surprised to discover that Death is a strong, handsome lord to whom she immediately feels connected. Despite the fact that she is afraid, she challenges Lord Death, which is something he is not used to. She uses her storytelling skills to make him grant her a reprieve for one day. She spins a story of a love so pure that even Death cannot destroy it. He allows her to live another day on the condition that she come to him with an ending to the story and her true love. Keturah continues to delay the inevitable but in doing so learns much about herself and what she is truly capable of achieving. Along the way she also discovers that her true love was there beside her all along. This is a dark, but uplifting story combining elements of fantasy as well as romance. It has a gripping plot, strong characters, and a surprise ending that will intrigue readers.-Donna Rosenblum, Nassau Boces School Library System, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This lyrical tale adds surprises to the search for true love. Sixteen-year-old Keturah has never known love. When she's lost in the forest, the beautiful but severe Lord Death comes for her and decides to carry her off as his consort. Keturah strikes a bargain: If she can find true love in one day, thus proving to Death that there is more to love than dreams, he will spare her life. Scheherazade-like, Keturah draws out her single day into three, each night telling Death more of a story. Meanwhile, she examines the young men of her village as potential husbands, though without considering handsome John Temsland, the smitten son of her liege lord. As her deadline approaches, Keturah sees her village, her family and her friends as more beloved each day-her impending death adds spice to the mundane. Keturah's quest is lovely if (given its folktale style) not so original, but her unexpected solution to the puzzle leads to a thought-provoking and unabashedly sentimental conclusion. (Fantasy. 12-15)
From the Publisher

* "A darkly gorgeous medieval fairy tale. . . . Leavitt renders in Lord Death a character rivaling the finest gothic depictions. . . . A fine achievement." --Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "A dark, but uplifting story combining elements of fantasy as well as romance." --School Library Journal, starred review

* "The romance is intense, the writing is startling, and the story is spellbinding. Readers will be carried away on the wind of Leavitt's words, and few will be able to guess how she finally ends her story." --Booklist, starred review

"Lord Death, mysterious and gorgeous, and Keturah, brilliant and beautiful, will be irresistible to romance fans as well as those who like a bit of passion woven into their fantasy." --Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Product Details

Highlights Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)
810L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Martine Leavitt has written young-adult novels have won many awards and honors in the United States and Canada. Most notable are two Canadian honors: Mr. Christie's Book Award for Tom Finder and Governor General's Literary Award for which Heck Superhero was a finalist. She earned an MFA in writing for children from Vermont College. Though Martine was born in Canada and lives in High River, Alberta, Canada, she is a U.S. citizen.

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Keturah and Lord Death 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my most loved books because how Original! How lovely it was, I definitely recommend this to any romance lover.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a good and entertaining read. However, there are other supernatural romance books out there. But if you have nothing better to read than go for it! Check out the recommendations to read some more exciting better written books. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was really quite good! I had a hard time putting it down! However, it does end quite abruptly in my opinion, I just with that they would have further expanded on what happens with Keturah.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
-A tale that expresses the true meaning of love. -The ending is very satisfying and it left me with happy buzzy feelings even after its end. -A book you cant put down because the story flows so nicely and you have to know what happens next. -Lastsly, an untold, original and yet fairy tale like story that gives realization that this book is a unique hidden gem. Hope this helps! Happy reading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this story! Yes, parts are slow, there are bits that are somewhat transparent literary devices, but hey, it's a debut novel. It's all forgiven for the amazing story, the depth and heart and heart ache wrapped up between the covers. Five stars, without question.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Keturah and Lord Death... how did I just now come by your existence? Excellent story, it was so fast to read but I loved the characters and Keturahs descriptions of Lord Death. There was indeed a story in this MFA exercise...and I'm so glad the author shared it! I only wished for a more fleshed out ending;it ended so fast. Look forward to more.
Readinista More than 1 year ago
¿That¿s a strange title,¿ were my first thoughts when I came across Keturah and Lord Death. Despite the title, I felt myself being drawn to read this unique book by some unseen force. The beautiful cover was different and the description was unlike any other book I¿ve ever read. So of course, I had to read it. Keturah is the town¿s story teller. One day, she follows the prized hart into the woods hoping to collect more details for her stories. The hart eludes her as she follows him deeper and deeper into the forest, until she eventually realizes she is lost. After being lost in the forest for three days, Lord Death comes to her in the form of a man. He asked her to be his bride and Keturah refuses. To escape death temporarily, Keturah tells Lord Death a story but does not tell him the ending. She promises to tell him the ending if he gives her another day to live. In this day, she must find her true love in order to be free. Keturah and Lord Death is a stunningly rich tale with the feel of a classic fairy tale. Set in a small town in Europe during the Middle Ages, the characters speak with an Old English tone yet the writing is still very modern. In addition, it is a well written and crafted story. Keturah is the soul of this book and she is truly an inspiring character. She is humble, honest, sincere, courageous, unselfish, romantic, independent and I could go on. While delaying death, Keturah¿s journey transforms from a journey to find her true love into one where she helps her friends find their true love and saves her village from the plague. In a satisfyingly sweet end, she realizes who her true love is and has been all along. I recommend Keturah and Lord Death to anyone who loves a classic tale while in the mood for something different.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a haunting, beautiful tale, and what an awesome (literally, awe-inspiring) concept of Death! Leavitt writes masterfully and fills her main character, Keturah, with wisdom and strength. This book is truly incredible.
Ophelia777 More than 1 year ago
I checked this book out on a whim, and I have to say that I was rather doubtful when I started. But what I thought was going to be a slightly bland, stormy-day kind of book ended up being a wonderful romance and a delightful twist on fairy tales. Martine Leavitt is a brilliant writer, and you find yourself being drawn in and your heart pounding with Keturah's. I fell in love with Lord Death with her. I Loved this book, and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys fairytales and paranormal romance.
LiederMadchen More than 1 year ago
This book is beautiful and strange and sad. It reads like a fairytale with a young girl lost in the woods, meeting a handsome, dangerous stranger. She convinces him to let her go for a day so she can find her true love, but what if her true love is nowhere to be found? Keturah is sweet and somewhat naive and occasionally downright foolish. She struggles for true love, not understanding that it is not something that can be won but has to be given. Through the story, she grows in wisdom and eventually learns things she thought she already knew and realizing things about the people around her that she never noticed before. Even as Keturah both prepares for and fights her death, she endeavors to protect those close to her. While looking for her own true love, she finds other's and helps them find each other. I love her selflessness. As for the menfolk in the story, Lord Death is entirely attractive in a mildly creepy sort of way and the lord's son John is kind, caring and likable. While Lord Death offers, well, death, John offers a life as lady of the manor. Ben, the village boy who thinks he must marry the Best Cook, is simply not too bright, but friendly enough. Since Keturah is the bravest, loveliest, best cook around, all of them vying for her affections. This story was beautifully written, dramatic and lyrical. I could see the dark forests and medieval villages as well as the multitude of diverse secondary characters who lived there. Though not a funny book, there were instances of dry wit and humor that made me smile. There were some parts of the story that were a little weird to me. Would choosing to go with Lord Death be a form of suicide even if you didn't technically kill yourself? That is only one of the strange philosophical questions that came to mind while reading this book. Keturah and Lord Death was an interesting read and I really enjoyed it, but I don't think it would be for everyone. It is frankly rather strange.
Liz0807Sanders More than 1 year ago
Omg, best book have ever read... I am a freshman in high school and I love lovelove this book,,!!!!!!!!
Julie-YAAuthor More than 1 year ago
This book is short and easy to read--but it flows like poetry. Martine Leavitt's words are filled with grace and beauty and speak directly to the heart. The story is compelling, as Keturah tries to outwit Lord Death while quietly falling in love with him. The choices she makes and her acts of selflessness are a lesson to us all. A wonderful step up from popular commercial fiction--everyone should read this book.
Meg88 More than 1 year ago
A few people say that this book was predictuable and boring while others say the writing itself is what captivated them. Personally I liked the sad, wistful notes. With her prolonging her own death it did remind me of Arabian Nights, although its been years since I read it, am almost posative the woman had to keep telling stories to keep her life. Anyway, I do recomend this book! I really liked Keturah and was instantly drawn to Lord Death.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Genuinely one of the most amazing books I've ever read. The main character is AMAZING, so well-written, and the love between her and her two suitors is so, so real (which is so rare these days in literature it seems), and the friendships are sweet and POWERFUL, and the world is so fairy tale-like - written in the real world where magic isn't so uncommon. I love how everything connected. So so well done. A book I will treasure for many years :)
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