Keturah and Lord Death
by Martine Leavitt.
Click here to see if we have it Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. 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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal: Starred Review. 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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms