I will tell you . . . a story of magic and love, of daring and death, and one to comfort your heart. It will be the truest story I have ever told. Now listen, and tell me if it is not so."Keturah Reev
I will tell you . . . a story of magic and love, of daring and death, and one to comfort your heart. It will be the truest story I have ever told. Now listen, and tell me if it is not so."
Keturah Reeve is a beautiful young woman of sixteen who lives with her grandmother in a cottage near the forest owned by Lord Temsland. Keturah is renowned in the village for her captivating storytelling, and this beautifully woven novel is a response to a request from Keturah's eager audience for yet another of her fascinating tales. She tells of her experience of being lost in the forest, her eventual meeting with a dark figure on horseback who is Lord Death and her bargaining with him for her life-and for the lives of the villagers who are threatened by an onset of the plague.
With its richly textured medieval setting, Keturah's story exposes the tensions and desires of the villagers, the dangers that loom in their future and how they place Keturah's life in jeopardy. Keturah's escalating bargains with Lord Death allow her to protect her friends and reveal to them their true talents and destinies. But even as she negotiates with Death, she becomes more isolated from the people she is seeking to protect and seems less and less likely to achieve the dreams of her own heart.
The startling resolution of the novel confirms Martine Leavitt's reputation as a treasure of a writer, a storyteller who can weave magnificent spells. Leavitt confronts readers with issues and revelations that, while they occur in a setting far from their own experience, bear the intimacy of next door.
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"A blend of folktale, myth and romance, the book's thought-provoking conclusion is perfect for adolescent pondering."
— The Toronto Star
"There's a tradition of fleshing out bare-bones fairy tales into novels, spinning schematic Snow Whites and Cinderellas into living girls with freckles and foibles. "Keturah and Lord Death" evokes that tradition. . . Readers who think they know exactly where the story is headed will find themselves pleasantly surprised. Not that Leavitt frustrates all expectations -- much of what clearly has to happen does happen. But she takes what looks on the surface like a rather shallow story and plunges it, from time to time, into the depths that come only with pain."
— The New York Times
"Older readers will be entranced by this dark romance."
— Instructor Magazine (US)
"The passionate relationship of Keturah and Lord Death, blossoming out of an early fascination and strong friendship, is both realistic and otherworldly. Leavitt integrates the sweeping romance with a timeless story of a headstrong girl who is certain that, given enough time, she can create a perfect world."
— Bulletin Of The Center For Children's Books
"Stippled with light and shadow and crowned with an ending that will leave teens breathless, this resonant fantasy centers on Keturah's attempts to evade destiny."
"The romance is intense, the writing is startling, and the story is spellbinding, as difficult to turn away from as the tales beautiful Keturah tells the villagers."
— Booklist, from the 2006 Editor's Choice List write-up
"Leavitt integrates the sweeping romance with a timeless story of a headstrong girl who is certain that, given enough time, she can create a perfect world. . . 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
"Leavitt's novel is an unusual blend of folktale, myth, and romance, and its unexpected conclusion is thought-provoking. And while the prose is sometimes overly ponderous ('and my heart smote me'), more often it is lucid and arresting."
— Horn Book
"The tension in this novel is masterfully sustained, and the theme is arresting: not the usual 'choose life,' but rather, welcome death into your everyday awareness, because it's inseparable from life. The unconventional ending may disappoint some, but there's no denying that it's an admirably bold stroke."
— Quill and Quire
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U.S. National Book Award 2006 nominee for Young People's Literature!
2007 Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice Willow Awards nominee
Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award shortlist 2008
Canadian Children's Book Centre Our Choice Starred Selection, 2007
Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic shortlist
Booklist's 2006 Editor's Choice List for Young Adults
White Pine Award Winner, 2008
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is an award-winning writer of critically acclaimed young adult fiction. Besides winning the prestigious MR. CHRISTIE AWARD and Benjamin Franklin Award. Martine's six previous titles have received numerous award nominations. Find out more about Martine at her web site www.martineleavitt.com.