Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Keturah and Lord Death” as Want to Read:
Keturah and Lord Death
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Keturah and Lord Death

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  7,671 ratings  ·  1,247 reviews
Martine Leavitt offers a spellbinding story, interweaving elements of classic fantasy and high romance. 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 storytellin...more
Paperback, 198 pages
Published 2006 by Red Deer Press
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Keturah and Lord Death, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Keturah and Lord Death

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally CarterShadowland by Meg CabotHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. RowlingHeist Society by Ally CarterElsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
2009 ALA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults
31st out of 95 books — 75 voters
The Gypsy King by Maureen FergusStolen Songbird by Danielle L. JensenA Fool's Errand by Maureen FergusThe Gathering by Kelley ArmstrongTomorrow's Kingdom by Maureen Fergus
Canadian YA
104th out of 136 books — 25 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Emily May
“There is no hell, John Temsland. Each man, when he dies, sees the landscape of his own soul.”

This book kind of stomped all over my heart. Not because of the love story, which I don't consider a spoiler because anyone with a brain will see it coming from the beginning (Or the cover. Or the description.). But because of the beautiful, magical simplicity of the writing and the world and the characters. I love stories like this, that capture the timeless magic of fairy tales and make you feel like...more
I can't even tell you how much I loved this book...made even more special because it will forever be the book that I read the day my mom died. And I think that was "meant to be". The way death (not the person) is treated in the book is so reverential and gave me a great this passage:

"Tell me what it is like to die."
He dismounted from his horse, looking at me strangely the whole while, "You experience something similar every day, " he said softly. "It is as familiar to you as...more
Jul 15, 2011 Tatiana rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of fairy tales similar to "Plain Kate"
Recommended to Tatiana by: Jillian -always aspiring-
I have been such a Debbie Downer lately, moaning so much about lack of good books, that I completely forgot how much I enjoyed Keturah and Lord Death.

You know how some authors can infuse magic in their works using simple, everyday words? Their stories always have that fairy tale air about them. Robin McKinley is great at it, Laini Taylor, Erin Bow, Juliet Marillier. And so is Martine Leavitt.

Keturah and Lord Death is a simple enough novel with familiar fairy tale themes. 16-year old Keturah lose...more
Maggie Stiefvater
I am having one of those lucky runs of book reading where I keep pulling very Maggie books off the shelves. Of course, this book had come highly recommended to me as a Maggie-book, but . . . well, it's just not the sort of summary that begs you to pull it off the shelf. It's the historical, aspect, I think -- I invariably end up enjoying a lot of historicals over the course of the year, but I always think, before I start them, that they'll be more work.


The plot of this slender novel is sim...more
Litchick (aka Navessa Allen)

It’s a sad day when you think someone isn’t good enough for Death. What’s that condemn them to? Surely not endless life, that seems like more of a reward. Purgatory then? I suppose if I believed in it that would apply here but wait a minute, don’t you have to be dead to go to purgatory? Drat. I'm back where I started.

At the beginning of this book I thought Keturah was a brave, selfless, humble and honest young woman.

By the end I thought she was a cowardly, selfish, dishonest and dim witted chil...more
Bonnie Gayle
Gah! This book was wonderful, and would be an automatic add to my favorites, except for 2 things. I know. Me and my 2 picky things, but they're big issues. Maybe eventually this will go in my favorites, but for now those 2 things are bugging me too much.

Keturah follows a beautiful deer into the woods one day, and after a long chase, discovers that she is lost and cannot find her way back. On the verge of dying, Lord Death comes to take her, but, Keturah, renowned in her small town for her storyt...more
Jul 23, 2008 Rachel rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rachel by: mistful - the only time she's led me astray
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This one has been getting lots of good press and was a National Book Award Finalist for 2006. Keturah and Lord Death is a sort of Scheherezade meets Beauty and the Beast meets the Persephone myth, in which a young woman is forced to spin a new tale each night to keep her captor from killing her. In this version, her captor is, in fact, Death himself (hence the Persephone connection), and he actually lets her go on the condition that she will return the following night with the end of the tale. S...more
"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.” And yes, I was indeed carried away .

Keturah is beautiful and a great storyteller. One day, she got lost in the forest and met Lord Death. She bargained with Lord Death by telling him a story, a love story of a girl who hadn’t found her true love, yet without the ending. She promised to give the ending only if Lord Death kept her alive for another day. Lord Death was intr...more
I read this YA fantasy novel set in early Middle Ages England all in one day. Quite easily, in fact. Like a lot of literature aimed at teens, it's a feather-light read, and it goes even quicker because I guarantee that you've read this all before. The story is riddled with cliches. A Faustian bargain made by an otherwise good character. Someone has to find true love on a deadline or they'll die. Buying time from the executioner by telling a story with no ending. Been there, done that. Utterly pr...more
Summer {is puntastic}
A very heartwarming tale with writing reminiscent of your favorite fairy tales. Keturah and Lord Death managed to steal a few tears from me despite its relatively unconventional structure and spellbind me with the way love and death were handled. The characters, aside from Death, were unremarkable--but the atmosphere and tone set by the sophisticated prose made up for them.

I was torn between 3.5 and 4 stars, but now I realize that this short, simple story was utterly unique in ways that I am no...more
Romance novels always get the tough end of the stick in the business and are usually dismissed in the hierarchy of literature. The critiques constantly point out the abundantly flowery language, severe adherence to plot conventions, and stock characters. Well, let me tell you this book uses the tropes of the romance genre to absolute perfection.

One of the most prevalent formulas used in romance books is the idea of the pure, virtuous female who tames the dark, devil-like male character and refor...more
"Undying," the eldest girl corrected. "And eternal.”

Keturah, a young girl, gets lost in the deep forest after following a legendary hart. Soon, she feels that Death is near and when he finally appears Keturah asks him for another chance. She desperately wants to live, so she captures the Lord Death with her story and promises to tell the end of it when they meet the next time. And the Death gives her one day. One day to find the true love and stay alive.
But the search for the true love is not...more
Enna Isilee (Squeaky Books)
A great fairy-tale like story about finding true love and the hidden side of Death. Simple, but nearly made me cry at the end. Definitely reccomend it.

Click here for a more detailed review
This story starts with a young woman following a mysterious hart into the woods, where she becomes lost for days. On the verge of death, she sees Lord Death and bargains for an extra day of life to find her true love. Also, she learns from Lord Death that the plague is coming and wants to warn people so they can stop it. I guess I was supposed to be rooting for her as she accomplishes various not very interesting feats, saves the village, gets her friends married off, and reaches the conclusion...more
When I picked this up I expected it to be fluff and I wasn't mistaken. If you're looking for some fluff then don't be scared away by my review. This book was decent for what it was, an odd combination of some fairy tale archetypes. It was a bit of a mixture of the storyteller from The 1001 Nights and those fairy tales where Death is present as a character.

The biggest problem I had with the story was its realism. But the way the thing was written, it was clear you weren't supposed to expect any r...more
Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship
I really wasn't about to review this book but the betrayal I feel wants to be let out.

Almost a week ago, just before I read this book, I had been having a real, good-book streak. Truly, every book I read was a four-star read and I either loved them or just really, really liked them all. And I looked at everybody else and they were all having some bad reads on their shelves. So I felt left out and I wanted to read a bad book.

[I know that is very screwed up.]

Not a deliberate bad read, but an accid...more
This book perfectly captures the entrancing nature of a perfectly told tale. My recommendation is to set aside a block of a few hours to read it, because if you start and are unable to finish right away (like me) you'll be so so sad to put it down. The main character, Keturah, has a talent for telling stories and so when she sees the beautiful hart at the edge of the forest, she follows it so she'll have a new story to tell. The hart leads her deep into the forest, where she becomes lost and wan...more
Keturah and Lord Death is an intriguing story told in a simple, fairytale style. The concept is familiar enough: Keturah loses herself in the woods for three days, and on the brink of starvation, Lord Death postpones her demise in exchange for a story. The prose is like that of a child's fairytale—flowy and descriptive, but not burdened with the grittier realities of life. However, despite the simplicity of prose and plot, the story is deceptively multi-layered. The concept of death is central t...more
Jan 22, 2012 Parvathy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Darkfantasy lovers
Recommended to Parvathy by: goodreads list of hidden gems( YA)
Instincts can be wrong and my instincts about this book was definitely wrong. It is not that it is a bad book but that I expected more from it. When I read the description I thought I would love this book immensely (wishful thinking!!) and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. The reasons being the story kind of felt like a retake on the whole Arabian Nights back story(which I love after reading the Storyteller's Daughter by Cameron Dokey )where the queen spins a tale each day to keep her immin...more
Rebecca ♥ Matrim, Kishan, Warner ♥
This was such a unique story. I loved it. It read like a fairy tale, or folklore or myth. Keturah was such an unusual girl. She had never been in love, but she wanted to love with all that she was. It seemed to be her life's ambition to find her soul mate and fall madly in love. But there was no one that piqued her interest. She gave everyone a fair chance. She was very forward about it. She spoke to every man in her town to see if she could love them, some she even told the truth of why she was...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Arah-Leah Hay
Oh I'm in love. This is a beautifully dark and poetic fairytale. All my love of reading started with a fairytale and to this day I still adore them. This was just wonderful to read. Graceful even. Keturah follows the elusive stag into the woods. In her pursuit she becomes lost and after a few days Death comes to claim her. She tricks Lord death into letting her live another day by telling him a story. A love story, in which she promises to reveal the end of on the following day. So begins this b...more
Krishna *wants to be a black wolf*
This is one of those books I read a long time ago and exists on the fringes of my memory.
I do remember my reaction to the book though. It was basically:

The book is really bleak and grey and consists of a three step plot in rewind:

1. Keturah meets Lord Death, asks for favour.
2. Keturah starts telling story, Death listens.
3. Keturah runs away without finishing story.

He really would not make a good insurance salesman; he simply isn't getting anything in return, not even a kiss.

Sigh. It could have b...more
This was a very hard rating for me. I absolutely loved some things about this book, but there were other things that were simply hard to overlook. The writing is beautiful, lyrical and atmospheric. Leavitt does a great job of getting the right balance between a modern girl and a medieval one. Keturah is brave and sacrificial without being a doormat, and that is not always easy to write.

When I first read the premise I could not wait to get my hands on this book. How could I have never heard of t...more
Keturah and Lord Death reads like a mix of One Thousand and One Nights and a Robin McKinley fairytale retelling. However, I’d venture to say that there’s more character interaction here than in one of McKinley’s novels. Though this is a simple story and one that’s not entirely new, it does have charm. And it’s this charm that ultimately makes the book quite an enjoyable read.

The story begins with a group gathering, everyone desiring Keturah to tell a story. Leavitt does a good job convincing th...more
Feb 17, 2008 Suzy rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy lightweights
My finger hovered over five stars so long, cramp seemed distinctly possible. But. Must not let weakness for men in black capes with nasty laughs (exclude Jack the Ripper) cloud my rating ethics.

Maybe I've spent too much time with dense works like the Dark Jewels trilogy to appreciate this kind of vapid...fluff. Where the former paints the scene with heavy bloody strokes, this book flirts around the edges like a skittish filly.

As attractive as he is in all that dark gear (noble steed and all),...more
I read "Keturah and Lord Death" really fast. It is a very easy read and I would have probably finished a lot faster if it wasn't for my homework and chores. To start off my review I will say that God is the only omnipotent being out there. God can or is everywhere at once. Therefore there are many angels of death because they can't be everywhere at once.

This story follows Keturah, her family (grandmother), two best friends, and her village people. Keturah is very modest, humble, and good willed....more
Apr 24, 2009 Alexis rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Darlingmisty, pre-teen/teen readers 11+, fairytale fans
Recommended to Alexis by: Clarice
Sixteen-year-old Keturah lives in a poor village where she is known and loved for her storytelling abilities. When she sees the legendary hart she has spun many tales about, her curiosity overcomes her and she follows him until she is hopelessly lost in the woods. It is there that Lord Death finds her.

Lord Death is not some slim and hooded figure but a rather impressive male specimen. He is severe and cold, but with the appearance of a regal lord. Keturah has simple dreams, but dreams nonethele...more
It's a fairytale that reminds me of things I liked in Goose Girl, both written with simple language and told in a straightforward manner; neither of these things took from Keturah's story. Keturah is kind and will do anything to keep her people safe. Once loved simply for telling a story or for being around or for being pretty, things change when she loses her way in the forest and meets Lord Death. A bargain is struck and she allowed back, only once home, instead of the easy affection she'd com...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Hollow Kingdom (The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy, #1)
  • The Sherwood Ring
  • Wildwood Dancing (Wildwood, #1)
  • Black Pearls: A Faerie Strand
  • The Raging Quiet
  • The Queen of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, #2)
  • Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow
  • A Curse Dark as Gold
  • Thornspell
  • Summers at Castle Auburn
  • Lips Touch: Three Times
  • The Folk Keeper
  • East
  • An Earthly Knight
  • The Changeling Sea
  • Chalice
  • Book of a Thousand Days
  • The Swan Kingdom
Martine Leavitt is the author of eight novels for young adults, including My Book of Life by Angel, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and winner of the CLA Young Adult Book of the Year Award. Keturah and Lord Death was a National Book Award finalist, Tom Finder was a winner of the Mr. Christie’s Book Award, and Heck Superhero was a Governor General’s Award finalist. Martine’s novels...more
More about Martine Leavitt...
My Book of Life by Angel Heck Superhero The Dollmage Tom Finder Blue Mountain

Share This Book

“Tell me what it is like to die," I answered.
He dismounted from his horse, looking at me strangely the whole while. "You experience something similar every day," he said softly. "It is as familiar to you as bread and butter."
"Yes," I said. "It is like every night when I fall asleep."
"No. It is like every morning when you wake up.”
“Each man, when he dies, sees the landscape of his own soul.” 57 likes
More quotes…