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Keturah and Lord Death

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  13,844 ratings  ·  2,058 reviews
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 an ...more
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Boyds Mills Press
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Darina The origin of Lord Death is not a plot hole because his origin does not influence the plot at all. He is not the grim reaper, he is Death itself. I th…moreThe origin of Lord Death is not a plot hole because his origin does not influence the plot at all. He is not the grim reaper, he is Death itself. I think his origin is much better left unexplained. Where does death originate? Where does life? None of this matters to the story anyway, the only thing that matters to the plot is that he exists.(less)
Kaylee Yes and yes. The most you get is a couple of chaste kisses and this: "Grandmother," I asked shyly, "what is love?" I knew what marriage was and how ba…moreYes and yes. The most you get is a couple of chaste kisses and this: "Grandmother," I asked shyly, "what is love?" I knew what marriage was and how babies came, still I did not know how love was supposed to feel. ... "Now I will tell you a true thing, child, and if you are wise you will remember it. The soul, it longs for its mate as much as the body. Sad it is that the body be greedier than the soul. But if you would be happy all your days, as I was with your grandfather, subdue the body and marry the soul. Look for a soul-and-heart love."(less)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Emily May
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
“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 l
Jun 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of fairy tales similar to "Plain Kate"
Recommended to Tatiana by: Jillian -always aspiring-
Update 6/5/2017 Interesting, I feel exactly the same now as I did 6 years ago...

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
Maggie Stiefvater
Sep 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Medieval peasant Keturah, a beautiful 16 year old girl known for her story-telling abilities, sees a lovely hart in the forest and decides to follow it for a while (because medieval peasants had lots of time to wander after stray harts) and ends up hopelessly lost. After three days of wandering in the forest, she meets Death in person when he comes to take her.

Not this guy.

Lord Death is kind of hot, but ice-cold at the same time.

So Keturah bargains with Lord Death, trying to get another chanc
Nenia ✨️ The Trash Empress ✨️ Campbell

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This is a charming story reminiscent of some of Gail Carson Levine or Margaret Peterson Haddix's work. It's a fairytale that borrows from Beauty and the Beast, 1001 Nights, as well as the Persephone myth from Greek mythology, telling the story of a girl named Keturah who follows a hart into the woods and ends up meeting Death. To her surprise, he isn't the grim horror she imagined, but a beautiful man, and he has demanded that she retur
Nov 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that teetered between Wow! This is awesome!, and What the hell is this?. In the end, I think that size really does matter, because I believe the length of the book was it's saving grace. There were some things in it that probably would have really annoyed me if the book had been much longer, but the author managed to keep it short and sweet at around 200 pages.
I would recommend Keturah and Lord Death to anyone who likes a nice blend of fairytale and fantasy.
Jun 11, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommended to SR by: mistful - the only time she's led me astray
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Lerizza Mae (books&teacups)
Actual rating: 4.5

This story is told in such an enchanting prose whoch left me feeling captivated and engrossed.

Though the story is short with less than 300 pages, it still managed to enthrall me and sweep me away. There is a lyrical quality in which the words were combined and the story was procured.

“You, my lord, are the ending of all true stories.”

It is fantastical, it is haunting, it is mesmerizing. In other words, it is simply beautiful.
Irene Sim
It's been a while since I've enjoyed a book only for the prose and not the plot. I don't remember exactly how this book found its way into my TBR list, but I'm glad I gave it a chance.

Excellent storytelling, an imaginative cast of characters, a magical time-frame that borders classic fairy tales. The writing has the quality of making the make belief into reality, the plot flows in a way that you can't stop to question them based on common sense. It is full of remarkable quotes, too many to put
Jun 18, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, ya, retellings
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
A Fairy Tale

"Keturah, tell us a story, one of your tales of faerie or magic."

Yes, Keturah, do, but I would have a tale of love."

"A story, yes, but a hunting tale, please, one of daring and death."

"One to comfort your heart on a gloomy day."

And so it was. Keturah told her tale of following a great stag into the forest and she became lost. Without food or water for three days, she slowly started to die and who should she meet on the third day? Lord Death.

Except she refused to go to The Great Beyo
Aug 18, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, fantasy
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
A.G. Howard
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written! How has this slipped under my radar for so long?
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
I find it difficult to express just how much I liked this book—and even trickier to explain what it's about.

This is a very beautiful, very simple story.

When Keturah is lured into the woods by a hart, she finds herself lost and unable to find her way back to her medieval village, Tide-by-Rood. Just as things are beginning to look grim, Death appears—only he is in the shape of a man named Lord Death and Keturah has been able to see him all her life.

Keturah weaves an intriguing tale for Death, but
May 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"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
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lyrical, deceptively simple tale about a girl who barters with Death for her life and the lives of her loved ones. There are shades of Scherazade here, as Keturah catches Death's attention by beginning to spin a tale of true love that she will not finish unless he lets her go. I love this sort of fantasy, where elaborate world-building has been put aside in favor of beautiful writing and layered characters.
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddy-read
“And so he did his endless work,' I continued quietly, 'without feeling, without pity, without rest, for to open his heart to these would be to open his heart to his loneliness and longing and that was beyond bearing.”

Read this one with Claudia (kind of, sort of, but still) :3

This was incredibly cute and heartwarming.
Keturah and Lord Death is a fairytale. You know, when your mom, or your dad, used to tuck you in at night and read you something to make you fall asleep? Keturah and Lord Death cou
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"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
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 rated it liked it
I chose to read this book after 'Rebekah' because in that story, Keturah is Abraham's concubine after he is widowed. But the Keturah in this book has no connection to the Biblical figure at all.

This book is a Gothic Folktale, relating in a very pure, fairytale style a story of a girl who follows an enchanted hart into the forest and meets with Lord Death. '1001 Nights'-style, she holds off the handsome and regal Death by telling him a story and withholding the ending, eliciting promises from him
Sep 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
i'm going to have to reread this because I thought i lOVED it????
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this book.
If you think about it this book was very creepy and weird,but surprisingly also a very beautiful story.
(view spoiler)
Apr 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This has been recommended to me over and over, so I finally read it! I definitely enjoyed it, and felt like I was reading an old fashioned fairy tale.
enqi ☁️✨
This book was delicious.

Keturah and Lord Death is a sort of Scheherazade meets Beauty and the Beast meets Persephone myth, retold in a joyously delicious and riveting way. I absolutely loved this book.

When Keturah is lured into the woods by a hart, she ends up hopelessly lost and finds herself unable to return to her medieval village, Tide-by-Rood. Her strength diminishes until, finally, she realizes that death is near. Little does she know that he is a young, handsome lord, melancholy and s
Feb 18, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Jen (The Starry-Eyed Revue)
I do so adore a good tale steeped in folk lore with Death as a character. This one was lauded as a Beauty and the Beast retelling in a review, which enticed me, but I stuck around for the Scheherezade/Persephone aspect. Death wants to keep Keturah but she offers up a story and tells him she'll finish the tale the next night and so on and so forth. From beginning to end, this story was hauntingly beautiful and full of magic and intrigue and it completely lived up to my expectations. I can't belie ...more
Enna Isilee
Jan 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.

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Martine Leavitt has published ten novels for young adults, most recently Calvin, which won the Governor General’s Award of Canada. My Book of Life by Angel was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and winner of the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book of the Year. Other titles by Leavitt include Keturah and Lord Death, a finalist for the National Book Award, Tom Finder, winner ...more

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4 likes · 0 comments
“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.” 113 likes
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