Synopses & 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 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 all until Keturah confronts him one last time in the harrowing climax.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"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)
"Keturah's quest is lovely if...not so original, but her unexpected solution to the puzzle leads to a thought-provoking and unabashedly sentimental conclusion." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Martine Leavitt has written young-adult novels that have won many awards and honors in the United States and Canada. Most notable are two Canadian awards: the Mr. Christie's Book Award for Tom Finder and the 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.