Friday, October 7, 2011

Book Recommendation: KETURAH AND LORD DEATH by Martine Leavitt

I’ve been tearing through some great books lately, so today you get to hear about another one:) Another good friend and critique partner Myrna suggested I read KETURAH AND LORD DEATH, and I’m glad she did. It’s a few years old, and I haven’t heard a lot about it around the blogosphere.

The storyline is fairly simple: Keturah meets Lord Death in the forest after being lost for several days. He tells her he is there to collect her soul, so to buy herself a little time, she tells him a story. But she doesn’t finish it; in exchange for the story’s ending, she asks for one more day of life. She wants a chance to find her true love. Lord Death grants Keturah’s wish, and as one day becomes two, then three, Keturah learns a few things about life--and love.

What begins as a charming fairy tale ends as a deeply personal allegory on the part of the author, and that’s what really hooked me. I tend to read the Acknowledgments first these days (I’m always on the hunt for a few good agents), so I knew that Ms. Leavitt’s sister, who died of cystic fibrosis as a child, was a major source of inspiration for the book. To quote Ms. Leavitt’s own words, “Now, as a mother and grandmother, I realize what a long journey dying must be for a child to make alone. I wish I could have walked with her a little way. This book is my way of doing so.”

If you like vibrant, soul-deep romance and heart-achingly beautiful prose, you’ll love KETURAH AND LORD DEATH. And for those of you who’ve read it, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments (even if they disagree with mine).

10 comments:

Myrna Foster said...

I'm so glad you loved it! I wish they'd do a new cover with a hart slipping through trees or a still-life of lemons or something, though. It took me years to pick this one up because the cover screamed "Romance!"

So, what genre would you place it in? I could argue literary, fantasy, or paranormal romance, but it's a different twist for any of them.

My sister just called to ask if I was working on my story. Maybe I'm doing you a favor by not giving it to you in pieces.

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Wow, her words about her sister tear my heart up! Thanks for the recommend, Krista. I will keep this book in mind.

Amy

Jodi R. said...

Wow - I do want to read this now! (And the cover definitely screams ROMANCE! What were they thinking, I wonder?)

I lost a sister to lung disease and knew many young people killed by CF. I will find this book...

Thanks for the rec, Krista!
Jodi

Krista V. said...

Myrna, I hear you. The cover really doesn't give you a good sense of what the book is. As for the genre, I'd probably go with literary fantasy. This reminded me of a Robin McKinley novel. (And I'll be ready to read THE BINDER'S WEB whenever you are!)

Yeah, Amy, I thought those lines about her sister were beautiful. And like I said, the prose in KETURAH AND LORD DEATH was heart-achingly beautiful, especially when Keturah and Lord Death were in the scene together. The stories she tells him are gorgeously told, and the last thing she ever says to Lord Death actually gave me chills.

Jodi, I think they were probably trying to capitalize on the paranormal romance craze with that cover, but people who enjoy paranormal romances probably won't enjoy this one as much. It's not as commercial as a lot of those novels, and if you're only giving this story a surface glance, you're going to miss the deep metaphor, which is definitely the best part of the book.

momslifeponderings said...

Wow - what a great inspiring back story.

Krista V. said...

I thought so, too, momslifeponderings.

momslifeponderings said...

I know. It's a mouthful! And that was what I came up with after pondering for 3 hours! :>) Dana

P.S. I think Agassi is cuter with the (much)shorter hair.

Krista V. said...

Momslifeponderings, I couldn't agree more about Andre Agassi's hairstyles. (But you might be interested to know that his famous - or maybe infamous - long hair was actually a hairpiece! According to OPEN, he started losing his hair in his late teens/early twenties. He started wearing hairpieces not long after.)

Marian Vere said...

So is it basically 1001 Arabian Nights re-imagined? That's what it sounds like, but I haven't read it yet.

Krista V. said...

Marian, I picked up on that similarity, too, but since I don't know a lot about how that story unfolded (except that a woman kept delaying the end of a story so some sultan or something would spare her life), I can't really say. I suspect Ms. Leavitt may have started with that idea in mind, but the ending belongs solely to this book, I think.