Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt

Life, for Keturah, began with a death, the death of her mother as she brought her into the world. Raised by her grandparents and fostered with great love and affection, in a village she adored, Keturah evaded death until the passing of her grandfather. When she was old enough, it was her grandmother's wish that she join her in her work as a midwife. Their art made possible the welcoming of new life, while bringing Keturah ever closer to what bearing a child can mean- death.

The lord of the land has long hunted the elusive white hart, famed for his ability to always thwart the lord's attempts to catch him. When he appears before Keturah at the edge of the forest, she is compelled to follow the fabled creature deep into the woods, so deep that she becomes lost. After several days, when she can no longer summon the strength to keep going, Keturah sits down and waits for the death she knows is imminent. And death does come for Keturah. Lord Death himself comes to bear her away from her life to what lies beyond. Faced with the realization that she must leave her home and friends and an aged grandmother who needs her assistance, Keturah attempts to bargain with death, a ploy used by countless before her.

For him she weaves a story, just as she would were she telling it around the fire. She tells a story of true love that so intrigues Lord Death that he must know its ending. Keturah tempts him with the promise of the story's ending but vows she will not tell him until tomorrow. Lord Death is forced to grant her wish, and vows that if in that one day, she can find the true love she speaks of in her tale, he will spare her life.

In one day Keturah must find true love, or submit to that which has shadowed her life from the very first. With death so much a part of her past and present, could the very lord of death be her future?

This story was amazing and heartwrenchingly beautiful. I wasn't able to put it down. Leavitt might have written this book yesterday, a hundred years ago, or a hundred years from now and her mastery of the art of true fairy tale story telling would make this a classic anywhere or anytime. It could appear bound amidst all the famous fairy tales and you would never know it didn't start out there.

It wouldn't mean much if I said that this is the best book I've read this year, since it's only the second, but I can go ahead and predict that it'll be one of the best I read all year long. It's a beautiful little story that I promise you will never forget and I'm grateful to be able to consider it now one of my favorites.

If the book wasn't already haunting enough, when it was over I read the acknowledgments, only to learn that Ms. Leavitt had a sister that died from cystic fibrosis at the age of eleven. The concept of death being something to embrace rather than fear becomes even more poetic when you think about what she's been through and why she wrote it. Keturah's journey and the villagers acceptance of her bond with death must have been very similar to the trials of the author and her family. I hope writing this book was healing for her.

2010 Reading Challenge: 100+ Reading Challenge

J. Kaye's Book Blog 2010 100+ Reading Challenge Click to sign up!

1. The goal is to read 100 or more books. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.

--Non-Bloggers: Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post. To learn how to sign up without having a blog, click here.

2. Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Manga, Graphic Novels, Library books, Novellas, Young Reader, Nonfiction – as long as the book has an ISBN or equivalent or can be purchased as such, the book counts.

What doesn't count: Individual short stories or individual books in the Bible.

3. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

4. Crossovers from other reading challenges count.

5. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010. Books started before the 1st do not count.

I joined this challenge late last year and that's why I didn't complete it *cough cough*. Yeah. So we try again. The only edit I'm personally choosing to make is to include books that were started before January 1st since I read the first few (or more) pages of books purchased in a bookstore, in the bookstore and because I cheat.

1. Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors
2. Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt
3. Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich
4. Firespell by Chloe Neill
5. Green Angel by Alice Hoffman
6. Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
7. The Pleasure Palace by Kate Emerson
8. Nightlight: A Parody of Twilight by Harvard Lampoon
9. Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley
10. A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb
11. Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
12. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
13. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
14. Hourglass by Claudia Gray
15. The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
16. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
17. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
18. Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess
19. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
20. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
21. Fire by Kristin Cashore
22. Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
23. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
24. Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
25. The Line by Teri Hall
26. The Siren by Kiera Cass
27. Nomansland by Lesley Hauge
28. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
29. Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich
30. Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas
31. Seven Tears into the Sea by Terri Farley
32. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
33. Dracula in Love by Karen Essex

Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors

This past year I've become rather fascinated with historical fiction dealing with the French Revolution. The several I've read have been very detailed (if not entirely accurate) and have painted a rather vivid picture of life in those times. So far the stories have all been rather scandalous and shocking, and rather grotesque at times, all things that make me glad I'm typing this from the comfort of my bed in 2010.

Anyway I stumbled upon this book at Books-a-Million in the bargain bin for $3.00 and figured it was a good gamble and now having read it I can now say I'd price it at about $7.00.

The story is a memoir of Gabrielle de Montserrat, a fictitious member of the French aristocracy who is documenting her life for her son. It revolves around her relations with various political figures of the Revolution. There is a bit of a fairy tale feel to it in that she falls in love with a commoner who she is forbidden to marry and forced to wed an absolute ass of a Baron only to later come face to face with her first love again.

What it is:
It is extremely well written. Delors is a gifted storyteller. There are no holes in the story and no lose ends. I look forward to reading anything she writes in the future because I can't quite get some of the images she meticulously painted, out of my head. It was worth it just to be introduced to her writing.

What it isn't:
It isn't entertaining. Three-fourths of the way through the book I realized that there wasn't much point and nothing was really going to happen and I was anxious to be done with it. I wanted to know what was going to happen to Gabrielle regardless and really it wasn't much. I guess in that way it's a very accurate memoir, in that it details someones life, regardless of whether or not there was any action in it. Here, I can write mine really quick: "Today I drank coffee, then I brushed my teeth. I have to go to work at 10:00". If I put it all in a book and cover an expanse of time, it is indeed a memoir, but a dull one. That's how I felt about Gabrielle. I read about her entire life, know her very well and yet, nothing ever really happened.

That said, I can't not recommend it. It's very good, in a not very good kind of way. If that makes any sense :)

For those of you who find the French Revolution fascinating, so long as it's in a novel and not a history book pick up Abundance by Sena Jeter Naslund.

Read Your Own Books Challenge 2010

Hosted by MizB at MizB's Reading Challenges

The Rules:

•Pick a number of books you’d like to read in one year
•Choose those books from your OWN collection
•Read them between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010
And, that’s it!

Some other guidelines for this challenge:

•Re-Reads are NOT allowed (the challenge is to get more of your own books read that have been sitting there waiting!)
•Audiobooks & e-books ARE allowed
•You do NOT need a blog to participate — you can leave comments on this post with your progress

Sign up begins January 1st.

This is the perfect challenge for me since my To Read list has grown out of control. I'm going to go ahead and take it a step further by listing my proposed list here, just to kind of keep myself on track.

1. Ink Exchange (Wicked Lovely, #2) by Melissa Marr
2. Atonement by Ian McEwan
3. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
4. Fragile Eternity (Wicked Lovely, #3) by Melissa Marr
5. Unclean Spirits (The Black Sun's Daughter, #1) by M.L.N. Hanover
6. Bitten (Women of the Otherworld, #1) by Kelley Armstrong
7. Poison Study (Study, #1) by Maria V. Snyder
8. Greywalker (Greywalker, Book 1) by Kat Richardson
9. Sleeping Arrangements by Madeleine Wickham
10. The Wedding Girl by Madeleine Wickham
11. Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin
12. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
13. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
14. This Charming Man by Marian Keyes
15. Second Chance by Jane Green
16. Blue Bloods (Blue Bloods, #1) by Melissa de la Cruz
17. The Guy Not Taken: Stories by Jennifer Weiner
18. Prophecy of the Sisters (Prophecy of the Sisters, #1) by Michelle Zink
19. Meridian by Amber Kizer
20. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
21. The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern, #1) by Shannon Hale
22. Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange
23. The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood
24. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
25. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
26. Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich
27. The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #3) by Lemony Snicket
28. These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer
29. Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors
30. Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

The No Kill Book Shelter- update on Shiver

Check out The Cajun Book Lady's review of Shiver, the first book adopted from the shelter!

Book Thoughts 2009

A Map of the Known World
The Awakening
The Bachelorette Party
Blood Bound
Blue Moon
Bone Crossed
Breaking Dawn
Catching Fire
City of Ashes
City of Bones
City of Glass
Dark Lover
Dead Until Dark
Eyes Like Stars
Finger Lickin' Fifteen
The Hunger Games
If I Stay
Iron Kissed
The Lightning Thief
Living Dead in Dallas
Lover Avenged
Lover Awakened
Lover Enshrined
Lover Eternal
Lover Revealed
Lover Unbound
Moon Called
The Sugar Queen
The Summoning
Thirteen Reasons Why
Touch the Dark
Wicked Lovely

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

So they say...

About Me

My Photo
Laura @ A Jane of All Reads
I read excessively and hoard books like a greedy dragon. Theoretically, I also plan to use them to barricade myself against the forthcoming zombie apocalypse.

I accept books for review as long as they're good ones. Review Policy
View my complete profile


Because you took the time to visit, this is for you:

Blog contents © A Jane of All Reads 2011. Blogger Theme by NymFont. "Jane" avatar by Parajunkee.