Booktalk: Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt

Keturah and Lord Death was one of those books I never thought I’d be able to share here.  That’s because it had only been offered in hardcover, and the hardcover edition was out of print.  But then I discovered that it’s being released in paperback next month, so if you don’t already have copies of this book on your library shelves, BUY SOME NOW!

I’ve recently been dusting off my notes from the “Booktalking 101” presentation I’ve given to students in the past.  One of the topics I discuss is the importance of having a really powerful first sentence that will captivate your audience and make them listen.  The first sentence of this booktalk is one of the examples I use to demonstrate the power of an opening sentence.  Yes, this is kind of a girl book, and yes, this is kind of a romance.  But if you show the boys and girls in your audience that this is a fantasy book with a dark edge, you’ll be able to capture all of their attention.

You can learn more about Martine Leavitt on her Goodreads profile.  I’d recommend you visit her website, but right now it’s really more of a work in progress


Keturah is 16 years old, and she’s waiting to die.  She entered the forest near her cottage three days ago, and it was a long time before she realized she was lost.  Now her clothes are torn, she’s covered in insect bites, and she’s starving.  When death comes, he appears in the form of a terrifying, cold, and beautiful man.  He is wearing a black cape and riding a black stallion.  Keturah is not afraid of Death – he’s already taken her mother, her father, and her grandfather, so she feels like she knows him already.

Keturah begins to tell Death a story – a story of a love that could not be conquered by Death.  As she tells her story, Death listens carefully, becoming more and more involved in her tale of love … until she stops … and tells him that she will continue the story tomorrow. 

IF he lets her live that long.

Death is astonished that Keturah would gamble with her life this way … but he does want to hear the end of the story.  Death allows Keturah to live another day, and he makes her an additional offer.  If she can find her own true love in one day’s time, then Death won’t take her at all.  When Death returns Keturah to her cottage, she is filled with both hope and despair.  If she can find her true love in one day, then Death will not claim her.  But Death also warned her that a plague would come to her village soon, killing many of her friends and neighbors.

A few days ago, Keturah had no worries in the world.  Today, she must figure out how to save herself, how to save her village … and how to rob Death of the souls he plans to collect.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *