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A Creature of Moonlight
Rebecca Hahn
Saffron And Brimstone: Strange Stories
Elizabeth Hand
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance
Lois McMaster Bujold
Snow in May: Stories
Kseniya Melnik
Keturah And Lord Death - Martine Leavitt 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 that she will be spared if she finds her true love. With a charm from the village witch, and now feared by her neighbors due to her connection to the uncanny, she desperately seeks both for love and to fend off the plague (that Death has prophecied) from her village.
Leavitt skillfully weaves together elements from many traditional tales with a good dose of originality and a smooth, enjoyable writing style. The only problem here is that I kept finding jarring inconsistencies in her portrayal of the life of the village - I think the book would have benefited from a closer adherence to the actualities of life in medieval England, since that is where it is ostensibly set. (If food is in such short supply, villagers would not be 'portly'; if lemons are worth their weight in gold, oranges would not be worthless; where did all the resources for a fair and town cleanup suddenly come from, etc, etc.)
Still, I loved the overall concept and aesthetic of the book, and would definitely read more from this author."