I sped over to the library to pick up a copy of this book after reading a review of it over at Twisted Kingdom. This reads as a mix of Neil Gaiman's Stardust, 1001 Nights, and some well-known, often-told fairy tale.
Keturah is a young village girl who follows a stag into the forest and gets lost for a few days. Eventually she sees Death come for her, but being the storyteller of the village, she tells Lord Death a story and then refuses to tell the ending unless she gets one more day of life and then, she promises, she will finish the story.
"Good Sir Death," I said too loudly, "I would tell you a story – a story of love, a love that could not be conquered even by you."
"Truely?" he asked. "I have seen many loves, and none were so great I could not divide them."
"But my tale, Lord Death, is one that will make even you love, that will heat even your frozen heart." My boldness astonished me, but I stood to lose nothing.
"Indeed," said he in disbelief. "Then say on."
"Once there was a girl -"
"An auspicious beginning."
"-who loved…no one."
"A love story in which there is no love – you have caught my attention now," said Lord Death.
Keturah gets her reprieve for one day to go find love, and to finish her tale, and Death even promises to let her live on if she finds her true love in one day. What follows is a charming story about her village and the people in it, and of Keturah, and her relationships with her friends and family and with Lord Death. A perfect fairytale. The fact that this was a young adult novel doesn't even play into it. It felt like the author wasn't writing for a specific audience – just telling a good story.