Keturah and Lord Death, by Martine Leavitt
Keturah lives in a small town on the edge of the forest. At 16, she is one of the most beautiful girls in town, she is a storyteller, and she longs to find her true love. One day, she sees the Hart, a beautiful stag, on the edge of the trees and begins to follow him. She follows and follows until she is hopelessly lost. Three days pass and she is close to dying when Lord Death comes to her to take her away. Keturah is not ready to die, and she begins to bargain with Lord Death. She tells him a story, and promises to finish it the next day, if only he will let her live to find her love in that day. Lord Death agrees, and Keturah returns to her people, seeking love and also seeking to protect them from the plague that Lord Death has assured her is on the way. The story that follows is beautifully told, complex, troubling, and lightening. I really liked this fairy tale. The ending is surprising and satisfying. The twists and turns are interesting. The telling is lovely.