The Kept

A Novel

Scott, James

Book - 2014
Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
The Kept
After her husband and four of her children are brutally murdered in the winter of 1897, midwife Elspeth Howell, along with her surviving son, twelve-year-old Caleb, takes on the frozen wilderness to find the men responsible for shattering their family.

Publisher: New York :, Harper,, c2014
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 0062236652
Characteristics: 357 pages ;,24 cm


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Nov 09, 2014
  • Chapel_Hill_KenMc rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

This is a gritty and grim tale of consuming revenge and crushing remorse. Slow-paced and methodical, it may take awhile to grow on you, but as the characters develop in their very confined universe--a small town in rural 19th-century New York--the suspense builds as they try to come to terms with the horrifying events of their pasts.

Sep 27, 2014
  • lilywit2 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I loved this book, couldn't put it down. Very impressive first novel!

Sep 22, 2014
  • nelson21 rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.


Jul 06, 2014
  • Yoo_hoo5 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

This was really a strange novel. It was suspenseful, in that I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened. But it was also very depressing and maybe a little far-fetched. For example, Elspeth seems to be able to live through gun shot wounds, fights, working hard, manual labor and traveling by foot farther than humanly possible, and yet she dies a simple death in the end.
I'm not really sure how I felt about it -- good or bad, so I'm giving it 3 stars.

Jun 14, 2014
  • ValleyViewLibrarians rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Atmospheric and filled with vivid imagery, Scott's debut novel tells a compelling tale of deception, loyalty, family, and revenge. <emorable, well-drawn characters and a harsh winter landscape dominate the tone of the book and readers will find themselves immersed in this bleak but gorgeously written novel. Although set in the Northeast, Scott's writing will appeal to fans of literary Westerns, especially Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy and Philip Meyer's "The Son."

May 17, 2014
  • JCLJaredH rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

James Scott created a dark yet lyrical story of a mother and son trying to find themselves after the massacre of their family. There are so many things wrapped into this story: secrets, revenge, mystery, survival, coming of age, redemption, etc. In many ways it is a late nineteenth century version of The Road. A good read for fans of Cold Mountain.

Apr 27, 2014
  • finn75 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Well written bleak story of a midwife whose past come backs to haunt her and destroy her family. Along with her son she seeks revenge her families destruction but along the way we find she is no innocent.

Mar 16, 2014
  • moviefan01 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Well. This was certainly a...different sort of historical novel. I found the style lyrical and the tone haunting, and it served as a good action-mystery sort of book. The question you might ask is, how far would you go to have a child or a family? The novel's character Elspeth
Howell works as a midwife but seems to obsessively steal the children she delivers. One section of the novel has Elspeth dressing as a man to work at an ice plant, in a very Norah Vincent Self-Made Man fashion, but The Kept is a beautifully written novel that explores the relationships between broken, damaged people.

Feb 20, 2014
  • beebee40 rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

Eerie,Gothic,disturbing. Difficult to follow the story; too many characters in this book. Somehow the narrative is not clean, organized. The idea is here but this young author would be well-served to develop a better framework. I became annoyed with his abrupt jump from one element to another. Finally, stop the overabundant use of adjectives and write cleanly. A story is here, a good book. But Scott missed the mark.


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Jul 08, 2014
  • Yoo_hoo5 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.



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