The Kept (Large Print / Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews


    Wow. There really are no words for The Kept that could really do it justice. It is the most disturbing yet beautiful book I have ever read. Set in the winter of 1897, midwife Elspeth Howell returns home from months away at work to find her husband and four children murdered in their small country home. By some shred of luck, Caleb, her twelve-year-old son survives and the two must endure the most devastating experience of their lives so far and venture out into the world to find their family's murderers. Over the course of the story you learn that Elspeth may not be everything you think she is and Caleb learns more about himself than he would ever bargain for. This is a story of obsession, retribution, redemption, loss and love. Despite all of its rough and disturbing exterior, this book is beautifully written and definitely worth the time.

— Chelsea S

January 2014 Indie Next List


“It is a rare pleasure to read a novel that is written with such self-assuredness, balance, and grace as The Kept, but the fact that it is also a debut makes it all the more extraordinary. Elspeth and Caleb's troubled odyssey through rural upstate New York at the turn of the 20th century is both vivid and compelling, with the starkness of the setting matched only by the ruthless nature of the characters, all stunningly balanced with beautiful prose. Scott joins the pantheon of great American writers such as Cormac McCarthy and Flannery O'Connor in his understanding of the dichotomy of violence and beauty.”
— Emily Crowe, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

Description


With shades of Charles Portis, Cormac McCarthy and Flannery O'Connor, this is a gothic western transferred to the ice-locked wilds of upstate New York at the turn of the 20th century; a brutal and searing debut novel about a mother's obsession and a son's search for answers in the wake of a terrible and violent tragedy.

In the winter of 1897, midwife Elspeth Howell returns to her isolated farmstead to find her husband and four of her five children murdered. Before she discovers her remaining son, Caleb, alive and hiding in the kitchen pantry, she is shot.

Caleb nurses his mother back to health, cleaning her wounds and keeping her fed, before he and Elspeth leave their home to seek retribution from the men who committed this heinous crime. As they travel from country to town to hunt the murderers, the reader learns of Elspeth's deep secret-that she kidnapped the very children who call her mother-and questions her role in the novel's initial violence. Meanwhile Caleb is confronted with the ways of a world he's never known. The line between justice and vengeance is thrown into question as Caleb and Elspeth are forced to reconsider their relationship and what unknown future lies ahead for both of them.

The Kept is a portrait of both maternal obsessions and a primal adolescence in a brutal world. Fans of True Grit's Mattie Ross and All the Pretty Horses's Jimmy Blevins will love Caleb Howell, the next great old-beyond-his-years protaganist of an unforgettable literary Western-this time set in the icy wilderness of the East Coast.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781410468710
ISBN-10: 1410468712
Large Print: Yes
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Publication Date: May 9th, 2014
Pages: 511
Language: English
 

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