4/10/2016. BOOK REVIEW: THE KEPT BY JAMES SCOTT
Several years I ago I stood on a red-rock mountain in Arches National Park, Utah, and looked across a vista of severe canyons and soaring rock formations, including amazing natural arches. The land was stark, but it was beautiful. In the same way, The Kept, a novel by James Scott, is beautiful. It’s not the kind of novel that welcomes you with warmth, but it takes your breath with its incisive characterizations and the harsh realities they reveal. The characters of The Kept expose the good and bad in all of us with crystal sharp clarity.
The Kept opens with Elspeth Howell arriving at her isolated home in upstate New York after months away working as a midwife. The year is 1897, and with no access to more sophisticated transportation, Elspeth is walking through deep snow. She knows things are terribly wrong when she sees no smoke above the house’s chimney nor light in the windows. No sounds from her five children break the silence of the snow.