29 of 39 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Kept: A Novel (Hardcover)
The Kept is a striking melding of mystery, suspense, drama and faith set to the backdrop of 1897 rural New York state and heralds a debut voice that spins a tale just as unpredictable as the January weather outside the reader's window. With a multifaceted mystery in the heart of The Kept that probes the corners of the human conscience and gallops alongside a riveting story of repercussions all stemming from the wicked need of "want", the potential reader may find themselves reflecting on this novel days after finishing. Main and minor characters are equally fleshed out and aim to capture the reader's complete attention and sympathy while the stunning writing perfectly balances the stark setting, conflicting psychological suffering and tragedy with moments of endearing relationships. Historical details are shared with the reader so that an easy distinction can be made to the time period with well researched descriptions and the author may fascinate the curious reader with some new knowledge regarding unfamiliar labor occupations surrounding the use of Lake Erie during this era.
That all being said, this novel is not a light read The Kept is an emotional story with details and descriptions of the most heinous acts and the worst of human suffering. If the potential reader is looking for a read that conveys brutal realism-you found it. The only real negatives this reviewer found with The Kept were at times these oddly arranged rushed action scenes that caused distraction to stop and reread chapters to figure out what just happened to a character and the ending was somewhat disappointing. I understand that essentially the allure of The Kept is the bleakness of the setting and the terrible events that propel the beginning and this may not be a read for everyone but still the potential reader should not shy away from this striking debut novel.
Reviewed in January 2014, review written January 2014/ copy of THE KEPT borrowed from local library
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 15, 2014 6:44:56 AM PST
Thank you for an excellently balanced review that addresses the strengths and weaknesses of the work without feeling compelled to give away the story. I'm still mulling over whether I will select it for myself, but you have given very helpful insights to how this book will appeal to potential audiences. Well done.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2015 2:47:37 PM PDT
Elspeth G. Perkin says:
You are very welcome and thank you for the feedback. I loved your review for The Child Thief by the way, I really enjoyed that read and marked it as one of my favorites of that year. Red Winter by the same author was very entertaining as well if you haven't tried it yet.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2015 5:55:44 PM PDT
I have not read Red Winter. I read the book summary and wondered if it would be too similar a story to The Child Thief.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2015 7:25:52 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 26, 2015 9:22:33 AM PDT
Elspeth G. Perkin says:
It may seem similar with the setting but it deals with a different Slavic folktale and the haunting realizations of war versus the shared paranoia of a small village. To be quite honest, I preferred The Child Thief for its gripping mystery and it was more of a true thriller but Red Winter is a pretty good snowy/rainy day read if you love the familiar setting and fast paced action with a very dark representation of the time period. The ending was a little weak though but then again I thought the same about The Child Thief.
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