In the winter of 1897, Elspeth Howell treks across miles of snow and ice to the isolated farmstead in upstate New York where she and her husband have raised their five children. Her midwife's salary is tucked into the toes of her boots, and her pack is full of gifts for her family. But as she crests the final hill, and sees her darkened house and a smokeless chimney, immediately she knows that an unthinkable crime has destroyed the life she so carefully built.
Her lone comfort is her twelve-year-old son, Caleb, who joins her in mourning the tragedy and planning its reprisal. Their long journey leads them to a rough-hewn lake town, defined by the violence both of its landscape and of its inhabitants. There Caleb is forced into a brutal adulthood, as he slowly discovers truths about his family he never suspected, and Elspeth must confront the terrible urges and unceasing temptations that have haunted her for years. Throughout it all, the love between mother and son serves as the only shield against a merciless world.
A scorching portrait of guilt and lost innocence, atonement and retribution, resilience and sacrifice, pregnant obsession and primal adolescence, The Kept is told with deep compassion and startling originality, and introduces James Scott as a major new literary voice.
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by Scott O'Dell
by Scott Ventrella
by Scott Westerfeld
by Scott Mariani
by Bronwyn Scott
"Narrator Kate Udall makes James ScottÕs disturbing debut novel choice listening. In northern New York in the late nineteenth century, Elspeth Howell and her 12-year-old son, Caleb, set out to find the men who brutally murdered their family. While the two are motivated by revenge, this textured story offers much more. UdallÕs performance slowly peels away carefully concealed secrets whose revelations leave no one unscathed. Udall captures the charactersÕ moral wretchedness in an unforgiving world, the rage and pent-up emotions of mother and son, and the human capacity for cruelty. Not for the squeamish due to some explicit raw descriptions, ScottÕs controlled prose and UdallÕs understated narration make this an experience that will stay with you long after you remove your earbuds. S.J.H. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine"
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