Thus begins the incredible tale in James Scott’s debut, The Kept. The novel takes place on the New York shore of Lake Erie, in the late 1890’s. The story follows Elsbeth, the mother, and Caleb, her twelve year-old son. Elsbeth is a midwife who has stolen all of her children, because she can not have them on her own. Caleb is a boy entering manhood early, a boy who does not know the woman he has thought his mother until now. Elsbeth is plagued by guilt, and trying to find redemption, if only in the eyes of Caleb.
James Scott’s writing is beautiful: from the descriptions of his landscapes, to the sounds within it, to the secrets hidden in his characters. This is a compelling novel I found hard to put down, and when I did, I found it lingering in my thoughts.