The Kept by James Scott
How Can I Describe It? It's like a mash-up of Cormac McCarthy in his book, The Road or Outer Dark and Toni Morrison's Beloved (in just the smallest way) and True Grit by Charles Portis. It's dark, cold, stark. The end is one of those that is just as expected, but not in trite way. More like, there's not one other way this book can end up and the reading of the pages before the end are like marching into the bleakness of it all.
Why Is It Worthy of a Read? I do believe that James Scott's writing is beautiful. His words are those that any writer reaches for, but only a few can really get on to the page. I think that if this book does not reach the mainstream reader that Scott's next or next will. If you read this one, you will have the honor of saying you read Scott before he was all that.
What's It About? This is the story of a woman in 1857 that is shunned from her family for "touching" or reaching out to a man of another race. She leaves her family and the man follows. They start a life way out in the wilderness. This woman does not conceive, and she truly believes that she cannot conceive with a man of another race. She is heartbroken. Somewhat by accident she becomes a midwife. She steals babies. She makes herself and Jorah a family. Coming home from another midwife job, she sees no life in her house. Tragedy has struck with the exception of her 12 year old son Caleb. The rest of the story unfolds as a result of the this tragedy and in search of redemption for Caleb.
Should You Really Read It? Yes, but only if you do not need a happy ending. If you are in a good place in your life, and take a little stark and bleak, go for it. If you are on the verge of doing something crazy because there is snow up to your roof and your car has been rear-ended yet again because of the icy road conditions and you owe taxes and you feel there is not a light at the end of the tunnel, you may want to pass on this one.