Kept: A Novel (Paperback)
When Henry Ireland dies unexpectedly from what appears to be a riding accident in August 1863, the failed landowner leaves behind little save his high-strung young widow, Isabel—who somehow ends up in the home of Ireland's friend James Dixey. A celebrated naturalist, Dixey collects strange trophies in his secluded, decaying manse and has questionable associations with rather unsavory characters—including a pair of thuggish poachers named Dewar and Dunbar. Dixey's precocious, inquisitive young servant, Esther, cannot turn a blind eye to the suspicious activities surrounding her. While in the crime-ridden streets of London, a determined captain of Scotland Yard follows the threads that may well link a daring train robbery to the disappearance of a disturbed heiress as well as to the possible murder of Henry Ireland.
D. J. Taylor's Kept is a gorgeously intricate, dazzling reinvention of Victorian life and passions that is also a riveting investigation into some of the darkest, most secret chambers of the human heart.
D. J. Taylor is a novelist, critic, and acclaimed biographer of William Thackeray and George Orwell. His Orwell: The Life won the Whitbread Award in 2003. Married with three children, he lives in Norwich, England.
“...a genuinely fascinating reading experience…a powerful contribution to the changing practice of historical fiction.” — Philippa Gregory, Sunday Times (London)
“A tour-de-force in the style of Dickens. The eccentrics and Victoriana are…captivating.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Intriguing.” — Charlotte Observer
“Taylor has captured the essence of the Victorian novel and weaves it through his gripping narrative.” — Library Journal
“A gripping tale, crafted with passion and intelligence, and an honorable addendum to the golden age of the English novel.” — Simon Baker, New Statesman
“A smartly satisfying novel…Intricate and vividly realized…a pin-sharp recreation of 19th century life....a playful reimagining of history” — Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Telegraph
“Kept is a great read. It intrigues, diverts and delights. It is clever and intricate and huge fun.” — Susan Hill, Guardian
“It is unlikely that many such offerings will equal, let alone surpass, D.J. Taylor’s Kept” — Francis King, Literary Review
“A marvel of intricacy and ingenuity. Dickens and his peers would surely have approved.” — Washington Times