Kept: A Victorian Mystery

Kept: A Victorian Mystery

D.J. Taylor / Dec 12, 2019

Kept A Victorian Mystery A stuffed bear a pet mouse fraud and felony on the streets of London and strange goings on in the fens Full of suspense and teeming with life Kept is a Victorian mystery about the curious things m

  • Title: Kept: A Victorian Mystery
  • Author: D.J. Taylor
  • ISBN: 9780099488743
  • Page: 119
  • Format: Paperback
  • A stuffed bear, a pet mouse, fraud and felony on the streets of London, and strange goings on in the fens Full of suspense and teeming with life, Kept is a Victorian mystery about the curious things men do to get and keep what they want.August 1863 Henry Ireland, a failed landowner, dies unexpectedly in a riding accident, and his young widow disappears Three yearsA stuffed bear, a pet mouse, fraud and felony on the streets of London, and strange goings on in the fens Full of suspense and teeming with life, Kept is a Victorian mystery about the curious things men do to get and keep what they want.August 1863 Henry Ireland, a failed landowner, dies unexpectedly in a riding accident, and his young widow disappears Three years later his friend James Dixey, a celebrated naturalist, is found dead on his grounds with his throat torn out Are these deaths connected What has happened to Mrs Ireland And what are the sinister bonds that link these men to the poaching of osprey eggs in Scotland, the doomned romance of Dixey s kitchen maid and the first Great Train Robbery

    • Best Read [D.J. Taylor] ☆ Kept: A Victorian Mystery || [Historical Fiction Book] PDF ✓
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      Posted by:D.J. Taylor
      Published :2019-09-15T14:12:17+00:00

    About "D.J. Taylor"

      • D.J. Taylor

        David John Taylor born 1960 is a critic, novelist and biographer After attending school in Norwich, he read Modern History at St John s College, Oxford, and has received the 2003 Whitbread Biography Award for his life of George Orwell.He lives in Norwich and contributes to The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, New Statesman and The Spectator among other publications.He is married to the novelist Rachel Hore, and together they have three sons.


    1. This was better than I was expecting, but I wouldn't recommend it to general audiences. The style is hardcore pastiche -- not just a literary novel set in the Victorian period (e.g something by Sarah Waters), but a deliberate & very thorough mock-up of the Dickens, Gaskell, & Thackery schools of fiction. (The author makes no attempt to hide his influences; indeed, he lists them by name in the afterward.) Accordingly, Kept moves at a slow pace & takes its own sweet time with each char [...]

    2. look, being 'literary' doesn't excuse poor plotting or not having a goddamn ending.Utterly unsatisfying and confusing.Look, I read Victorian novels for fun. A book like this should have been my sort of thing. I just don't think Taylor did the Victoriana well. It was far too knowing at times, and far too earnest and others - and honestly, Taylor isn't good enough at writing characters that sound different to manage a book of this scope. It's too easy to get confused between the characters as they [...]

    3. looking for something else a few days ago, found this book which i bought years ago and then completely forgot about and with an 'I spent money on, see if I get any value" more than anything else feeling, I took a look and just got hooked on it not an easy read as it uses 19th century English (see contemporary novels, Dickens etc), moves between multiple pov's and locations, different social classes and occupations, uses various forms of narration, from journal entries to third person pov, so Ke [...]

    4. Very, very, very, very, very wordy. Too many words. The author, well I am guessing that he loves words, and I understand that love of words, but the author's overuse of words in this novel made it difficult to read, I was getting lost in the all the words, couldn't keep the thread of the story.But the wordiness wasn't the only problem. He was using a blind stitch for his thread. It was story after story seemingly unconnected, new characters often introduced in whole subplots, the whole mass of t [...]

    5. As I was reading through this, the thought struck me that I was really enjoying it because the author tried very hard to present his story in the manner of an actual novel written during the Victorian period. I love Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, etc and it occurred to me that the reason I love reading these guys is that the stories each writes is not just one single story, but a host of plots, subplots, character portraits and loose threads that come to be tied together at the end. I realized [...]

    6. I was very disappointed in this book. Yes, it was Victorian times, but it was NOT a mystery. Far from it. We had almost all the facts before we started. The only real "mysteries" were who killed Henry Ireland and James Dixey. And who murdered them wasn't really essential to the book. The FACT that Henry Ireland died was, but not who killed him.After her husband's death, Mrs. Ireland, who has suffered a mental breakdown, disappears. Where she is is quickly revealed to the reader. Why she is there [...]

    7. This book took me about a month to read, it was absolutely tortureous for me to read. I am not sure why i didn't quit half way through. I found it to really not get to the point of the story until nearly the end and when it finally came down to tying all the characters together, it came across to me as a complete after thought.

    8. Readers used to a more modern style of writing may find this book a little challenging, but it is well worth persevering! Kept has a wide range of characters, the connections between which will not be immediately seen, and often uses different forms of writing, such as the epistolatory form of letters which was highly popular during the Victorian Era. It also uses a lot of Victorian turn of phrase, and the style of the omniscient narrator, but sometimes addressing the author personally, breaking [...]

    9. I knew going into this book that it would be very Dickensian, with many characters and sub-plots and intertwining stories. I loved the idea, but I don't feel that Taylor executed it well. I found myself confused by all of the characters, since they blended together so well, without much in the way of individual differentiation, and I wasn't fond of the differing methods of story-telling Taylor employed. Sometimes the novel was in the first person, sometimes in the third person. Sometimes letters [...]

    10. I can't believe so many reviewers couldn't give this novel more than 1 or 2 stars. For me, it's an absolutely perfect book and one of my all time favourites. I've read probably 80 plus novels per year for 5 decades and I found this was something really special. Interesting characters, good period setting, wicked humour and irresistable story lines.I also liked the fact that it didn't seem to need any of the essential ingredients of so much modern literature; great beauties, strong grey-eyed men, [...]

    11. The mystery in this novel remained obscure - at least to me - until perhaps three-quarters of the way through. Taylor's method of narration, which I found fascinating and well-executed, means that the reader is left unraveling even the parts of the story that aren't mysterious per se. For me, this was most of the fun of the story. Also, Taylor pulls off the style of the Victorian novel extremely well - the tone is right, the subplots are right, the huge cast of characters is right, and the way e [...]

    12. The book is, principally, well-written and the author has put lots of effort into creating a "real" Victorian atmosphere. However, there were too many uninteresting characters and the story sort of went nowhere, and the various plot-lines were connected only vaguely. I'm quite sure that was the author's intention, but while I appreciated the excellent writing, the book didn't live up to my expectations. And though it is not the author's fault, it irritated me to notice that it somehow seems the [...]

    13. Boy, did it take me a while to get through this one! I think that's what the author was going for. He clearly wanted this to be a Dickensian novel, complete with the cast of thousands, flowery language, and intertwining plots. The only problem is that he isn't Dickens and we're not living in the 19th century reading this serially. The story is interesting enough to make you want to keep reading, and his command of the Victorian language and landscape is masterful. But the characters aren't as en [...]

    14. Oh man, this book made me so mad! I hate to be so inarticulate in describing why I disliked it so much - I think I'm just angry that the back-cover description had little or nothing to do with the actual story. I was irritated that it dragged on at a snail's pace with no reward for the reader. I give two stars for the (for the most part) engaging discriptions of Victorian London. If you do decide to dive in and read it, keep on the look for heavy leanings on the works of Charles Dickens.

    15. I once sat on a coach for 24 hours. I would compare that level of tedium to reading this book. The concept of the story was fine. The characters however never came to life, the flow of the story too fragmented to persevere with. I kept going thinking it may improve or tie in nicely at the end or even I may have a moment of getting 'it''. Like the coach ride I did get to the destination but would never recommend it to anyone.

    16. had me gripped throughout - would have given it five stars but the ending disappointed me - more of a whimper than a bang. Excellent writing, you are really drawn into this murky Victorian world and the characters in it. If you enjoy Victorian style Gothic tales this one will satisfy and I think it's a read for male and female alike.

    17. Bored out of my skull. I couldn't finish it. Hated the writing style. Boring characters, and no plot to speak of b/c it was soooooo slow.

    18. very densely plotted - many characters and storylines to keep track of. unfortunately, i felt like my favorite storyline (about the 'kept' woman) was sort of dropped and left barely resolved.

    19. Back in high school creative writing class, I had an assignment to write a soap opera script, which would then be read in front of the class. It’s not often that you get assigned to write something so ridiculous, so I went all out. In the span of 10 pages, there was amnesia caused by a tragic ladder accident, rival doctors, scheming exes, secret twins, buried treasure, familial revelations, covert relationships, and dramatic comas. It was a masterpiece. Of course, soap opera conventions are in [...]

    20. ‘I will happily declare that there is no sight so harmonious to the eye or suggestive to the spirit as Highland scenery.’In 1863, Henry Ireland, a young landowner is thrown from his horse and dies. His widow Isabel, already grieving for the loss of their child is removed from society into the care of a guardian, James Dixey who has a passion for collecting. Mr Pardew, a debt collector manages to entangle both a destitute grocer and a prominent lawyer in his shady schemes. Mr Pardew has great [...]

    21. I was puzzled, at the beginning, by this book's low ratings. It's one of those big books that you can fully inhabit, and the author clearly knows the period, and its literature, very well. But in the end, while I did enjoy the book, I didn't enjoy it as much as I expected. There are characters and plotlines which are deeply engaging, and those which are less so. The books contains multitudes, which I found myself skimming some of, while wishing others lasted longer.

    22. Maybe I should call this "tried to read." The author made great strides in imitating Victorian writing, but what might have worked in 1860 didn't do much for me reading in 2013. The text relies heavily on archaic speech patterns and words that haven't seen the light of day in many decades. I've made two attempts at this book, and both times haven't made it much past quarter of the book. Another thing that annoyed me was the jump in styles of story telling -- first person omniscient narrator, jou [...]

    23. I enjoyed this novel, though it took a little work to get into; it was quite dense, written in a very Victorian Style, like Wilkie Collins . There were lots of different stories going on, sometimes only tangentially interlinked. And even short notes purportedly by George Eliot and Charles dickens. There were Two primary stories. The first focused on the widow Mrs Ireland, whose husband died in mysterious circumstances. The second focused on the enigmatic Mr Pardew, who is planning an audacious r [...]

    24. I guess I enjoyed reading this book, but I came close to giving it only two stars--out of revenge. Because in the end I was kind of disappointed. I was originally drawn to it because it was recently written by a Victorian-novel scholar, in the Victorian style. This he pulls off very well, I think, and that is what is enjoyable about reading it (if you, like I, are a fan of Dickens, et al.). What I didn't like is that I kept hoping for the plot mysteries to finally be all tidied up, but that didn [...]

    25. Kept was a trial to get through. I must have started this book at least 6 months ago and finally finished yesterday. It is about many twisted plot lines that at the end all converge on 3 main characters: a gentleman, his ward, and a debt-collector. I think the author delighted in figuring out all of the interconnections that could be introduced. For instance, there was a chapter about some guy in the wilderness in Canada where it was never revealed until many chapters later who the heck this per [...]

    26. What did I think? I'm just glad I'm done. The cover was intriguing and proclaimed a Victorian mystery so I thought I'd give it a try. This was a tortuous, convoluted plot surrounding a train robbery, a murder and the estate of an insane lady- and somehow all these were connected, maybe? The delivery of the plot was so mixed up-always going back and forth between characters, time periods, and subplots-that I found it difficult to follow and wound up just not caring. I ended up skimming the last f [...]

    27. "Kept" was an interesting novel. Perhaps, the most intricate plot-line of any book I have ever read. Taylor, it seems, delights in the introduction of numerous connections between the huge cast of characters and the introduction of what would initially seem random characters who until later appear to be utterly meaningless. The mystery however eventually rests on the shoulders of three characters and it is from here that novel makes for easier reading. "Kept" is definately not for a light read a [...]

    28. I liked it as an interesting piece of art, a collage of different writings --letters, narratives, news article, gossip columns, confessions, and legal documents, plus varying points of view including of those going mad or financially disintegrating or in life-or-death crisis-- that together tell a story. But it took me ages to read, it wasn't at all relaxing, and it began to feel like a chore near the end. I feel like this author could have used an editor who would provide a voice for readers' n [...]

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