Kept : A Victorian Mystery, Paperback

Kept : A Victorian Mystery Paperback

2.5 out of 5 (4 ratings)

Description

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 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?

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Reviews

Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by
4

A pastiche of course, but a totally intentional one. If you're looking for action and high adventure then this is probably not for you. If, however, you enjoy characterisation and descriptive prose, sentences constructed in the highest of high Victorian then read on. Both the descriptions of the bleak fens and the poverty of the London slums are brought evocatively to life. There are echoes of Dickens and Thackery and (strangely uncredited) Wilkie Collins. As a Patrick O'Brien devotee I was constantly reminded of his work - perhaps more because both authors are so thoroughly imbued in the period (although Aubrey and Maturin are a good 50 years earlier of course), rather than any direct comparison between the two. Cleverly the author writes from a variety of view points - first person narrative, excerpts from letters, newspaper clippings and the like. I think it is fair to say that no two chapters are alike.The plot is almost incidental to the story but includes all the best Victorian themes - murder, kidnapping and theft. If you accept this novel for what it is then you will enjoy it greatly.

Review by
2.5

Whilst the writing and the language were evocative of the time, I was disappointed with this novel. Maybe I was expecting too much after having read 'Oliver Twist' by Dickens, "The Woman in White' by Wilkie Collins and 'Far from the Madding Crowd' by Thomas Hardy.The Story starts interestingly enough with the seemingly unrelated deaths of two gentleman and the decent into madness of a young widow who is then in effect imprissioned in a decaying country estate belonging to a strange elderly gentleman entrusted with her care. However the story then takes a long time to come together, with each chapter featuring various, at times, seemingly unconnected people or events including, a pet mouse, a wolf, a failed grogery salesman, a train robbery, lawyers, mens clubs, a pushy mother and other seedy characters. I admit at times to considering putting the book aside. I was glad when I reached the end, where I suppose after what seemed a very long time,everything did come together. Overall though, It didn't live up to the cover blurb.

Review by
2

look, being 'literary' doesn't excuse poor plotting or not having a goddamn ending.<br/><br/>Utterly unsatisfying and confusing.<br/><br/>Look, I read Victorian novels for <i>fun</i>. 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 all seem so similar.

Review by
2

look, being 'literary' doesn't excuse poor plotting or not having a goddamn ending.<br/><br/>Utterly unsatisfying and confusing.<br/><br/>Look, I read Victorian novels for <i>fun</i>. 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 all seem so similar.

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