Cover image for My soul to keep
My soul to keep
Due, Tananarive, 1966-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Eos, [2001]

Physical Description:
346 pages ; 24 cm
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.5 22.0 41475.
Format :


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When Jessica marries David, he is everything she wants in a family man: brilliant, attentive, ever youthful. Yet she still feels something about him is just out of reach. Soon, as people close to Jessica begin to meet violent, mysterious deaths, David makes an unimaginable confession: More than 400 years ago, he and other members of an Ethiopian sect traded their humanity so they would never die, a secret he must protect at any cost. Now, his immortal brethren have decided David must return and leave his family in Miami. Instead, David vows to invoke a forbidden ritual to keep Jessica and his daughter with him forever.

Harrowing, engrossing and skillfully rendered, My Soul to Keep traps Jessica between the desperation of immortals who want to rob her of her life and a husband who wants to rob her of her soul. With deft plotting and an unforgettable climax, this tour de force reminiscent of early Anne Rice will win Due a new legion of fans.

Author Notes

Tananarive Due, a former "Miami Herald" columnist, is the author of the national bestselling "My Soul to Keep" & "The Between", which was shortlisted for the prestigious Bram Stoker Award for a first novel. She lives in Washington State with her husband.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Due's second novel is more compelling than her first, The Between (1995). In the spirit of Octavia Butler's novel, Kindred, the supernatural elements are rooted in an African and African American heritage and culture. Dawit's story spans 400 years and several countries. Yet, it is his current life, with wife Jessica and daughter Kira, that he wants to hold on to forever. His lives as a warrior, slave, jazz musician, teacher, husband, and father have all ended amid sorrow and extreme human conditions. He seeks to balance his mortality and immortality, yet with each mortal experience his perceptions of life are more human than wizardly. He is summoned to return to the house of his Life Blood brothers. This order, complicated by his love for his family, causes him to disobey and jeopardize the existence of the brotherhood. Due has written an incredible story about eternal life and succeeds in inducing the reader to suspend disbelief until the very end of the book. --Lillian Lewis

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this harrowing and moving second novel, Due (The Between) enlivens the potentially formulaic genre of supernatural suspense with a sharp eye for realistic detail. An 80-year-old black woman named Rosalie Tillis Banks is asphyxiated in a Chicago nursing home by her strangely youthful father, the legendary jazz clarinetist Seth "Spider" Tillis. This young/old man is known to African American journalist Jessica Jacobs-Wolde as "Mr. Perfect"‘her husband David. At first, Jessica thinks she has it all: a beautiful young daughter, a coveted place on the Miami Herald's elite investigative team and her doting husband, a noted linguist and jazz historian who has put his career on hold to raise their daughter. The plot shifts to the paranormal when David turns out to be more perfect than she could ever imagine: born some 450 years earlier in Abyssinia, he is immortal. Jessica tries to shrug off his amazing ability to heal himself from injuries, but the journalist in her can't ignore the puzzling facts for long. Meantime, David's emotional attachments to mortals are a source of deep pain for him and a potential threat to his immortal brothers; once they learn that David has told Jessica their secret, the leader of the immortals sends Mahmoud, a Searcher who is David's closest brother, to retrieve him. As people close to Jessica begin dying violently, David plots to give his wife and daughter the gift of immortality, whether they want it or not. The pull between the mortal and immortal defines the span of this deftly woven tale, a novel populated with vivid, emotional characters that is also a chilling journey to another world. $65,000 ad/promo; author tour. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

YA‘From the beginning, Jessica knows that David is different, but life with him seems perfect. With the birth of their daughter, life should be blissful. However, his ageless face and his perfect skin cause her investigative-reporter instincts to start questioning. Also, his lack of interest in the events of her life and work cause her to doubt the completeness of their marriage. By chance, a newspaper story Jessica writes on elder care evolves into a book proposal. Research into one of the cases leads mysteriously to David‘her David. As the story develops, Jessica learns the truth about her husband and the choice he made so many centuries ago. David sold his soul for eternal life on Earth. He tells her he is not David, but Dawit, an immortal. Now he is offering her the same choice, against the doctrine of this secret society of believers. Readers are introduced to their world before Jessica discovers the truth. Present-day human interaction and the ways of the immortals are woven together with imagination and suspense. Traditional religious values, exhibited by Jessica's family, add another dimension to the plot and impact on the woman's reaction when she learns the truth. Those familiar with Anne Rice's novels will be instantly drawn into the world of Dawit and the society created by the immortals.‘Beth Devers, Elmhurst Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.