The Keeper of Stories
by Sally Page
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Pub Date 28 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 28 Feb 2022
HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter, One More Chapter
She can’t recall what started her collection. Maybe it was in a fragment of conversation overheard as she cleaned a sink? Before long (as she dusted a sitting room or defrosted a fridge) she noticed people were telling her their stories. Perhaps they always had done, but now it is different, now the stories are reaching out to her and she gathers them to her…
Cleaner Janice knows that it is in people’s stories that you really get to know them. From recently-widowed Fiona and her son Adam; to opera-singing Geordie; and the awful Mrs ‘YeahYeahYeah’ and her fox terrier, Decius, Janice has a unique insight into the community around her.
When Janice starts cleaning for Mrs B – a shrewd and tricksy woman in her nineties – she finally meets someone who wants to hear her story. But Janice is clear: she is the keeper of stories, she doesn’t have a story to tell. At least, not one she can share.
Mrs B is no fool and knows there is more to Janice than meets the eye. What is she hiding? After all, doesn’t everyone have a story to tell?
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 204 members
I loved this book and main character. Janice is a hard working woman, married to a slouch, who doesn't know her own worth. She is “ just a cleaner” but through her daily interactions with her clients we see how truly special she is. Her client's are great characters all on their own. I really enjoyed this. Well done.
Janice is a quite woman who would not stand out in a crowd. Not because she's unimportant but because that's the way she wants to be ,she wants to fade into the shadows and not bring attention to herself. Janice is a cleaner, a cleaner who visits lots of houses cleaning and collecting their stories. She now has a whole library of stories inside her head tore tell.
When Janice goes to work for the cantankerous Mrs B she is asked what her story is. Janice doesn't have one, but she does. It's buried so deeply inside her and has a wall built around it that she cannot get it out and Janice needs too.
I enjoyed this book. The author could have written a book of short stories but instead she has woven them into this wonderful story of love, of guilt and of happy endings. Love it.
The Keeper of Stories is an interesting, enjoyable and quite engaging story, I particularly enjoyed it as I love to hear peoples stories myself. I think anyone who is fascinated in people's lives, with love this book and be completely engrossed from start to finish.
Wow, what a fantastic book that kept me rooting for the main character, Janice. Janice had had a hard life and is married to one of life’s takers. She works hard cleaning but along the way she collects other people’s stories never giving away her story. Until that is she starts cleaning for Mrs B, a lady who becomes an import part of Janice's life. I loved Adam, who had lost his father, a dog helped him start to heal and played an important role in the book. The book has so many interesting characters, each with their own story and I loved it.
A lovely story of Janice the cleaner who collects other people’s stories, whilst keeping her own story hidden. When the story does emerge it is sad but ultimately uplifting. Great characters and a wonderful ending.
What a brilliant novel! So many interesting characters covering a wide range of emotions from grief, anger and guilt to respect, growing confidence and blossoming romance. I fell in love with the cheeky Decius who had an impact on several of the characters' lives. This is my favourite book of the year. Highly recommended.
This is a really great read. I started it worrying it was going to be sentimental but it wasn’t at all - the writer’s voice is fresh and the pace of the story never falters. I loved all of the characters, especially the sweary dog.
Janice is a cleaner. She sees many things as she goes about her work and feels everyone has a story to tell- just one that makes them who they are. She really doesn't like her husband any more- he has had almost a job for every year she has known him and she finds him dull and tedious so she finds life in other people. When she goes to clean for Mrs B, she finally meets someone who wants to know her story- but does she have one?
This is a treasure of a read- there is just that certain something about Janice that keeps the pages turning- to me the skill of an excellent author. I believe that this is a debut novel- wow- keep me posted for the next one please- a stunning piece of writing that makes reading this so easy and a pleasure-not something everyone can do. A warmth of characters that you can't help but take to and a story that invites you in with a welcome. A highly recommended read.
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This new to me author, Sally Page, has written a beautiful, heartfelt, wonderful story! This book is one that once you pick it up, you will not want to put it down.
Full of engaging characters that keeps the reader wanting for more. The main character, Janice (the cleaner), is the Keeper of Stories. She loves hearing everyone else’s stories but doesn’t really feel she has one herself, Janice truly doesn’t realize her own worth and as the book progresses you will find yourself wanting to befriend Janice.
This is a wonderful story and beautifully written, It’s an extremely easy read and one that you will not want to put down.
Thank you to #netgalley, #harpercollinsUK and #SallyPage for giving me the opportunity to read this lovely story.
Janice collects other stories but does not think she is worthy of her own story. She is a mother of an adult son, has a husband (meh) and quietly goes through life, working as a house cleaner. She has a childhood secret that makes her feel undeserving of a story of her own. As Janice puts it, she is JUST THE CLEANER.. Mrs. B, a feisty ex-spy and new client helps Janice see that she can have her own story. Along the way, you will meet Decius-the cussing terrier, Geordie-the singer and Euen who looks like a geography teacher. And more memorable characters. This is such a feel good book. Janice soon realizes that she is NOT JUST THE CLEANER and I thoroughly enjoyed going on that journey with her. Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
A lovely heart warming story of grief and loss.
Janice and her fellow characters evoke sympathy and empathy, whilst spinning their own story.
A thoughtful insightful look at how guilt can blight a blameless life and a remarkable read to savour and remembered long after the final page has been read
Janice is a cleaner and she spends all her time collecting stories be it on a bus or from her customers. The story of Fiona and Adam is a sad one and she helps them heal. The story of Mrs Yeahyeahyeah and her husband Mr Nononotnow and their dog Decius is untold until she meets his mother Mrs B who is quite a character. Over the course of her cleaning visits they develop a friendship and Mrs B tells her the story of Becky in instalments. Mrs B is also the only person who asks Janice for her story which over Brandy she finally shares.
This book is very different from what I expected but in a good way. I really enjoyed reading the various stories and I was sad to reach the end of the book. I highly recommend it as it’s a very good read.
Thank you to netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest views and opinions.
Lovely book! Our heroine - Janice is a cleaner and a very good one too. Not only can she clean but she can turn her hand to just about any problem. But she is not happily married. Her life is centred around her clients - some she likes very much but others she decidedly does not. They are the subject of her stories, oh and the people on the bus too especially the driver who looks like a geography teacher. She takes on one more - almost against her wishes but this client turns out to be a person to aids and abets a crucial and pivotal turning point in her life. I urge everyone to read this delightful tale and enter Janice's world.
Cleaner Janice is a recent addition to the cast of marginalised women toiling on the margins of society that have been populating recent literary fiction output. Janice is so sympathetically drawn that readers will want to root for her from the beginning. Trapped in a stale marriage that has run its course and seemingly devoid of a story of her own, Janice instead collects the anecdotes of the colourful, idiosyncratic people she cleans for - until one of her clients becomes interested in her story after all, But what will happen when Janice starts reflecting on who she actually is?
I thought this was a wonderful novel about uncovering the extraordinary in mundane situations, and in the strength of human character. It is worth persevering past the initial pages, and getting to know the fairly large cast of ancillary characters, to uncover this important message in Sally Page's novel. I warmly recommend this novel that is full of warmth, little but important insights, and goodness, and I cannot wait to see what Ms. Page will write next!
Oh Janice. You have left an indelible imprint on my heart!
"The Keeper of Stories" is about human nature with all its flaws and inconsistencies. A fabulous story about storytelling and about guilt. It showcases people who are selfish and narcissistic as well as people who are kindness personified. It also portrays the blessings of friendship, and the influence parents have over their children, both good and bad, and the love of a good dog (with a foul mouth).
The writing, the way the story was told and how it flowed, reminded me greatly of the work of Fredrik Backman. Anyone following my reviews will know that that is high praise from me indeed. Written with empathy and humour, it conveys the author's love of books and story-telling with aplomb. It also serves to remind us that the elderly, the people with the richest and most abundant stories, should never be underestimated.
Life-affirming, hopeful fiction that can definitely fit into the 'Uplit' genre, this wonderful novel will definitely be on my list of 'Best Books of 2022'. Highly recommended!
Everyone tells Janice their story when she cleans for them. She knows their secrets but they know very little about her. What is she hiding? Janice is so likeable. This book is so well written and I was so invested in the characters and the storyline.
A wonderfully quirky book, well-written and well-characterised.
Janice is a cleaner, married to a man who can't hold a job down and wastes her money. One of these days, she's going to turn around and walk back up the path instead of going through her own front door.
She collects other people's stories but keeps very quiet about her own. Will the bus driver, who looks like a geography teacher, manage to get it out of her? For that to happen, she'd have to meet him properly, maybe over coffee.
Janice has many voices in her head - Decius, the dog she walks for Mrs Yeahyeahyeah, Sister Bernadette, and the protagonists of all the stories she collects. She comes to realise, over time, that she is not just a cleaner, she is a friend to many of her clients, though it takes her some time to accept this.
This book is funny and sad and lovely. It has to have a happy ending, doesn't it?
This book was a different read to my normal, but i loved it, ir reminded me of my childhood when my dada would make up stories of Hobgoblins and leprechauns in the woods.....
It was a great read but full of suspence, and very powerful
I loved this book. Janice is such a great character and the supporting cast is great too. Well written and a great read. Thanks go to the publisher for an e-ARC to read and review
‘Every man should leave a story better than he found it’ (Mary Augusta Ward)which is most certainly true of our storyteller Janice. Janice is an exceptional cleaner, and also a collector of stories which she gathers wherever she goes such as the bus, the Laundrette and inevitably the people she works for. There’s Geordie Bowman, landlord and opera singer, grieving Fiona and her son Adam, Mrs YeahYeahYeah and her husband Mr NoNoNotNow whose few qualities are redeemed by their fantastic fox terrier Dacius who is a character in his own right and how! He has me hooting with laughter! Through Mr NoNoNotNow (otherwise known as Tiberius, I kid you not) Janice meets, cleans and becomes way more to his mother Mrs B, who is quite simply utterly marvellous and who tells her own equally marvellous story of ‘Becky’.
I love this character driven book and I’d go so far as to suggest it will be in my top 10 reads of 2022. It’s a gem! I love the way it’s so beautifully written with warmth, compassion and humour. Janice is fantastic and you thoroughly enjoy being in her company through thick and thin. It’s a great blend of funny, sad and poignant with big dollops of kindness, some equally large servings of selfishness with examples of things that make you cross on Janice and Mrs B’s behalf. There are little hints of mystery, again Mrs B and Janice and the latter can startle you at times and she is worthy of the ‘never judge a book by its cover’ description. Their relationship which starts unpromisingly becomes strong and true and they help each other. Through several characters but especially Mrs B, Janice changes and she finds her in a lioness and how. Some of this makes you cheer from the sidelines. Go Janice! This is a novel that starts in one place and takes you somewhere else with several layers to the storytelling, going deeper than you expect at the beginning. I love every minute of it, it’s heartbreaking and heartwarming and very hard to put down. In a word, wonderful!
With thanks to NetGalley and especially to HarperCollins/One More Chapter for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.
Janice is a cleaner, not just any cleaner, but the best in Cambridge. Her soul-less marriage provides no happiness, she keeps stories of other people, but tells no-one her own story. Then one day she realises she must take charge of her life, leaves her husband and makes firm friends in her clients. Will this provide her with the happiness she deserves? A wonderful story, loved it.
The Keeper of Stories by Sally Page is a charming feel good book , perfect cosy reading for a Winter weekend.
Janice is a cleaner, and a collector of stories, stories from the people she works for, from people she overhears on the bus as she travels between jobs, from anyone interesting she encounters in her day to day life. She takes great pride in her work, and very selective about her clients, who clearly see her as more than "just a cleaner", unlike her feckless and aggravating husband Martin, who constantly takes advantage of her, and demeans her job at every opportunity.
As we follow Janice we are introduced to some of her favourite clients, such as the recently widowed Fiona and her son Adam, famous singer Geordie and the unpleasant Mrs Yeahyeahyeah who Janice only keeps as a client because of her dog, an adorable but apparently foul mouthed fox terrier named Decius. When Mrs Yeahyeahyeah asks Janice to clean for her mother in law, she reluctantly agrees to at least visit , and it is a decision that will change her life. Mrs B is a feisty woman in her nineties who is determined not to leave the home she shared with her beloved husband, the now deceased Augustus. The meeting is not promising at first, but it is soon apparent that Mrs B can see there is more to Janice than meets the eye. Could she be the one who finally convinces Janice, the keeper of stories, that she has a story of her one, and one that is worth sharing with the right people.
This is a really sweet and charming book, uplifting and entertaining and designed to play on peoples natural curiosity about others. Janice is such a wonderful character that is impossible not to root for her from the beginning and seeing her blossom and free herself from her husband and the past that held her back for so long was truly a joy.
I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher ,all opinions are my own.
An unusual theme and an excellent debut novel.
One constant is the character, Janice, who pulls the book together. Along the way we meet various characters and learn their story. Most of these stories are from real people, but all have something important to tell. The author has beautifully constructed this novel, making it an easy page turner. Secrets emerge throughout the telling and with the story of Becky, the reader will quickly become absorbed and intrigued in her’s and all their lives. Many of the ‘stories’ contain similar themes, some sad, but all part of the overall picture of life. A brilliant, new approach to novel writing.
My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers HarperCollins for this advance copy.
I loved this book, it was so different and very readable. I found the main character very likeable and the whole story was so warm like soaking in a lovely warm bath after a long and tiring day. At times it made me laugh and other times it was sad especially how some people treated her especially her husband. A wonderful book. My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review.
“ Janice is just a cleaner” How this line, trotted out by the ignorant, can be so wrong . A beautiful book about ordinary people, doing extraordinary things. Guilt, heartbreak and second chances are all featured here as people’s stories are discovered and give encouragement and closure to others.
Great characters especially Decius the swearing dog
Absolutely wonderful, this deserves to be a massive hit and I’m certain it will top the bestseller lists. Cleverly written with fabulous characters and the best fictional dog ever. The depth of the storytelling reminds me of Ruth Hogan, every character is a little deeper than you first assume. I will keep this story in my memory.
What a delight. I took a while to settle into this as I was worried it might be a bit too twee but it wasn't. Janice is such a strong and interesting character and all her stories resonate in various ways. She helps others but hides her own secrets and it takes a feisty dog, a bus driver, a cantankerous woman and a young boy to dig them out. Lovely characters, a lot of sadness but with such hope for the future whatever damage has been done as a child. Read and enjoy.
The Keeper of Stories is a wonderful joyous read which I devoured in just over one day.
I loved Janice - she is one of life’s observers- quiet and unassuming but watching and noticing everyone and everything. Gathering up stories as she goes about her life, Janice has forgotten her own powerful and emotional story.
Sally Page is so observant in her writing - the little details shared about her brilliant characters are fabulous and I loved the little insights given to their own stories - in particular Mrs B and Decius the swearing fox-terrier.
Janice is an excellent cleaner. She is also a collector of stories and adds to them regularly. When she is asked to help clean up an elderly lady’s home, she is at first taken aback by the hostility that emanates from the homeowner, and then by the scale of work to be done. Nevertheless, never one to pass up a challenge, Janice takes it all in her stride, and to say her life changes beyond measure is an understatement.
I loved this book. I fell totally in love with Janice’s stories and those of Mrs B, especially the reminiscing of her younger self and the Becky saga.
It’s rare for me to say I didn’t want a book to end, but this is one of those occasions and could have quite happily read on.
A wonderful book, full of deliciously detailed characters, more please from this author.
Totally brilliant, deserves more than 5*.
Thank you NetGalley.
Now this is a bold statement to make but I have a feeling The Keeper of Stories is going to be one of my favourite reads of 2022. Straightaway the cover (and the title) reminded me of Ruth Hogan’s novels which I absolutely adore and once you begin reading you might even think Sally Page’s writing resembles her style too. I certainly did! This is such a life affirming, gorgeous novel with a storyline that lights you up with happiness from the inside out so that even as I’m writing my review I find myself grinning from ear to ear remembering these characters with fondness. The fact that I actually read this at the beginning of December and I’m still thinking how very happy this book made me feel shows the powerful impact storytelling can have on a reader’s mood. I can think of no higher compliment than that. I shouldn’t have been so surprised to learn that Sally Page is the mother of another one of my favourite authors, Libby Page as The Keeper of Stories is the type of feel good fiction her daughter also excels in. That this is a debut novel is quite remarkable; clearly the talent for writing runs in the family and there’ll be some healthy competition going on from here on in!
This is very much a character driven storyline in which the protagonist Janice jumps straight off the page and into your heart. Living and working in the Cambridge area, Janice cleans for a few select clients and although she’s exceptionally good at her job that’s not what makes her stand out as an interesting, memorable character. Lonely, unhappy and trapped in a loveless marriage with few friends and little contact with her only son, Janice loves to collect other peoples stories. Everyone has a story to tell and it’s these stories that are the starting point for this wonderful novel. I’m a bit like Janice, fascinated by other peoples stories, thinking my own life is uninteresting by comparison which is why I so enjoyed listening to each individual tale. Some are comic, some are fascinating and others tragic but they all have the power to reel you in. However you might be forgiven for thinking this is going to be a random collection of individual short stories because that’s what it feels like at the beginning and you wonder how the author is going to link them together but please dismiss those thoughts. Before too long a connection between these stories and the characters who star in them emerges, by which point you’ll be well and truly hooked. That’s the point at which the storyline takes flight and Janice who’s always believed she has no story of her own to tell finally starts her find her own voice. That there are people out there who want and choose to listen to Janice, rather than her simply being a receptacle for other peoples stories is a revelation. It’s a game changer and a turning point in life as Janice discovers she’s not only an exceptional cleaner but an exceptional woman too! Funny, sad, poignant and hopeful this is an absolute joy and dream to read. Sally Page gifts her readers a novel that resembles a matryoshka doll in style, revealing a story within a story within a story and I found that really appealing.
As I’ve already hinted at it’s the characters who breathe life and soul into the storyline, each one a colourful, valuable addition and memorable in their own right. Amongst Janice’s clients are a well known opera singer, an upper class, rather mischievous widow, a mother and son lost in grief and Mrs YeahYeahYeah and Mr NoNoNotNow with their swearing (it does make sense I promise!) fox terrier Decius whom Janice loves dearly. Plus there’s the bus driver who looks like a geography teacher, someone who catches Janice’s eye but for me it’s Mrs B, Mrs YeahYeahYeah’s 90 something year old mother in law who steals everyone’s thunder. Mrs B is a character and a half and she reminded me of Elizabeth in Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club. Rude, obnoxious, well educated and well travelled and last but not least a damn good storyteller, it’s the friendship that develops between this cantankerous nonagenarian and the kind,caring, book loving Janice that eclipses everything else. It’s really beautiful and uplifting. When the wily Mrs B lures Janice into her world with a story of her own it’s just a matter of time before these two become as thick as thieves so that with Mrs B’s encouragement Janice eventually emerges from her shell a much happier woman. The ending is terrific with some behind the scenes plotting courtesy of Mrs B (who else?) turning the tables on those whose motives for change are highly unscrupulous. Plus some well meaning meddling on Janice’s behalf deserve further congratulations. Oh how I laughed and cheered as Sally Page closes the final chapter on such a glorious high note. I was sorry to bid farewell to these characters but felt I could walk away from them having been enriched by their existence.
This book will make a wonderful gift. It’s one of those books to cherish and treasure and come back to whenever you feel in need of comforting, or your mood needs boosting. I think it goes without saying that Sally Page has earned my seal of approval and I have no hesitation in recommending this title to fellow book lovers. Read this now, you’ll have a blast!
My thanks as always to the publisher OMC and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read in exchange for an honest review.
Isn’t it wonderful when you find a new favourite author? I absolutely loved every word in this beautiful novel and was sad when it ended (although the ending was just what I’d hoped for). Everyone who reads this will fall in love with Janice … and Mrs B … and Euan … and obviously Decius the terrier. A story about stories, with such interesting characters at the heart of them all. At times I laughed out loud, at times my heart was filled with love, and at times the serious topics made me want to cry. An amazing book that is beautifully and sensitively written. Oh, and Sally Page’s dad is a brilliant proofreader! Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publishers for the ARC. Can I have another one like this please?
This is an absolutely enchanting book with the most wonderful characters. I wanted to be friends with all of them. Janice is a house cleaner for a variety of people and along the way to work on the bus and during her work she gathers stories that she overhears. She starts cleaning for Mrs B, a cantankerous and delightful woman who also likes to collect stories. Even better, Mrs B shares a story with Janice. As the book evolves we learn more about these characters lives and most importantly what makes Janice who she is.
This book had my heart full and my emotions overflowing. Thank you so very much to Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this amazing book. You will love this book and characters.
Janice is a collector and a keeper of stories in Cambridge. As she cleans, she hears stories. Janice has a story
too, but Is she willing to share it with anyone.? Everyone she meets has a small victory or two in life alongside
regrets hopes and missed opportunities. Sometimes Janice helps open their eyes to see good in
the simplest of places. This book is a real gem to read. Every character in the story is part of a cross-section of
human nature, with different personalities and coping strategies. An uplifting realistic tale.
. I enjoyed this book immensely.
An absolutely engrossing book based on the stories that Janice (just a cleaner as she thinks) collects from her clients. It was hard to put down. Super characters, including a beautifully described fox terrier!
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an early review copy.
This book is a debut novel. It was an enjoyable and lovely read. The main character Janice is a cleaner who is likeable and has ‘collected’ stories, that are other peoples.
The man she’s married is so boring, but she’s still with him. Baring these stories, she doesn’t see her worth as a individual. The characters were amusing and the storyline was interesting.
The book wasn’t what I was expecting, but it was well written. It makes you unable to put the book down until you’ve finished it.
If you want to read a emotional and heartfelt, feel good story, this is the book for you.
Highly Recommend This Book.
The Keeper of Stories by S. Page, published by Harper CollinsUK/One More Chapter, is a beautiful slow burn.
It tells the story of Janine, a cleaning lady who's through a lot in her life. And she collected stories on her way, some sad, some beautiful.
This book with its stunning cover is a delight to read. Told in a multiple pov, has this new to me author managed to keep me in suspense from start til the last page. A great read, 5 stars.
Gorgeous and atmospheric. Loved it
Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me access an advance copy of this book in exchange for my feedback.
Many thanks to NetGalley/author/publisher for a copy of this book.
A genuinely lovely read that I simply could not put down. What an amazing debut from this author, I cannot wait for the release so I can purchase a physical copy.
The book revolves around Janice, a wonderful lady who works as a cleaner and collects stories from everyone/everywhere. Janice is someone who is down on her luck, which makes her instantly likable.
There are a lot of characters within this book to start with but this was dealt with well, I didn't instantly feel connected to anyone but by 100 pages in I was hooked and didn't look back.
Would definitely recommend it for a heartwarming read.
What a triumph of a debut this is from Sally Page. An accomplished tale about Janice, a collector of stories, who works as a cleaner. There's a gentle unravelling of tales as we meet each of her clients and when we meet Mrs B, it's clear they've met each other's match as gradually an unforgettable friendship forms. Be prepared to lose a few hours, if not your heart to this cast of characters. Perfect for fans of Sally Rooney and Annie Lyons.
I could not put this book down . It drew you in. Janice collected stories. She was in a unhappy marriage and finally had the courage to leave him. She cleaned for a living and finally fell in love . A very old but characterful lady helped her and told her amazing story. Janice was also able to make peace with her son and sister - her childhood had been tough. A must must read.
A beautifully told story interwoven through the life of a storytellers and the people she meets in her daily life. Heart warming and laugh out loud in equal measure.
What a perfect little gem of a book I really loved it a rare beautifully crafted piece of perfection .Two perfects on one sentence seems poor writing but sometimes just sometimes it’s needed !
I immediately fell in love with the main character the keeper of stories who’s collection of peoples essence of life stories are gained from amongst the clients she cleans for and the conversations she overhears on the bus driving around
Cambridge to her work places
The people are so real all totally believable a fabulous selection of British eccentrics .I particularly loved the ex spy Mrs B from her first appearance disguised in kimono and hat with mouldy cherries on the top
The book is warm and joyful but dies not avoid difficult potentially triggering subjects like suicide and alcoholism.It approaches these areas with sensitivity which is never banal.This is not a sweet slushy book but one that wraps it’s sentiment in truthfulness and tenderness
The book to buy your friend when she is in need of something uplifting and life affirming .
This is the author’s first book I for one will be watching what comes next
I really enjoyed this book. I was drawn in by the beautiful cover and the title; the blurb intrigued me enough to request the title and I was not at all disappointed!
Janice is an extraordinary cleaner. She really cares for her clients and spends time ensuring their needs are met with barely a thought for her own. She’s a collector of stories and shares fragments of them with us as we read on. But her own story? That is a deep, dark secret that she can’t bring herself to share. Her life begins to change when she meets Mrs B, a cantankerous nonagenarian with an interesting story of her own. At its heart this is a story of friendship and it’s really rather magnificent.
I found the characters a real strength of this book and there were lots of them! Sometimes that could be confusing, but in this case, each had their own little story which kept them all straight. I was pleased with the way it all turned out in the end and found the whole book a gentle, heartwarming read. I very much enjoyed the stories within the story and very much recommend that you read this book! Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for my ARC.
Janice is a cleaner, the best in Cambridge. She also collects stories, of both those she works for and people she encounters in her life. Her personal life is not easy and little by little it is revealed why this is the case. This is mainly a book about friendships and about how the past can impact your future. The story is well told and emotions are dealt with sensitively and realistically. Janice comes to realize her worth as the book progresses and starts to let friends into her world .
There are quite a lot of characters at the start of the book, I did not find this confusing and quite quickly there was a distinction in the main characters and the bit players. I finished the book with a feeling of optimism, though the book also made me cry at times too
Thank you to Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review
I chose The Keeper of Stories by Sally Page as I was initially attracted to the cover, I read the blurb, and it sounded like a great book.
Janice is a cleaner who collects stories. However, she doesn’t know her own worth. She doesn’t think she has her own story until she meets Mrs B. She finally learns her value and her own story and can choose to create her own story as she wishes.
While Janice silently cleans people’s houses, she learns more about them, picks up stories, and makes up the bits she doesn’t know. This is a distraction from the pain of her own life. She is married, but he is a “man of a thousand jobs”, having never stayed in one role for more than a year since they met, and she is tired of his dull and tedious ways.
The characters are well rounded and developed. Janice is so lovely but has a devastating past that controls her, along with her waste of space husband. Euan is a bus driver who looks like a geography teacher; he is kind and caring and likes Janice. Adam, a twelve-year-old who has recently lost his dad to suicide, is heart-breaking, his pain is evident, and he needs to lash out and then learn to live his best life.
Mrs B is my favourite character; she is a grumpy, old and wise ex-spy who doesn’t initially want a cleaner but soon becomes firm friends with Janice. Her detestable son, Mr Nonono is horrid, and his wife, Mrs yesyesyes, is very annoying and no better than him. However, their dog, the cursing fox terrier, Decius, is brilliant. I love how Janice reads his expressions and thoughts.
The ending of the book was beautiful. I enjoyed how things came together; enough was left to the imagination while most things were cleared up.
This poignant read gave all the emotions, from happy delight to the most profound sadness, to the characters. It’s a feel-good read with an exciting plot and excellent writing style, even better for a debut novel. Again, Sally Page has delivered an outstanding read.
Many thanks to the publisher, author and Netgalley for an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.
Readers who liked this book also liked:
Sara Oldfield; Malin Rivers
Rebecca A. Keller
Compiled by Barbour Staff