The Keeper of Stories
by Sally Page
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Pub Date 24 Jan 2023 | Archive Date 02 Mar 2023
A charming, uplifting debut novel—full of humor and depth—that has taken readers around the world by surprise.
Everyone has a story to tell. But does Janice have the power to unlock her own?
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 had always done so, 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, the quiet bus driver Euan, and the pretentious 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 prickly 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?
A Note From the Publisher
In her debut novel, The Keeper of Stories, Sally combines her love of history and writing with her abiding interest in the stories people have to tell. Sally now lives in Dorset. Her eldest daughter, Alex, is studying to be a doctor and her youngest daughter is the author Libby Page.
“I absolutely loved it! So different, clever, funny, and charming.”
-Katie Fforde, Sunday Times (London) bestselling author
“Funny, wise, moving, and full of lovely moments…The characters are endearing and unforgettable.”
-Hazel Prior, author of the Richard & Judy Book Club Pick Away with the Penguins
“Absolutely spellbinding…Warm-hearted, thoughtful, funny, and yet deeply poignant.”
-Celia Anderson, author of 59 Memory Lane
"A treasure of a book. Beautiful, emotional, and heartfelt with a cornucopia of characters you’ll love spending time with.”
-Phaedra Patrick, author of The Library of Lost and Found
Word-of-mouth bestselling book in the UK
Debut novel from a former flower shop owner
Perfect for fans of literature and dogs
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Average rating from 36 members
I started having a sense of deja vu as I was reading this book. How did I know what was going to happen? This is what happens when you read book after book after book, the plot blurs and you’re on to the next one. I finally realizes I had read this book before from Netgalley UK. The following is the review I left for them.
Keeper of Stories is a lovely, delightful book filled with rich wonderful characters, and an intriguing plot. At the heart of the story is Janice, just a cleaner of houses is how she thinks of herself, and a collector of others stories. As the novel progresses we see Janice is so much more to everyone else, and they value and love her more than she can herself. The characters in this book are beautifully and richly created, and the writing is sublime. It took me a couple of chapters to fully sink into the story but once I did the book took off and I couldn’t put it down.
My big regret is that it’s not available to order for our library in the states. I hope it eventually becomes published here for it would be a shame to deprive so many people of this wonderful debut novel.
Let me end with the fact I’m really excited this book will be published in the US. It will be a big hit with so many of our readers.
The Keeper of Stories is definitely a keeper of a story and Janice is someone I would like to know. Sally Page, I can’t wait to see what you write next!
I did not want The Keeper of Stories to end. I loved Janice and the stories she tells as the narrator of this new novel. Janice is married to a lazy guy who changes jobs constantly, keeping Janice busy to support them by working as a house cleaner. She likes most of the people she works for, except for one couple who owns a dog that Janice adores!
As the story begins to make connections between the people Janice works for, it becomes suspenseful and endearing. Janice deserves a life so much better than the one she has with her creepy husband, and I went for the entire ride, rooting for Janice, the dog, the kid, and most of the adults.
Sally Page made Cambridge a nice place to live with interesting people. The story demonstrates that social and economic status does not guarantee a life without deep pain and a need for someone like Janice.
Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.
Sally Page, please write more books! I enjoyed the characters in this book so much. Janice was not "just a cleaner", she was so much more as the story went on. Mrs. B was also a wonderful character who cared for those who needed her help. then there were Euan, Fiona, Adam, Mycroft, and Decius, the fox terrier. I loved how Decius talked to Janice and I wondered if he talked to Adam as well - I'm almost positive that he did.
Janice slowly opens up about her story and we find out that she had a terrible childhood caused by the death of her father and her mother's retreat into alcoholism which lead to her eventual death. On the way to finding out what Janice's story was we are treated to the story of Becky that Mrs. B tells in installments to Janice. Everyone has a story or more than one and Janice collects these stories in her head.
I found myself wondering what the story was for Tiberius and Mrs. YeahYeahYeah - why were they so self centered and unpleasant. Even Simon, Janice's son, and Joy, her sister, came back into her story when she left Mike, her husband. They couldn't stand to see what he was doing to her and that she was allowing it to happen.
Page writes in a very engaging style that kept me turning the pages even when it was long past bedtime. I look forward to reading more of her writing.
Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC of this book. All the opinions are mine for which I was not compensated.
The Keeper of Stories will make you laugh, cry, and fill you with a desire to hug the book when you are finished. It is the story of Janice, who, in her words, is " just a cleaner" who engages with her clients and learns their stories. Over time she collects these stories and tells them to herself when she is home at night in her home, with her disaster of a husband. But what is Janice's story, who will she share that with, and when will Janice recognize that she is worthy of a more remarkable story for herself?
This was such a heartwarming tale and so engaging. You will fall in love with all the characters and the stories they share. I could definitely see this being made into a movie.
Thank you to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
The Keeper of Stories by Sally Page is a breathtaking story!
This book is beautifully written with vivid descriptions and stunning surroundings I was absolutely captivated throughout.
I can't believe this is her debut!
The characters are fantastic and all of the supporting characters are well-rounded and disparate and their stories are enveloped in so much warmth, depth, and humour that it's impossible not to be engaged with them and the story.
"I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."
Thank You for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this eARC!
I loved this book! It's funny and totally had me laughing out loud. It's such a great idea to take stories to help yourself cope with a hard job. Janice can't wait to hear a good story, She cleans houses and has the worst husband so in order to get through the day she enjoys something to keep her going. Her employers can be hard to work for and some are wonderful. Just a super great book. Don't miss this one!
I got sucked into this story right away. I loved Janice, the woman people gravitated to and trusted with their stories. While she maintained that she was 'just a cleaner, she was a special lady, with her own story to tell. I loved all the characters. It was written so well I had a hard time putting it down. I got to read an advanced copy through Netgalley., who I thank for the opportunity. Great book!