The Keeper of Stories by Sally Page | #bookreview | @SallyPageBooks @0neMoreChapter_

I’ve been catching up with one of the books I bought myself quite a few months back and kicking myself that I didn’t read this wonderful book earlier!

About the book

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…

When Janice starts cleaning for Mrs B – a shrewd and tricksy woman in her nineties – she 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?

My Thoughts

Well, where to start with this one? It’s a book that starts off gently enough, following cleaner Janice who loves to hear stories about all kinds of people. She believes that everyone has a story and likes to collect and file them in her mind. Janice herself is a wonderful character. She’s totally believable as a woman who lives a quiet, somewhat unfulfilling life, putting up with quite frankly a pig of a husband and always doing her best for her clients who rely on her as an exceptional cleaner. When one of her least favourite clients, Mrs Yeahyeahyeah (not her real name!), pretty much guilt trips her into taking on her mother-in-law Mrs B as a client, she has no idea how it will change her life.

Mrs B has had quite an extraordinary life and although she reveals some of her story to Janice, I’m sure there is much more we could hear. Perhaps we might hear more about her in a future book? I do hope so. Connections are made between some of Janice’s clients often through the dog she walks for Mrs Yeahyeahyeah. Decius is a foul-mouthed fox terrier – yes really – and even though I’m not really a dog lover, he was just as brilliant a character as the others and made me laugh a lot.

I loved hearing the various characters’ stories which were sometimes everyday, sometimes remarkable and often rather moving. All through the book, I was aware that Janice was keeping her own story safely locked away but she should have known more that most that stories won’t stay locked up for ever. Holding onto past guilt was making her unhappy and as Mrs B wisely says to her at one point “… if there is ever a woman who deserves to be happy, it is you. Do not pass this opportunity by because of a misplaced feeling of guilt.”

I adored every page of The Keeper of Stories and it’s one I will remember for a long time. I was quite fascinated to read that many of the characters’ stories in the book are true or based on truth and were in turn collected by the author. I highly recommend this heart-warming, wise and often funny book. It’s one of my favourite books of the year!

About the Author

After studying history at university, Sally moved to London to work in advertising. In her spare time she studied floristry at night school and eventually opened her own flower shop. Sally came to appreciate that flower shops offer a unique window into people’s stories and she began to photograph and write about this floral life in a series of non-fiction books. Later, Sally continued her interest in writing when she founded her fountain pen company, Plooms.co.uk.

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.

http://www.sallypage.com
Instagram: @bysallypage
Twitter: @sallypagebooks


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