“The Keeper of Stories” by Sally Page – Book Review

Janice – is ‘only a cleaner’. Her husband is fond of reminded her of this – despite the fact that she is the major breadwinner of the family. She is in her late forties and cannot remember a time when she loved this husband of hers. She is so, so lonely. She is also a worrier and her worries are many. She is encumbered by guilt – self-inflicted as most guilt is…  She loves books, order and routine, and she collects people’s stories. She also loves a fox terrier who belongs to one of her clients. His name is Decius and he is prone to using foul language.

Mike – Janice’s husband, a waste of space – and a narcissist.

“She wants to ask if he’s having an affair, but doesn’t know how to say it without sounding hopeful.”

Decius – a small and untidy purebred fox terrier who adores Janice just as much as she adores him back. In their mutual conversations Janice is always astounded at how much Decius likes to swear.

Mrs. YeahYeahYeah – is married to Mr. NoNoNotNow. They are very wealthy and snobbish. They are the owners of the fox terrier that Janice loves and that is the only reason she continues to clean their house.

Geordie – a famous opera singer who, aptly, hails from Newcastle. He admires Janice both as his cleaner, and as a woman.

Fiona (and her son Adam) – Fiona is a recent widow. Her beloved husband John commit suicide and both Fiona and her twelve year old son are decimated by their grief. Janice cleans for them, and offers them friendship and wisdom when they sorely need it.

“When you are a child, you don’t ever think of yourself as young. You are just you, and will take up guilt and responsibility without noticing that they are far too large for you and that they are really things an adult should be wearing.”

Mrs. B – is ninety-three years old, irascible, cantankerous and ‘tricky’. She is the mother of Mr. NoNoNotNow and that is why Janice finds herself cleaning for her. She got the impression that the old lady wasn’t coping and would be put into a ‘home’ by her pompous son if she was letting things slide.

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!

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from One More Chapter/HarperCollins UK via NetGalley  at my request,  for my own reading enjoyment and the writing of this review.

Publication date:
Digital & Audible: February 28, 2022 and Paperback: March 17, 2022 
Available for pre-order now!

ISBN: 9780008453503 – ISBN: ‎ 9780008453510  – 384 pages

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, she 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 younger daughter is the author, Libby Page. Both are keen wild swimmers.

Connect with Sally Page via her Website, Twitter, or Instagram.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, debut novels, Literary fiction, NetGalley, Women's fiction and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to “The Keeper of Stories” by Sally Page – Book Review

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  3. Barbara Birtle says:

    What a great review. I liked this book too and you have summed it up perfectly. I will share with my book club and look for future reviews by you. Thank you.


  4. Gina says:

    Amazing review. I definitely need to read this one. Thanks for sharing it on Carol’s summer blog collab. I can’t wait to read more of your reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Summer’s One #MustReadBook 2022 #Collaboration #SummerReading [Book Reviews] | Reading Ladies

  6. Pingback: Fictionophile’s FEBRUARY 2022 Reading Wrap-Up #bookblogger #MonthlyWrapUp | Fictionophile

  7. Carla says:

    This calls to me Lynne. I also love that quote. What great names for some of the characters. I do love uplit and unforgettable characters. Wonderful review. Definitely adding this one.


  8. I love the sound of this one. That quote on a possible affair is wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. WendyW says:

    Your quote from the book “She wants to ask if he’s having an affair, but doesn’t know how to say it without sounding hopeful.” really stood out to me as it says so much about their relationship.” Amazing review, Lynne.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: “The Keeper of Stories” by Sally Page – Book Review @0neMoreChapter_ @HarperCollinsUK #NetGalley #BookReview @SallyPageBooks – Book Library

  11. Pingback: “The Keeper of Stories” by Sally Page – Book Review @0neMoreChapter_ @HarperCollinsUK #NetGalley #BookReview @SallyPageBooks – Imobiliare 24

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