I’m only slightly embarrassed to say it, but I picked up The Keeper of Happy Endings by Barbara Davis thanks to TikTok.
Scrolling through people’s book ideas, a certain Parisian-styled cover kept jumping out at me. Or maybe it was the intriguing title (because who doesn’t want a “happy ending” to their story).
Whatever subconscious snare ultimately worked to get me to pick up this book, I am very glad I did.
The Keeper of Happy Endings is Historical Fiction at Its Best: A Review
There is a reason this book deserves to be on so many must-read lists these days.
The book unfolds across multiple timelines: both Nazi-occupied Paris during World War II in the 1940s and Boston in the 1980s. The story follows two women both dealing with devastating losses and heartbreak after fate keeps them from their true loves.
Soline Roussel made wedding dresses for her exclusive bridal salon before a fire burned down her studio and left her with hands unable to hold a needle. Rory Grant is barely living ever since her fiance disappeared on a mission in Africa.
A chance sighting of the studio and a desire to open a gallery leads Rory into Soline’s life and shakes things up in ways neither of them saw coming.
With themes of magic, mystery, and love denied for one reason or another, this book could have gone a number of ways in tone. What Barbara Davis manages to do is weave a spell that makes the magic and twists of fate feel completely plausible, even as its sets against a backdrop of one of the worst human atrocities in history.
Her personal tagline of “A little history. A little mystery. A little romance” is actually perfect and exactly sums up her writing style.
Ultimately, it’s a story of love enduring across time and circumstances.
It’s a rather slow-paced book, but it does pick up, and the payoff at the end makes it worth the time it takes to get there. I haven’t read anything else like this particular book, and its uniqueness alone makes it deserving of a read.
If you are a fan of historical fiction with a twist of magic, this book needs to make it onto your “must-read” list.
It also makes a terrific choice for tackling with a reading group. Check out The Keeper of Happy Endings Book Club Questions to get you started.
Available through: Kindle Unlimited
Your Questions Answered About the Book (SPOILERS)
What Genre is The Keeper of Happy Endings?
While it has aspects of multiple genres, it is mainly considered a historical fiction novel. There are also elements of romance and magical realism, and could also be considered literary fiction too.
What is a Roussel Gown and why does every bride want one?
A Roussel gown is one that was hand-made by one of the long line of women who can work le magick and guarantee a bride a happy ending.
It involves interviewing brides to see if they are a good fit with their finances, as well as spell weaving and sewing a charm into the bodice of the gown itself. The magic is not supposed to be used for selfish ends, but when used for a bride it is supposed to promise them a happy life.
Soline Roussel also becomes a famous wedding dress designer on her own merit, though the magical reputation doesn’t hurt business either.
The Keeper of Happy Endings Ending
The big plot twist is that not only did Soline have a baby with her true love Anson back all those years ago, but the baby didn’t die in childbirth as she thought.
Anson’s father paid to have the nurses lie to Soline, and arranged for the child to be adopted. That child turned out to be a girl, and is Rory’s mother, making Soline Rory’s grandmother.
Anson is also alive, and not dead like Soline thought.
He has been angry with her all these years because he thought she didn’t want him once she found out he may never walk again and thought she had moved on to another lover (who was actually her gay best friend).
Thanks to Rory they reconnect and manage to tell each other the truth and start over with each other. The book ends with the wedding of Soline and Anson, who get their own happy ending after all.
Looking to make reading a more regular thing? Why not start a book club! Check out my article on How to Form a Book Club for tips on creating the ideal club for your lifestyle.
Did you read The Keeper of Happy Endings? What did you think? Leave me a comment below about how you liked it (or why you didn’t)!