Lexie Ivy loves her little house in Cape Breton, her big family, and the endless sea that surrounds her. She wouldn’t trade her life for anything, but at thirty she’s starting to feel like something’s missing.
Enter Adrian, a charming backpacker who takes a wrong turn at the U.S. border and ends up on Lexie’s doorstep, and Joss, an irresistible man who disappears just as quickly as he arrives. Lexie’s peaceful like has suddenly become more complicated than she ever imagined.
Lesley Crewe’s funny, whip-smart debut novel brims with Cape Breton-style humour. Filled with heartache without succumbing to it, Relative Happiness is the story of life and love in a small town, of four sisters who love, betray, and rescue each other in turn, and of Lexie Ivy’s joyful awakening.
Adrian brought home an answering machine. Why hadn’t she thought of that?
“Hi there. The cat refuses to answer the phone and I can’t right now, so you’re out of luck. Beep.”
“Lexie darling, it’s your mother. Call me back please, and for heaven’s sake change that message.”
“Lexie, it’s Mom. Are you there? Call me as soon as you get in.”
“Lexie, pick up this phone. I know you’re there.”
“Lexie, I have cancer.”
Lexie called her back. “Hi Mom.”
“Dearest, why do I have to resort to some awful disease to get you to call me?”
“I’ll forgive you.”
“I knew you would.”
“I’m having a little dinner party.”
Her mother threw wonderful parties. “Didn’t you just have one?” Lexie filled in the word for eagle’s nest in her crossword puzzle but the pencil made a hole through the newspaper, so she biffed it. She picked up a book of poetry by Leonard Cohen instead.
“This is just family. Gabby called me the other day, and from what I can gather, Richard’s about to pop the question. I think a celebration is in order.”
She thumbed through her book. “Gabby’s had questions popped at her a hundred times. She must be pooped from all that popping.”
“You should be happy for her.”
“I am, Mother. I’m delighted. It’s the poor buggers who do the asking I feel sorry for. She’ll throw this one away too.”
“You have a cynical streak, darling, did you know that?”
“Along with my jealous streak, wild streak, and funny streak?”
“Lexie, knock it off. By the way, feel free to bring along your room-mate. That weird friend of yours or whatever he is. Is he something more?”
“No, mother, he’s just my weird friend. Would you like me to make something?”
She waited for it.
“Be a dear and bring something low-cal for dessert. None of us needs the extra calories.”
…a story of great emotional depth… Relative Happiness is a genuine pleasure to read.”
– The Chronicle Herald
Curl up with a cup of te and this tale of happiness and heartbreak. Ireland gave us Maeve Binchy, and now Cape Breton has given us Lesley Crewe and her wonderful character, Lexie.”
– Mary-Jo Anderson, Frog Hollow Books