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Relative Happiness

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  396 ratings  ·  52 reviews
First released in 2005 as one of Vagrant Press's inaugural titles, Lesley Crewe's debut novel, Relative Happiness, garnered rave reviews. Lesley's writing is fresh and funny, and her portrayal of the Cape Breton spirit--strong and wry in the face of adversity--is unwaveringly authentic.

Reviews for Relative Happiness: "Against the backdrop of Cape Breton's windy beaches, au
Paperback, 306 pages
Published October 6th 2005 by Vagrant Press (first published January 2005)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  396 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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Rebecca McNutt
It's always great to find books set on Cape Breton Island (I haven't been back there since 2014 but I have good memories of being there almost every summer and Christmas). Relative Happiness is set in Cape Breton, but unfortunately it captures the island in the cheesy way that is often promoted to tourists - this is both unrealistic and also a bit weird. While it does have some funny moments, a lot of this book was very preachy and I didn't really like the main character. She seemed to be a more ...more

I seem to be in a bit of a reading slump lately. Despite this book's cute cover, I did not enjoy it. I found it to be really corny. The overall story read like a lifetime movie, and it really didn't help that the MC had the vocabulary of an 80 year old grannie. I didn't hate this book, but I was pretty indifferent, as is probably obvious by my lack of enthusiasm in writing this review.

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadiana
I'm temporarily erasing my long long review here, because I don't want to influence people's perception on a local indie book which could only be beneficial for Nova Scotia's literature scene. Especially so soon after the movie came out, and I'm sure people will be looking for it. I'll just say, I wasn't crazy about it, it had some great points than it really didn't, but yay NS books!
Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
I was originally drawn in as this was such a quick read and seemed like an all around feel good story. But I just couldn't feel happy for the characters eventual hookups. Adrian just seemed messed up and I didn't feel happy about him ending up with anyone.

I've never liked the happy ending where the second love interest is removed from the picture by being in love with someone else all along. Too easy.
Feb 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Reading this book felt like being on a roller coaster. There were times when I really liked what I was reading, yet other times when I would roll my eyes at the antics of Lexie. I’ve read most of this author’s books and have liked most of them very much, but this, being her debut novel, didn’t really ring my chimes. I liked the Canadian( Cape Breton) vibe of the story, and most of the characters were distinct and credible. But the whole Adrian character and Lexie’s relationship with him was weir ...more
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well. This story certainly had a few tragic twists and turns. I was pretty much hooked from the start. Lexie is a character I can relate to on quite a personal level. After all the heartache, it ended exactly as it should, which is to say, perfectly and yes perhaps predictably. Loved it!
I enjoy a good chick-lit read from time to time, but this was not my thing. The best part was the family dynamic between the protagonist, her parents, and sisters in a small Cape Breton town, and I might have enjoyed it more if that had been the focus rather than the romance with a caught-between-two-2dimensional-lovers theme. I found all the whinging about weight and being 30 and single very wearing, and a lot of the supporting details were just off.
Genevieve Graham
I love the way Lesley Crewe can weave Cape Breton's magical, sea-salted air through her stories, how she can bring such real characters to life and take her readers on such intense journeys ... but until now I didn't realize she could write such sweet, sweet love stories. * feeling refreshed *
Feb 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I adored this book. I have to admit the beginning made me hesitant, but I quickly fell for this story. I felt a connection with Lexie that I don't get with a lot of books and I loved that.
Oct 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: for-book-club
A good quick read between the heavy books. It could have used far more editing and proofreading. If you like Nicholas Sparks then you'll like this book.
Teena in Toronto
Lexie is a librarian living in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, with her cat, Sophie. At 30, she is the oldest daughter of four and is always there for her family and friends. It seems like everyone is living the lives they want except for her and she's ready for her turn.

Adrian has been traveling and ends up in Glace Bay. He has no place to stay so Lexie invites him to be her roommate ... she can use the money and the company. She starts to have feelings for him and then he disappears. But she carries o
Dawn O'rourke
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was so great. I loved all of the characters, most especially Lexie, the main character. A family story, with the usual drama and clashes, love, and hope. I really didn't know which way it was going to end, or even which way I wanted it to end. Kept me up past my bedtime to find out...This is actually the first of Lesley's novels to be published. I guess I read them out of order...whoops. Cape Breton local color, four sisters, family struggles, family reconciliations, Lexie the libraria ...more
Jul 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018
It's hard to understand why this was published when it still needed major editing. It was frustrating to read and I finished it only because it was our book club selection. I can't recommend it at all.
Shannon Marr
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had a hard time putting this down for sure.
Kathy Yango
Enjoyed! Set in CB.
Penny McGill
Didn't love this book but it was fine. I wanted it to be more filled with romance than it was - the cover is pink and she is standing smack dab in the middle of two men so what was I supposed to think!? - and I was always hoping that the next chapter would satisfy my hopes but other than that it was a nice enough story.

It's hard to say if I'd ever actually suggest that anyone read this one. Maybe if they just wanted to pass the time or felt like reading about sisters? Then I might suggest this b
Paula Dembeck
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A debut novel by a Cape Breton writer. I read her second novel first, which led me to seek out other books by this excellent author!

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 feels she is missing something. One day Adrian arrives at the small repertory theater where she works. A charming backpacker, who takes a wrong turn at the US border, and ends up at Lexie’s house as a bo
Sunny Shaffner
Jan 26, 2015 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the cute and quirky characters, and the mention of many familiar places! This is a light chick lit read- it was entertaining but not a book that will be really memorable. I'd recommend it for people who are looking for a book to read at the beach or on vacation. I didn't feel emotional about any of the characters or events in this book as everything seemed to be described only on the surface. I read Kin about a year ago and felt like it was a moving story with depth, so Relative Happin ...more
Linda Badcock
Nov 07, 2014 rated it liked it
I saw a film at the St. John's International Film Festival which was, I now realize, loosely based on this novel. I enjoyed the film and sought out the novel. As usual, the book is better than the movie.

I found the characters engaging and felt for them in their troubles. For just one family, they encounter a lot of troubles!

The particular edition I read needs some editing. I found it annoying to see "pouring" used in place of "poring" and "lead" instead of "led", to name a couple of errors.

Kaileigh Russell
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was really excited to see this book in on the shelves of my local bookstore (Canadian author AND a novel set in Canada?!) needless to say I bought the book without a second thought.

I found the novel a little bit slow to get through, granted, that may be because I've been loading myself up with contemporary novels currently. Saying that, really interesting plot. Definitely wasn't expecting it to go where it did and I was totally alright with it.

I will definitely be seeing the movie (which look
Jun 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5/5 I saw the movie first. And loved it. I sped through the book. I also loved it. But they are two totally different things. I would love to ask the author why soooo much was left out of the movie. How did they decide which things to leave in and take out? I loved this book. I started off unsure how I would feel but quickly fell in love with the main character. This story made me laugh and it made me cry. I'll definitely be thinking of these characters for awhile after finishing. (this was al ...more
Dec 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this and read it compulsively over a 24 hour period. I loved how the author captured the Cape Breton spirit in this book. I thought Lexje was a well developed character and found myself sympathizing with everything that happened to her. My only complaint is that the ending was too rushed and predictable for me. It was a bit disappointing. I think the big decision at the end deserved more development. Overall, though, a great, entertaining read.
Spaka Eon
Apr 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Quick chick lit read from the Canadian author. Lexie is slightly annoying at times, but her men situation makes it guessing game for the readers to see what man she will end up staying with. I picked this book because I found out there is a movie adaptation in progress, will great to see Lexia's life transformation on the screen!
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I couldn't give this book a 5 but it is a strong 4.

The story is energetic and amazing. Lexie is easy to identify with and envy. Such a beautiful love story. Not only romantic love, that is easy, it is the family relationships and friendships that make this story so personable. Great read. Glad I grabbed it.
Anne Derkat
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I won this book from a New Brunswick contest and loved it.

It's the story of Lexie Ivy - a 30 year old unhappy, overweight single woman and her family and the 2 men she loved. It was sad and heart breaking and funny. Definitely a light read, a chick-lit story with a happy ending. Delightful.
It was lovely to read a fiction book set in Cape Breton. I really enjoyed the characters and family dynamics. And the love for the island and way of life was woven throughout. Was Dr. Chow named for the doctor in Baddeck? I just couldn't put the book down!
Jan 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
I will reread...awesome book...more than I expected
Melissa Mason
Feb 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
Just had a discussion with my book club...I'm still laughing. An easy read yet predicable, family values and complicated relationships.
Jul 26, 2011 added it
Needed a chang of pace on my reading and this was nice to read.
Jennifer Peddle
Jun 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Loved this book.
All my emotions were triggered reading Relative Happiness! The author is so witty!
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Lesley grew up in Montreal, PQ. After graduating from Concordia University with a degree in English and Education, she and her hubby settled down in Homeville, Cape Breton and raised a family.

From 2000-2005, Lesley was a features writer and columnist (Home Fires) for Cape Bretoner Magazine, and from 2005-2009, a columnist (Lesley's Letters) with the on-line magazine, Cahoots.

In 2005 her first no

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