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Relative Happiness

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  543 ratings  ·  72 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 3.89  · 
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 ·  543 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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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.
Eileen Mackintosh
Jan 27, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Another enjoyable read by Lesley Crewe. For me, it is the characters and the easy writing style that get me hooked. I laughed and I definitely cried. But I think if a book makes you feel something, it is worth the read. The romantic plot may be a bit far fetched, but I was able to overlook that because I like the characters so much. Favourite quote: “That was it. Lexie was so mad. Marlene had done it again. She managed to make her feel like two cents. She had to get over the horrible habit of al ...more
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! ...more
Chloe Kenney
Jul 19, 2022 rated it really liked it
I adore Lesley’s quirky writing style and setting in the communities in Cape Breton. I found all of Lesley’s family members extremely well rounded, with all their own trials and lessons throughout the book. With four sisters normally I would’ve encountered a lot of “wait which one is that again” but each distinct character stuck out here. I read through it quickly. Compared to the rest of the book, I wasn’t as big a fan of the ending, but still loved it none the less.
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.
Mary B
Oct 09, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another wonderful read. Will review later when I feel better.
To say I am besotted with the works of Lesley Crewe would be absolutely bang on! And the more I read the more accurate it is.
Relative Happiness was Lesley's first novel and received rave reviews; it was even made into a movie which I think I would enjoy at some point, although I always enjoy a book more than its movie.
Relative Happiness, based on what I know, seems somewhat autobiographic, but more than that. It is a novel set i
Apr 14, 2021 rated it it was ok
I wasn’t aware of this book (or the movie) until I saw it in the library and decided it looked interesting and I was in the mood for a “delightful romantic comedy” as Amazon calls it.

Yeah. Bad description. I think of this book as more fiction and more about the family dynamics I guess than romance, and I didn’t find it overly funny, even though there was a some lovely witty dialogue.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. Because I started reading it as a rom-com, I got very confused abo
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
Mar 28, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This author is so easy to read. I love her characters, they are so relatable. I really enjoyed meeting the whole Ivy family. Many ups and downs, some unexpected twists, and lots of love. I enjoyed the Nova Scotia setting, and being from Montreal, I could visualize those city scenes also. It's so much fun reading a talented Canadian author. This book was a real page-turner for me, especially the last third, and I got fully immersed. And it ended exactly as I hoped it would. ...more
Sue Slade
Aug 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
I found a copy of local author, Lesley Crewe's Relative Happiness in the library of the cottage we are staying at. I just finished her latest book The Spoon Stealer a week or so ago and thought it was fitting to be able to read her debut novel as my vacation read. Well we haven't been at the cottage 24 hours and I've got it read. I really enjoyed it! I laughed and I cried in the roller coaster ride of Lexie's life. I loved how things ended and will be on the hunt for my third Lesley Crewe novel. ...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!
Carmen Adams
Mar 24, 2022 rated it really liked it
I have really been enjoying Leslie Crewe’s books lately. I like her style, like that they are about Cape Breton.
I have enjoyed them so much that i had been reading them back to back. Not a great idea, they are an easy read, not a lot of substance. I enjoy that sometimes after a hard day. I don’t always want to read about pain, heart break etc. But after awhile I was getting bored of them. I’m going to take a break and get to the next one at the end of summer!
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.

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 * ...more
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. ...more
Melanie Mosher
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
A great read during my vacation. Wonderful sense of setting. Full of emotion. Well done.
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. ...more
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
May 14, 2022 rated it liked it
Ok, so I didn't hate this book. I did however have a considerable problem with a couple of choices characters made, and thereby the author made, yet I still liked every one of the characters (flaws and all!). I loved how different the sisters were from one another, and how different each of their relationships were with their parents. I adored the MC's best friend.
I always enjoy the setting of Lesley Crewe's books and appreciated the attempt to reflect the difference between a more urban part o
Jul 31, 2022 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book but I think it just hasn’t aged well. The emphasis on Lexie being plus size was annoying and detracted from the story. Why did that need to be important? Sigh. Also, librarians can’t librarian with being computer savvy so her job made no sense at all. Not to mention how often she called in sick etc.

Then what was up with Adrian? Odd that the sisters didn’t seem to have any worries about sharing him. Or passing him back and forth, to be more accurate.

I wanted to root fo
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. ...more
Oct 29, 2021 rated it liked it
A fun read - like watching Hallmark or Lifetime movie which could be excellent if the director/producer stayed true to the author's plotline and characters. From the minute I started reading, I wanted to read to the end without stopping. ...more
Aug 26, 2022 rated it liked it
The first 3/4 of this book was so good, I couldn’t put it down. But the last quarter of the book was disappointing. It didn’t seem like it worked with the rest of the book. I would give the first 3/4 4 stars and the ending 2 stars.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had a hard time putting this down for sure.
Kathy Yango
Enjoyed! Set in CB.
Colleen Burr
Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was ok
Feb 14, 2021 rated it liked it
A cute, quick read, and I enjoyed the quick progression through the years. All the tears was a little annoying, but understandable.
Nov 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this, and I think I will be buying more of her books
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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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