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First Novels
by W.P. Kinsella

Relative Happiness by Lesley Crewe (Vagrant Press, $19.95, 306 pages, ISBN: 1551095491). If they still made movies of the week this would be perfect material for one. With a beautiful cover designed by Margaret Issenman, we have here a fast-paced story set in the Maritimes about four sisters, their parents, assorted friends, lovers, and sweethearts. There are weddings, funerals, births, affairs, and betrayals. And virtually everyone cries, frequently, which makes it very difficult to believe that there are such emotional families.
Lexie, the unmarried librarian, invites a young stranger to board in her large home. She falls in love with him, but he, like Heathcliff, takes long brooding walks on the beach and obviously has a dark secret. Then Lexie's slutty sister appears and the young man disappears with her. Lexie meets a Harlequin-romance handsome hunk. They have a fling, and he leaves for Alaska not knowing Lexie is pregnant. Another sister loses a new-born, the baby's father has an affair and then dies. Lexie has a baby and the first young man returns from fulfilling an obligation in Africa and announces that he loves her. The Harlequin hunk returns and both men want to marry Lexie. Who will she choose? If you like this sort of thing, it can be read in an hour, and might just leave you with a little tear of happiness in your eye.

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