Recipe for a Good Life
by Lesley Crewe
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Pub Date 18 Jul 2023 | Archive Date 18 Aug 2023
Nimbus Publishing, Vagrant Press
On paper, Kitty’s life is perfect. She lives in Montreal, so vibrant in the 1950s; she married her childhood sweetheart, who happens to also be a handsome movie star; and her detective novels, written under a plausibly male nom de plume, are bestsellers. But Kitty is suffocating under the truth of her life: Montreal feels chaotic and lonely without her mother, and with her father all but estranged. Her husband is a glib Lothario. And she never, ever wants to write another detective novel. When she says as much to her publishers, they panic. She’s their golden goose. And so they convince her to go on a writing retreat to a beautiful remote island, Cape Breton, where with solitude and a luxurious change of scenery, she’ll be able to whip up her next book. At least, that was the plan.
Kitty arrives in Cape Breton to a leaky, drafty shack and a cast of characters unlike anyone she’s ever met. There’s Ethel, who listens in on everyone’s party line calls and never keeps good gossip to herself; generous Bertha and her enormous family…and Bertha’s son, Wallace—Walrus, to all his nieces and nephews. A gentle giant who always has half a dozen children hanging off him. Soon Kitty’s writing retreat turns her life upside down, and she has to face which parts of her life are non-negotiable and which she must cut loose. Can she preserve what she loves in Montreal now that Cape Breton is calling? If she frees herself from the weight of her past, will she float away altogether?
“Reading Recipe For a Good Life was like being on the receiving end of an enormous hug just when you need it most. Bursting at the seams with heart and humour, this book is a most glorious love letter to the amazing women of rural Cape Breton. I now want to get a time machine and move to South Head Road!”
–Bianca Marais, bestselling author of The Witches of Moonshyne Manor
“Lesley Crewe has done it again! Recipe for a Good Life absolutely delivers, with vivid characters, and plenty of moments both hilarious and touching. Lesley’s writing with lots of love, here, and it shows.”
–Stephanie Domet, Amazing Atlantic Canadian Women, Fallsy Downsies
“Fans of the delightful Lesley Crewe know that she can skillfully make you weep or laugh at the drop of a noun. In her latest novel, Recipe for a Good Life, she weaves loneliness like silk into the soul of a person with a stitch of humour. This clever author knows that the heart can teach you more than you will ever teach it.”
–Beatrice MacNeil, bestselling author of Where White Horses Gallop
“I fell arse over tea kettle in love with the characters in this book, and now find myself missing them on a daily basis. That’s the sign of a good story!”
–Nancy Regan, bestselling author of From Showing Off to Showing UP
“Recipe for a Good Life is Notting Hill meets Cape Breton—if Julia Roberts was a bestselling author and Hugh Grant a clandestine baker instead of a bookseller. Kitty steps out of her cosmopolitan life in Mad Men–era-Montreal to the world of South Head, Cape Breton, where telephones are still using the Party Line (catnip for the local gossip). It’s a life-changing writing retreat for a woman stagnating in her work and marriage. With Crewe’s signature wit and a cast of cheeky characters, lolloping dogs and heaps of food, this is a warm hug of a book. You’ll wish you could go for a stroll along the beach with Walrus and the dogs or bum a cigarette from Gaynor over a literary lunch.”
–Nicola Davison, award-winning author of In the Wake and Decoding Dot Grey
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 10 members
A sweet, wholesome story about finding yourself in the company of strangers. Beautiful setting, lovely and lively characters. A feel good vibe that felt very Canadian.
💕You might like this book if:
🔹 you want to read about characters that restore your faith in humanity
🔹 you like books about writers
🔹 you like friendly, rural community vibes
How have I missed reading other books by Lesley Crewe?? Not anymore! I'm following Lesley Crewe on GoodReads now. I just loved Recipe for a Good Life. Wonderfully crafted characters.
Kitty is a writer, Gaynor is her editor. I especially loved the friendship and insight to the writing process. Kitty has a bit of "writers block" and Gaynor convinces the publishing company to send her to the country for a while for a bit of a retreat. Kitty is introduced to a new cast of characters and ... it's life changing.
At 408 pages, I still did not want this book to end.
Thank you to NetGalley for (yet again!) introducing me to a "new to me" author. It looks like Lesley Crewe has at least 16 prior novels. I can't wait to start reading some of them! (Although my TBR list is a little out of control right now.) Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to review the advance read copy of Recipe for a Good Life in exchange for an honest review. So happy that Vagrant Press approved my NetGalley ARC request. Thank you! And thank you to Lesley Crewe for writing such a lovely novel. Adding to my personal "best of for 2023" shelf.
This new to me author has made me fall in love with each one of these characters. They became like family to me.
I loved the setting of small town life.
She has described this setting perfectly that I felt like I was there.
Bertha and the grandkids made me snicker in some places too.
Good ol Ethel reminds me of Mrs. Oleson on Little House when they first got the switchboard.
I'm so glad that we don't have 3rd party phone lines anymore! That sure couldn't have been easy! The whole town would know your business!
This book will have you turning it's pages until the end. I loved every minute of it.
I love good wholesome stories such as this one. It has left me feeling full and satisfied.
Honestly the title is what made me want to read it. I wanted to find out what did make a recipe for a good life. I wasn't disappointed.at all. 5 stars for a rich and beautiful story. I highly recommend this book.
My thanks for a copy of this book. I was NOT required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
This is my second Lesley Crewe and I am learning that she can be counted on to build out a sweet story with characters who tug on your heartstrings! Much like The Spoon Stealer, you have to give it time to grow and build. It is the perfect book to read when you want something sweet and comforting.. and don't mind being made hungry!