Cape Breton author Lesley Crewe’s newest book The Spoon Stealer will be stealing hearts in no time. Primarily set in England, like all of Crewe’s stories, this one is about family and, in particular, the North Shore we all know and love.
Much can transpire when someone hosts a writers meeting at a library as a collection of passionate people congregate and form bonds surprising to those who take part. And that’s what happens in Joyce’s memoir class as strangers come together to read aloud their life stories. Emmeline’s was the only one who hooked the listeners and for very good reasons.
Emmeline, among the rest of the characters in this book, and trust me when I say all the characters had a lot of spunk and aspects to be remembered by, were inspired by members of Crewe’s own family.
While growing up in wartime, Emmeline was the youngest of five and had two brothers who went to war while two, for very different reasons, stayed home.
Crewe, with stories of loss and love first with pages of a memoir and then through present day, beautifully laid out the importance of family, no matter if it’s by blood or through friendship. A family war torn and dealing with mental health issues, everyone can relate to the tragic decisions mixed with spoonful’s of kindness that link us all together through trying times.
During World War I and II, those who stayed home were asked to grow what we now know as Victory Gardens, giving those who couldn’t be on the frontlines tasks to do. These gardens fed not only the appetites of those eagerly waiting for word from the soldiers but the souls of those mourning. Just as it took a spoonful of milk at a time for Teddy, Emmeline’s dearest brother, to rescue a kitten, in a world overcome with negativity it can just be a matter of sharing a tiny bit of kindness from whatever garden you grow to heal the world.
Crewe’s The Spoon Stealer offers that healing and connection we all need no matter the battle we’re fighting. While primarily set in England, everything starts and ends with a small farm on the North Shore of Nova Scotia and, while family is certainly what you make it, this line sums up the story nicely, “He’d called her a little old British lady. But she wasn’t. She never had been. She was a Canadian farm girl. Whose only family was a dog.”