The Spoon Stealer

But the scent of sundrenched fresh cotton in that meadow of wildflowers, mixed with the salty sea air and the aroma of fir trees, is still the most heavenly fragrance on earth. I feel it belongs only to me.

Lesley Crewe’s newest novel brings readers from WWI England to 1960s Nova Scotia, following a spoon-stealing memoirist who inherits the family farm—and the family. Born into a basket of clean sheets—ruining a perfectly good load of laundry—Emmeline never quite fit in on her family’s Nova Scotian farm. After suffering multiple losses in the First World War, her family became so heavy with grief and mental illness that Emmeline felt their weight smothering her. And so, she fled across the Atlantic and built her life in England. Retired, she now lives in a small coastal town with her best friend, Vera, a small white dog. When she joins a memoir-writing course at the library, her past unfolds for her audience, and friendships form. She even shares her third-biggest secret: she is a compulsive spoon stealer. When Emmeline unexpectedly inherits the farm she grew up on, she knows she needs to see what remains of her family one last time. She arrives like a tornado in their lives, an off-kilter Mary Poppins bossing everyone around and getting quite a lot wrong. But with her generosity and hard-earned wisdom, she gets an awful lot right, too. A pinball ricocheting between people, offending and inspiring in equal measure, Emmeline, in her final years, believes that a spoonful— perhaps several spoonfuls—of kindness can set to rights the family so broken by loss and secrecy.

A classic Crewe book full of humour, secrets, friendship, lovable animals, and immense heart.

Excerpt

Apparently, a summer morning in 1894 was the perfect time for hanging out a line of wash. The kind of day when the sun shone so bright in the clear blue sky, that white cotton sheets dazzled before your eyes, making you almost blind. The wind snapped pillow cases and clean towels back and forth like waving flags, and the smell of the grass and hay made you think that life was definitely worth living.

At least, that’s what I was thinking when my mother gave an almighty screech and reached down between her apron and long skirt to attempt to catch me before I fell from between her legs into a basket full of freshly laundered linen. She didn’t grab me in time, and I don’t think she ever forgave me for bloodying those beautiful white sheets. But the scent of sundrenched fresh cotton in that meadow of wildflowers, mixed with the salty sea air and the aroma of fir trees, is still the most heavenly fragrance on earth. I feel it belongs only to me.

Which is nonsense, of course, but then that’s how I’ve always seen the world. It’s mine alone. And that attitude tried my mother’s patience on an almost daily basis. She had no idea what to do with me.

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