Lesley Crewe loves the ordinary moments. She celebrates everyday things.

They are too often lost in the race for something grand. She holds dear her humdrum routine. These accumulating hours make up our lifetimes and when we remember, it is always the simplest of pleasures that make us happy. These are the memories she creates in her books.

Although born and raised in Montreal “a hundred years ago”, Crewe lives in rural Cape Breton with her retired husband and elderly cat. Her kids left long ago. She got into writing as a way to avoid housework and “has been on a diet for sixty-years with no success”. She loves books and animals and anyone who will rub her feet.


The story begins with Nell, the “spinster on the hill” near St. Peter’s, Cape Breton. Scarred by her own childhood, she swears she could never love a child and that she will never marry, denying herself a life with the man she loves. She’s proven wrong when a baby is born just down the road from her. Her love of little Jane, despite herself, propels us forward through generations trying to untangle their own traumas and secrets. Eventually, we meet Bridie – joyful, kind, capable Bridie – and see her struggling through the echoing pain of those who came before her. Her choices, her bravery, her “nest of wonderful women,” and her ultimate refusal to settle for anything less than love, eventually redeem her and everyone around her?even the spinster on the hill.

As real as our own family dramas, Beholden is full of Lesley Crewe’s trademark laugh-out-loud moments, heartbreaking losses, incredible women with unbreakable friendships, and the sweet wildness of Cape Breton.