Diane Bethune (1935-2024)

It was with very heavy hearts that we said goodbye this past week to our beloved friend, Di Bethune. She passed away peacefully in the early hours of Wednesday, March 13 and will be missed terribly.

Di was a lifelong booklover, a passionate reader, and an irreplaceable member of our bookstore family. She was incredibly kind and caring, exhibiting a sharp, quick wit, often when you were least expecting it. She adored dogs and always delighted in visits from our canine customers, even following some human customers out onto the sidewalk so she could greet their four-legged companions with lots of love and a biscuit. Bookstore dogs, Tika and Dickon, of course also received many Di pats and cookies over the years. Both felt quite at home curled up on Di’s lap and were always quick to stake their claim whenever she sat down.

Children’s literature was another of Di’s great passions. She loved reading all the newest children’s books and was an expert at putting the right book in the right child’s hands. Her expertise certainly didn’t end there, though. Di was also a voracious reader of mysteries, fiction, and non-fiction and was a master at hand-selling her favourite reads. Here at the store, we always had to make sure we stocked up on whatever Di’s latest pick was as she would undoubtedly continue hand-selling it long after she had left work for the day. A book with Di’s stamp of approval was always guaranteed to become a Books on Beechwood bestseller! This talent extended beyond our store, of course, and was always in evidence during her many years volunteering with the Rockcliffe Park Library Book Sale and the Rockcliffe Park Public School Book Fair, her time working at The Bookery, a children’s bookshop on Sussex Drive, and while running no fewer than two second-hand bookstores of her own with her husband, Don.

Working with Di was always such a joy! Whether you were sorting books at the library sale, discovering rare treasures in among book donations at Book Fair, or learning the ins and outs of working retail, she always led with kindness and had an infinite amount of patience with those just finding their footing. Her knowledge of all things book-related was extensive, and she was always so happy to share what she knew with others. Despite all her teaching, though, there were times when all her colleagues wanted to do was stand back and watch Di at work. Witnessing the way she handled a store full of eager customers was truly incredible! Even more so when bookstore co-founder, Jean Barton was by her side – the two of them together made the perfect team!

We’ve all enjoyed so many wonderful moments with Di over the years. From chance meetings around the neighbourhood to volunteering together at a book sale, playing games at staff Christmas parties to simply working alongside her in the store. Every moment was special and we’re all so grateful for the time we got to spend with her. There was work, of course, and some serious moments, but there was also lots of laughter and fun. Di was a wonderful bookseller, a great colleague, and a very special friend. We are all better people for having known her, and we will miss her everyday.

Sending all our love to the Bethune family at this difficult time, and our heartfelt thanks to Di’s children, Margot and Andrew, for sharing their lovely Mum with us for so many years.

— The Staff at Books on Beechwood

Memorial service arrangements and Di’s obituary can be found here.

Oliver Dyment Signing

Join us on Saturday, March 23 for an afternoon book signing with local author, Oliver Dyment. He will be here from noon to 2:00pm to sign copies of his new fantasy novel, The Ninth Forsvar.

About the book:
“War cannot describe the ravages of the Umman Manda. When these monsters descend from the mountains, the people of Estrickt have their own word for what follows: Forsvar.

The scars left by the eight Forsvar run deep. Time passes, seasons turn, walls find their strength anew. Still, terror hold fresh in the mind of every Estrian. In a society molded to fight these vicious beasts, true recovery is a distant dream.

A new empress is crowned, a new hope rises. But already, signs tell of horrors swelling in the land beyond the mountains.

The ninth Forsvar is on its way.”

Emily Murray Book Signing

Join us on Saturday, March 9 between 11:00am and 1:00pm as we host local author Emily Murray in the store! She will be here signing copies of her debut novel, Alixandria Fire: Dani and Danny, a winter-themed romance set in small-town Ontario.
About the book:
“Christmas season in Alixandria is magical, the snowy air is festive with twinkling lights, holiday parties and mistletoe.
Kindergarten teacher Dani Campbell is still settling into her new town. She just needs a break from the chaos of her old life. Finally she can breathe, focus on herself and spend quality time with her dog, Sage.
One morning she accidentally picks up a café mocha meant for Danny.
Born and raised in Alixandria, fire fighter Danny Stewart is tired of being the hot topic of small town gossip. Focused on fixing up his grandparents’ home, he’s taking a long pause from dating.
One morning he receives a plain black coffee meant for Dani.
Will sparks fly between Dani and Danny or will they go up in flames?”
About Emily:
“I am from a small town in Eastern Ontario, Canada. At age 10 I declared that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. It may have taken me thirty more years, but I finally did it.
With an educational background in psychology, sociology and criminology, my favourite characters are people you could bump into on the street, sit next to on the bus or smile at in passing: people who deal with the realities of life, with a little bit of sweetness mixed in.
Currently I am working on the Alixandria Fire series of stand alone books. The first one, out now, centers around Dani and Danny. The next, tentatively set for Spring 2024, will be about Sarah and Taylor. The third, potentially for Summer 2025, will focus on Brodie and Claire.
When I’m not writing I’m wrangling my young children, my husband and two dogs.”