Saturday, 30 January 2016

Hester and Harriet by Hilary Spiers

A good read any time of the year is this Christmas themed offering from British author, Hilary Spiers. Hester and Harriet are two ageing sisters, both widows living out their retirement in a small English village. They enjoy good food, courtesy of Hester who’s a dab hand in the kitchen, as well as bridge parties and looking out for the hobo, Finbar, who lives in the old bus shelter at the end of their lane.

When Christmas arrives, they would be happy to spend the day by the fire, but duty beckons in the form of a meal spent with their boring cousins George and Isabelle who have no idea about food. But when they discover a young girl and her baby in Finbar’s hidey-hole, Hester and Harriet are only too happy to come to the girl’s rescue instead.

As if this isn’t enough, George and Isabelle’s teenage son, Ben, turns up on their doorstep after a flaming row with his parents and looks set to stay. Hester and Harriet’s life is thrown into disarray, but the two rally round: sharp-tongued Hester grudgingly shows Ben a thing or two in the kitchen, while social justice warrior, Harriet, goes into bat for their refugee: Daria, from Belarus who has lost her passport and is being spied on by a dodgy looking character lurking in their lane.

There are plenty of chuckles as the women keep Daria hidden and stick their noses in where they are patently not welcome. The village characters are a treat, particularly Finbar who was once a classics teacher and is pedantic about grammar. I found this a light, fun read, nicely plotted and loaded with snappy dialogue and wintry village atmosphere.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue link: Hester and Harriet

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