Fiction Ed’s Book Review

Sequel by Hilary Spiers.

“But I want to know what happens next!” You know that feeling at the end of a book? For fans of Hilary Spiers and her Hester & Harriet, she answers your wish with “Hester & Harriet – Love, Lies & Linguine”.

In it the two ladies take a break from their comfortable rural life and jet off on holiday to Italy, as a change from their usual summer sojourn to the Scilly Isles. And we join them at the airport, where Harriet is wondering what’s wrong with her sister and why she’s being so difficult these days…

The main storyline here explores precisely what is wrong, and the gradual reveal of the secret hanging between them keeps you reading.

But Hilary Spiers writes with an engaging sense of fun, so that you feel you really are eavesdropping on them as they squabble mildly over their books – and just about everything else – in that way that sisters do.

They’re also in regular touch with home, which means alternating chapters with Daria, the young Belarusian girl they befriended in the first book, and their nephew Ben.

Their story? Ben’s met a girl, who brings him nothing but trouble, and Daria is doing her best to keep him out of that trouble. You have to be prepared for some typical young person language here, by the way. Not too much, just enough to have the youngsters sound like youngsters.

This is a lively, fresh read, but with heart, too, as Hilary explores and reveals the secret festering between the two sisters. Throughout, you’re longing for them to rediscover their closeness. And just when you think you know where it’s going, it does what all good stories should and changes direction, just enough to keep you guessing.

It all gels together to result in a smashing, satisfying read.

“Hester and Harriet: Love, Lies and Linguine” by Hilary Spiers is out now in Allen & Unwin Paperback Original, £8.99; eBook available.

Hilary has written a lovely summery short story exclusively for “People’s Friend” readers, too. You can read “The Row Of Blue Jugs”, with a mini-interview with Hilary, in Special 141, on sale May 31.

Shirley Blair

Fiction Ed Shirley’s been with the “Friend” since 2007 and calls it her dream job because she gets to read fiction all day every day. Hobbies? Well, that would be reading! She also enjoys writing fiction when she has time, long walks, travel, and watching Scandi thrillers on TV.