26 September 2016

Review: HESTER & HARRIET, Hilary Spiers

  • first published 2015
  • ISBN 978-1-92526-641-2
  • this edition published by www.allenandunwin.com
  • 395 pages
  • source: my local library
Synopsis (Fantastic Fiction)

Hester and Harriet are reluctantly driving to visit relatives on Christmas Day when they come across a young woman hiding with her baby in a bus shelter.

Seeing the perfect excuse for returning to their own warm hearth, the sisters insist on bringing Daria and Milo home with them. But with the arrival of a sinister stranger looking for a girl with a baby, Hester and Harriet's carefully crafted peace and quiet quickly begins to fall apart....

My Take

In an "about the author" at the end of this novel we are told that Hilary Spiers enjoys giving a voice to ordinary women in sometimes extraordinary circumstances. 

This certainly depicted in this novel, but I found myself wondering if I would have acted as Hester and Harriet did in the same circumstances. On Christmas Eve, on their way out to dinner, they discover a young girl with her baby hiding in a nearby bus shelter. They take Daria and her baby home with them for Christmas. After Christmas Day their young nephew Ben turns up looking for shelter.

Daria turns out to have overstayed her visa and it takes some persuading to get her to go to the police to report her circumstances. In addition it appears that here are people looking for Daria, including a private detective and the father of her baby. Meanwhile other things are happening in the village, and a large cannabis crop attracts attention.

I am not sure how I got a recommendation to read this novel. It is certainly at the extreme edge of crime fiction and really rather like a village cozy. There are crimes committed but they are not really central to the action. But the characterisation is good, and the scenarios quite believable.

In the long run an enjoyable read with good human interest and modern themes.

My Rating: 4.4

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