I’m slowly edging my way up that mountain and this month I’ve knocked over another one of those books that I just had to have the second it was published, only to leave it languishing on the shelf for months. Hester and Harriet by Hilary Spiers was touted as a feel-good hit at the end of 2015 and I did everything in my power to obtain a copy for free on or before the release date – through competitions, requesting from the publisher, you name it! – before I gave in and just bought it. Let’s check it out.
Ten Second Synopsis:
Hester and Harriet, geriatric sisters, offer refuge to a young woman and her baby in an attempt to get out of having Christmas lunch with odious relatives. When their young nephew Ben turns up also requesting sanctuary, the term “silly season” comes into play, as the ladies and their charges grapple with international migration laws, ridiculously named private detectives and cleaning up after oneself in the kitchen.
Time on the TBR Shelf:
I can’t trace this exactly because I can’t remember where I bought it, but I suspect since late December 2015.
Purchased, either from the BD or possibly Booktopia or maybe Boomerang Books
Reason I haven’t read it yet:
- Fear that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations
- The young nephew character, Ben. He is comic relief, a breath of fresh air and his growth through the novel is enjoyable to witness
- The plot is perfect for an extended holiday or beach read. Nothing too untoward happens and there are lots of quirky characters to get behind.
- Finbar, the homeless classics master. He was quite refreshing in his scenes and a handy source of new information.
Less Impressive Bits:
- It’s slow. There are lots of discussions between the two sisters that really slow down the action, and this, coupled with the fact that Daria is unnecessarily furtive about her past, means that new information must be wrung from the pages by clawing hands
- I couldn’t tell the difference between Hester and Harriet. One is good at cooking and one gets quite shirty about Ben using the kitchen (this is possibly the same sister), but given the two “H” names and not much of a difference in personality or manner between them, I just thought of them as a conglomerate old person spread over two bodies.
- Finbar, the homeless classics master. As well as being refreshing, he was also excessively verbose and a great candidate to have “GET ON WITH IT!” shouted at him.
On reflection, was this worth buying?
The more prudent part of my brain says that we would have enjoyed this just as well had we borrowed it from the library. The generous part of my brain says that at least we can now make someone else happy by passing this impressively large and attractive paperback on.
Where to now for this tome?
It has already been passed along to someone who should enjoy it.
This is another chink off the Mount TBR Reading Challenge hosted by My Reader’s Block.
Until next time,