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Hester and Harriet

(Hester and Harriet #1)

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  809 ratings  ·  125 reviews
When widowed sisters, Hester and Harriet, move together into a comfortable cottage in a pretty English village, the only blights on their cosy landscape are their crushingly boring cousins, George and Isabelle, who are determined that the sisters will never want for company. Including Christmas Day.

On their reluctant drive over to Christmas dinner, the sisters come across
Kindle Edition, 314 pages
Published November 1st 2015 by Allen & Unwin (first published October 1st 2015)
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Average rating 3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  809 ratings  ·  125 reviews

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Nov 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4000-books
I guess this one just creeps into the genre of cosy mystery since the Hester and Harriet of the title unintentionally become temporary sleuths. Having given refuge to a young runaway and her baby they then have to shield her from danger and try to discover the girl's true story. It all makes for a fun, entertaining tale.
I liked Hester and Harriet, sisters and widows, getting along with their lives in their own comfortable ways. It was nice to see them open their doors to a variety of people in
Nov 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
HESTER AND HARRIET was a very enjoyable read centred around two elderly sisters with an appreciation for the finer things in life – something I can only aspire to. There is humour, kindness and a determination to make things right along with a gentle message that sometimes family is the one we choose rather than the one we are born into. From the moment they open their hearts and home to Daria and her baby boy there is intrigue and mystery. Daria is a foreign refugee who has fled to England for ...more
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hester and Harriet is the first book in the Hester and Harriet series by British author, Hilary Spiers. Hester Greene and Harriet Pearson are “late middle-aged” widows living together in Pellington, the next village to their well-meaning cousin George, his wife Isabelle and their rather sullen son, Ben. On their reluctant way to another boring and probably inedible Christmas Day lunch, they pick up a waif taking cover in a disused bus shelter, a young woman with a baby, the perfect excuse to ...more
Veronica ⭐️
Oct 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-u, 2016
3.5 stars

Sisters Hester and Harriet live together now that they are both widowed. They are happy to live a quiet, monotonous life and like nothing better than to be left alone.

Their comfortable, mundane world is about to come crashing down when first they find a young girl with a small baby huddled in a bus shelter then their 15 year old nephew arrives on their doorstep begging to stay with them for a few days.

What ensues is a week of danger, adventure and soul searching for the two sisters.

Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
A delightful read. Hester and Harriet only serves to strengthen my belief that there is far more going on in these sleepy English villages than is immediately apparent to the casual observer.

There is no murder, a little mystery and intrigue, but mostly this is just a 'feel good' book. If you need a break from the darker reads, I can heartily recommend this.
You can tell I'm in a reading slump as it took me 1 week!!! to finish this novel. True, I've been doing other stuff, and I seem to have gotten back my photography mojo, which had pretty much deserted me in the past year or so. Right, back to the subject at hand, 'Hester and Harriet'.

First of all, I felt like such a dufus for assuming that Hester was a guy's name. Hester and Harriet are two widowed, retired sisters, living a quiet and comfortable life in a village in England. Their life is
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Reviewed as part of the promotional tour, for which I received a free copy of the book. Review also published at If These Books Could Talk

Widowed sisters, Hester and Harriet live the cosy village life, keeping themselves very much to themselves. Only socialising when they absolutely have to, they see the world around them through very narrow eyes. Those eyes are opened wide when not only do they find their errant teenage nephew Ben on their doorstep, seeking an escape from his pushy parents, but
Aug 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderfully gorgeous story about two elderly sisters who open up their house and their hearts to three unsuspecting people - one of whom they're related to and the other two who are lost in a country they know nothing about.

The story is so beautifully crafted and puts me in mind of Fredrik Backman's "A Man Called Ove". Although not quite as funny or as outrageous as that story this one brings to mind a sense of a family that is not necessarily the ones we're born with but ones that we choose.

Kathleen Dixon
Hester and Harriet are two retired and widowed sisters and, apart from suffering some terribly boring relatives, are content with their lives. But their lives are suddenly invaded - first by a young woman and her baby that they rescued from a bus shelter on a freezing cold Christmas Day, and second by the 15-year-old son (Ben) of their (terribly boring) cousins, George and Isabelle.

This book is comedy and drama all the way through. The sisters and Ben give the reader many laughs, while the
Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels-set-in-uk
This review first appeared on our blog, where we also talk to the author about writing and more:

As sisters Hester and Harriet are driving out over the Christmas period to visit relations, they spy a young woman hiding with a little baby in a bus shelter. They grind to a halt in their car and before they know it, they have invited her to stay with them, as she looks utterly miserable – and it is after all the season of goodwill. It also means they can turn the
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Utterly delightful, full of charming characters and situations that go from the sensible to the outrageous in splendid fashion!
Shaz Goodwin
Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Widowed Hester and Harriet live in the next village to their cousin George and wife Isabelle. George thinks they need company, not realising they are happy as they are - the deliberate 'batty old woman' faces they show to keep people away obviously has the opposite effect! As we get to know the sisters and their love of home cooking/the best ingredients and the difference between Hester and Isabelle's cooking, I didn't blame them for not wanting to go ...

Bruce Gargoyle
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.

The best bit of this book for me was the young nephew
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: series, challenge

I wish I had liked it a bit more than I did. It seemed to have all the right ingredients; an unlikely ensemble cast of characters, a bit of sleuthing, lots of food and wine, and some social issues thrown in for good measure. But in the end, for me, it wasn't dramatic enough to be a good drama, nor humorous enough to be a good comedy. However, thanks to the extremely erudite and loquacious indigent former- Classics master, Finbar, I did learn a few new words!!
Book Bazaar
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A gorgeous novel! This has gone to the top of my recommendations for Christmas. Quirky characters, a small English village, a young refugee Mum on the run and a love of good food. Perfect for any age and safe to give to Nanna or your sister.
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
The story was guide exciting but there was something about the main characters I couldn't warm to.
Sam Still Reading
Dec 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of cosy stories
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: thanks to the publisher
Hester and Harriet is a cosy read, but don’t be fooled that it’s all cookies and holidays! While there are some delicious descriptions of food and the plot takes place mainly from Christmas to New Year, many serious issues are tackled from asylum seekers to illegal activities. However, Hilary Spiers does this in a way that is neither preachy nor boring. The story is never too heavy and there are a lot of witty moments. Perhaps it’s because the story takes place over Christmas, but I think this ...more
Cass Moriarty
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Christmas holidays are the perfect time to read light-hearted books that are lots of fun. Hester and Harriet, by Hilary Spiers, definitely falls into this category. Set in a charming English village, this contemporary tale introduces us to Hester and Harriet, widowed sisters who have relocated to a cute cottage called The Laurels, and who are looking forward to a quiet life of good home-cooked food, a daily tipple of decent wine, and their own selves for company. The only impediment to their ...more
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you want to read a quirky, funny story with very likeable and decidedly real and well drawn characters, Hestor and Harriet is definitely the book to read. Recommended to me by a bookclub friend as soon as I started to read this book it made me smile and I couldn't help smiling all the way through. The two main characters are sisters in their sixties who live together and want a nice quiet life. Their life is however thrown into chaos and for them excitement which they haven't been confronted ...more
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
An interesting contemporary cosy crime mystery with a tilt to Miss Marple but set firmly in contemporary Britain. The two sisters of the title are a tad too eccentric for my liking - subtlety would not have damaged the plot - but lends a slight comic touch.

What makes the book such a good read is the warmth of the characters and the reality of the difficult situations in which they become involved. The real, wicked, contemporary problems into which the sisters allow themselves to be drawn attest
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways.

Hester and Harriet was an entertaining read centred around two dowdy sisters with an appreciation for the finer things in life.
The characters were fun in this book. They all had their little quirks and idiosyncrasies that blended together in a way that forced me into laughing out loud. I could have used more Finbarr in this story, he was easily my favourite.

This book was superbly crafted with outlandish wit that was thoroughly
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won this book as part of a Goodreads Giveaway. This book was an easy read that brought together some major social issues- asylum seekers, homelessness, teenage rebellion, aging, unfaithfulness,gossip, drugs, - in such a way as to touch on these issues and put a face to them without being depressing. I found the story flowed and made me think that everyday life was full of complex relationships and hard issues. Overall the message of positiveness and the goodness of others will help each and ...more
Sep 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
A pleasure to read. An easy read that kept me interested and looking forward to picking it up right to the end. I had the dictionary out at times and have learnt some new words along the way (even though you get the gist of them). It's certainly not going to set the literary world on fire for clever writing but take the tale for what it is and you'll enjoy it. Thank you to The Reading Room for this copy.
Sonia Bellhouse
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
An entertaining story but one with enough 'bite' to make it an engaging read. Debating whether my favourite character is the sister's nephew Ben or the old rogue Finbar. Hester and Harriet themselves are interesting characters and their relationship with each other well conveyed. Not a run of the mill book. Will look forward to this author's next book
Yorky Caz
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much. The characters were fantastic. The two widowed sisters living in contented peace have their lives turned upside down with danger a sulky nephew and a mysterious young girl with a baby.
Sharah McConville
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
'Hester and Harriet' is an enjoyable story, set in England, about two old sisters who live together. This is the first book in the series and follows their unexpected adventure over the Christmas holidays. I won Hilary Spiers book through Goodreads Giveaways.
Dec 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Cosy domestic drama set in an English country village was the perfect antidote to a couple of horrific blogs I’d just previously read.
Lisa Mertens
Sep 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Well written and easy to read. I think my aunts would love this!
Melissa Sargent
Nov 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Hester and Harriet
Hilary Spiers

Two widowed sisters, Hester and Harriet, live a comfortable and routine life together in a cottage in a picturesqueEnglish Village. The foodie pair are reluctantly on their way to Christmas lunch with relatives who are crushingly boring and unable to cook - a double whammy of incompetence for the sisters who would much rather be at home in front of the fire with a great glass of wine and their own gourmet fare. They happen upon a waif-like young girl and an infant
Natalie  S
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
Hilary Spiers is an author who has made it her job to write stories about “Ordinary women in sometimes extraordinary circumstances”. Hester & Harriet – her latest novel – is supposed to fit this bill but unfortunately, is just plain dull. The book is pleasant and the ideas seem well-intentioned enough, but the premise is too weak to justify a 394 page narrative.

The novel stars the titular Hester and Harriet, two sisters and older women who have been widowed and live together. The pair
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Hilary Spiers is a novelist, award-winning short story writer and playwright. She writes contemporary fiction about ordinary women in sometimes extraordinary circumstances, and in particular older women who rarely seem to take centre stage. Well, in her work, they do, in all their wit and exuberance.

Hilary’s first novel, Hester and Harriet, was published in March 2016 and was included in the

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