Title: Love, Lies and Linguine
Author: Hilary Spiers
Published: February 1st 2017
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Rating: 3 stars
The delightfully irascible sisters are on the move . . . which just goes to show you’re never too old to start again.
Having found, in Hester & Harriet, that sometimes opening your door to the unexpected has a great result, the intrepid sisters decide to further expand their horizons and book tickets, pack bags and venture forth to Italy for their annual holidays. With a huge secret hanging between them, an unlikely new love on the landscape for Hester and new beginnings also beckoning for Harriet, Italy is certainly providing more of those pesky open doors. But which ones will Hester & Harriet walk through? Meanwhile, back home in England, Daria and Milo are celebrating—they’ve received official refugee status with papers to confirm they can make England their home. And Ben is hurtling towards a different sort of celebration—one he’s trying to backpedal out of as fast as he possibly can.
Love, Lies and Linguine is the second book written by Hilary Spiers, featuring two widowed sisters, following on from the novel Hester and Harriet. This is my second outing with the two sisters, Hester and Harriet, as I very recently finished reading the first book in this series. Reading Love, Lies and Linguine offered me the chance to revisit not only the sisters again, but the loved ones who all play an important role in Hester and Harriet’s lives.
This time around the action in the novel alternates between two locations. The first backdrop is the quaint village in England where Hester and Harriet reside, as well as Italy, where the sisters have decided to take as their annual holiday. While they are in Italy, the sisters hone in on their passions. For Harriet, Italy offers her the chance to take up an art class. Whilst for Hester, a cooking class beckons. Over the week’s holiday, long held secrets are revealed, true thoughts are expressed, mysteries are unravelled and love sparks between Hester and another holidaymaker. Meanwhile, back in the UK, Hester and Harriet’s nephew Ben is contending with a house party in Hester and Harriet’s home, gone terribly wrong. The teenage Ben, an aspiring chef, must clean up all evidence of the party before his aunts find out. Also back on the home front in Britain is Daria, a refugee from Belarus, who the elderly women gave refuge to in the previous book. Daria is on tenterhooks, desperately awaiting British citizenship to be granted to her, as well as her baby son Milo and brother. Joining Daria and Ben is Finbar, an enigmatic homeless man with a surprising number of hidden talents under his belt. Taking place over a period of just a week, divided day by day, Love, Lies and Linguine is another entertaining read from Hilary Spiers.
Even though I have read the predecessor to Love, Lies and Linguine, Hester & Harriet, this novel is presented in a way that makes it very easy for new readers to pick up on this series on the second book. I appreciated the structure to Love, Lies and Linguine, a short time frame (just over a week) and alternating chapters between the Hester and Harriet’s grand adventure in Italy, to Ben and Daria’s life back at home in the UK. This allowed the reader more room to connect with each character, their personalities and the issues at the heart of their characters flourished. With the themes of trust, secrets, love, family, travel and belonging dominating the novel, overall it makes for an accessible read.
Love, Lies and Linguine is a novel that holds wide appeal, making it a book that will sit comfortably with any audience. The relatable, as well as diverse set of characters, makes this book a solid follow on to the previous book in this series, Hester & Harriet. It will be interesting to see where author Hilary Spiers takes Hester and Harriet, along with their entourage next.
*I wish to thank Bookstr/Allen & Unwin for providing me an uncorrected proof copy of this novel for review.