Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet).
Don’t you love books that put a bright spark in your day? Hester and Harriet was one of those books for me – by turns charming, quirky, and laugh-out-loud funny. Here’s the blurb:
Hold on to your tea cups – you’re about to fall head over heels for Hester and Harriet, whose quiet and ordered Christmas celebrations are turned upside down with the arrival of their runaway teenage nephew and a young refugee woman and her baby.
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 a waif-like young girl, hiding with her baby in a disused bus shelter. Seizing upon the perfect excuse for returning to their own warm hearth, Hester and Harriet insist on bringing Daria and Milo home with them. But with the knock at their front door the next day by a sinister stranger looking for a girl with a baby, followed quickly by their cousins’ churlish fifteen-year-old son, Ben, who also appears to be seeking sanctuary, Hester and Harriet’s carefully crafted peace and quiet quickly begins to fall apart.
With dark goings-on in the village, unlooked-for talents in Ben, and the deeper mysteries in Daria’s story, Hester and Harriet find their lives turned upside down. And, perhaps, it’s exactly what they need.
Finbar: ‘Dear lady, you should have sent me word you were coming. I was simply answering a call of nature and returned to find what appeared to be an intruder. Another intruder,’ he added bitterly.Harriet: ‘Goodness. Are you a policeman?’ says Harriet, knowing the answer.Ben: ‘That’s the thing. She don’t know.’Hester: ‘Christmas night?’ says Hester. ‘Donating things to Oxfam on Christmas night? How extraordinary.’Daria: ‘My bag is stole at railway station … big boy, rough … I run after, but I am …’ She gestures to her stomach. ‘He get away.’