Book Club: Love, Lies and Linguine

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Author: Hilary Spiers
ISBN: 978-1-76029-444-1
RRP: $29.99

Love, Lies & Linguine is the second book about widowed sisters Hester and Harriet, I hadn’t done my research before signing up for this as a book club title so wasn’t aware of this going in. I was a little sceptical starting the book because I’m not a fan of starting a series midway through but I found that this one stood up well on its own.


Hester and Harriet are widowed sisters who have moved in together, I was expecting …. I can’t really put into words what I was expecting. Something along the lines of the older English ladies turned amateur detective, that’s not what Love, Lies & Linguine is.

The character list is colourful and diverse which was wonderful to read. Hester and Harriet have quite a group of friends, Daria is a migrant turning heads in the village with her young son Milo and brother Artem; Ben is the teenage nephew who aspires to be a chef and is easily led and Finbar the local homeless man. Each of these characters are fascinating for their depth and their diversity, none more so than Finbar who has many hidden talents that were totally unexpected.

Hester and Harriet have an annual holiday, usually to the same spot but this year they have decided to broaden their horizons and head to Italy. Problem is there are issues between the sisters long before they head off and with tensions rising it affects their holiday enjoyment as both are feeling a little prickly.

Back in the village Daria is celebrating the arrival of the paperwork allowing her to stay in England and Ben is trying to talk his way out of a VERY bad idea hatched by his friend.

The story takes place over the space of a week and a half and is separated into days, then told in alternating chapters following the sisters in Italy and their friends in the village back in England.

It was certainly refreshing to have heroines in a different age bracket to what you often read. These ladies have lived full lives and are settling into a new role of surrogate grandmothers to Milo, mentors to Ben and friends to Daria and Finbar. They still have a great deal of energy and passion for life, and there are second chances for love… but what will that mean for their little cottage and the life they have built together?

Ben is a seventeen year old boy with a crush on one of the girls at school, and she is how he gets roped into making some bad decisions. I think Ben was basically a good kid but, like many seventeen year olds, can be easily led to bad decisions. He knew from the outset and though a large part of him wanted to back out he allowed himself to be drawn into a situation that was destined to end badly, but I don’t think anyone would have thought it would be quite so bad.

The beautiful thing about the book is the way that everyone comes together, not to help Ben get out of trouble but to protect Hester and Harriet.

Love, Lies & Linguine is very much a story of the characters and their relationships more than the events in the book. There is enough information about the events of the first book, Hester & Harriet, to be able to begin here without losing anything. I am interested to see how far the series will progress and what surprises Spiers has in store for the sisters.

Hilary Spiers can be found on her Website.

Love, Lies & Linguine is published by Allen & Unwin and is available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Allen & Unwin 10 of our Beauty and Lace club members will be reading  Love, Lies & Linguine so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

9 thoughts on “Book Club: Love, Lies and Linguine

  1. A thank you to both Allen & Unwin publishers and Beauty & Lace for making available ‘Love, Lies & Linguine’ by Hilary Spiers.

    This is the second book in a series however without reading the first book I found it made no difference to establishing the story line and characters in this book.

    The book is based on the intricate relationship between widowed, elderly sisters, Hester and Harriet who venture from country England to Italy for a long awaited holiday. The characters they meet and mingle with during their stay; the unravelling of trust, betrayal and forgiveness a major theme during their holiday. And left behind in England is a motley crew of loved ones that we are introduced to; 16 year old Ben, their nephew who wants to embark on a Chef career, much to his parents disbelief; Daria and her baby Milo, befriended by the sisters along with her brother Artem, who’s battling to gain English citizenship.

    There are other lesser characters in Natalie who inexplicably becomes a friend to Ben and babysitter to Milo. The story concentrates on loyalty and disappointment after Ben holds a party at his Aunts empty house and chaos reigns. The guardian angels in Nat; Finbar, a homeless friend; Artem and Daria who bandy together to repair the damage before the sisters return.

    A story that is very relatible, showing us the intricacies of relationships, enabling us to get to know each character well. The narratives in the book are based on three characters. You read the opinions, life and perspectives separately of Harriet, Hetty and Ben. This doesn’t distract from the flow in any way but rather gives the reader more of a perspective of each personality. The first few chapters, establishing the story line was a little mundane but as the story develops and the characters’ interactions develop, it was a good read.

    It’s a simple, easy read book, the story getting more complex as the book progresses. There are a few mysteries that eventually unravel that holds your interest in the middle to later chapters.

    For me it isn’t a compelling, can’t put down type of book, but it was a good read.

  2. I found ‘Love, Lies & Linguine’ an easy book to read. I could just pick it up and put it down whenever I wanted and sometimes it’s really handy to have a book like that! It was really enjoyable to read about Hester and Harriet’s relationship and made me think of some people that I know that are just like them – perhaps without all of the secret keeping though. Ben’s character was good and I loved Natalie and hope that there will be another book so that I can find out what happens with them and where their relationship took them. It made me feel good about the world how there were lots of people there to help support the sisters (and Ben too, really) even when they weren’t expecting any sort of praise or re-payment. I haven’t read the first book and had not heard of the series before receiving this book, but now I think I might go and find the first book too and read that.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace for another great book to review >:o)

  3. I really enjoyed reading this funny story it was full of laughs throughout, and a sense of mystery. Love, Lies and Linguine is a wonderful summer read, or any time read. I thinkIt is a charming read, about life, normal people and the extraordinary things that happen to them at times. This book is also confronting things you don’t necessarily want to confront. The story is great, fun, interesting and at times uncomfortable.

    Thank you for the chance to review.

  4. I received this book a couple of days ago, and could not wait to get into reading it… I have literally had it in my hand for hours, and I have to admit I have enjoyed those hours as well.. The story of the two sisters, well, they come and go at being close together and then apart, each not willi g to tell the other what they think, and so the holiday in Italy is not quite what they planned… at home Ben reminded me of many teenagers, but the fact that he could have people around that could help, made it just that much better.. I felt the very last line of the book, brought together everything, and made it just that much better ending… I thoroughly enjoyed, and you too will if you read it. Great author or is it authoress? thanks for the chance to read, and enjoy, and later on in the year, come back again to it….

  5. Well another great book to read and ponder after the event.

    This is a charming story about two sisters on holiday and how they become involved in the people that the meet along the way. At first I was a little concerned that as the second book in the series what I would miss out on or would there key components that I should know about. Happily I was able to pick up this book easily and the story unfolded without any gaps (well none that I know of) into an easy to read book.

    The character development and scene setting was really well done and I found myself easily able to not only form an image of the characters and their personalities (some strangely familiar to some people I know) but also to visualise where they were.

    The things these ladies found out and how information was given was interesting and I found myself laughing quite a few times at what was going on.

    This is a great book which you can pick up and put down as need be. Its not a ‘must read in one sitting’ kind of book but more like a comfy chair that you know you can return to and be enveloped by.

  6. Love, Lies and Linguine is a particularly long booked centred on three main characters – Harriet, Hester and Ben. It is the second book in the series and having not read the first I think it is perfectly fine as a stand alone read. There was a couple of times I felt slightly disadvantaged at the introduction of characters and felt perhaps reading the first book would have shed more light on it, but it didn’t hinder understanding of this book at all.

    I found that the writing style was slightly unusual and probably unlike anything I’ve read before. It often gradually blended from one character to the other which at times was slightly confusing but also made for a well-rounded understanding. The book is set out in days with each day having numerous chapters – for the most part the chapters alternate between Harriet&Hester and Ben. At some points the book seemed slow but at other times I was captivated – particularly when a few twists were thrown in.

    The book was made up of two main story lines happening at the same time – sisters Harriet and Hester on holiday in Italy, and their teenage nephew Ben back in their home town – which then merge together when the sisters return to town. A lot of situations in the book are quite relatable and I often thought of how I would be or how I would react if I was the character.

    Overall it was a good read and I am curious as to what happens next. I liked that by the end of the book most of the loose ends from the story line were tied up and it was actually a very enjoyable ending – I laughed

  7. Thank you Beauty and Lace and Allen and Unwin for the book to read.

    Love, Lies and Linguine is a great light read.

    This is a book where one story branches off and then you cleverly almost have two stories.
    The main story is Hester and Harriet two sisters off on an adventurous holiday. We read about the fun they have and make a few discoveries along the way.
    The second story we follow along is with Ben their nephew where we follow along on his teenage life.
    Both stories are happening at the same time so it glides along side really well.

    The whole time I was reading the book I felt that there was something about Hester and Harriet that I was meant to know but didn’t. Some things just didn’t explain themselves to me. I don’t know if I had read the first book where Hester and Harriet begin their story I would have understood more. Maybe I”ll have to find it and read it.

    The story had me laughing and smiling, cringing and thinking ‘oh no’.
    This is a story that will let you feel along with the characters.
    Friendships, relationships, family and friends who knows where it is all going and where it will all end.

    A book that took me a short while to get involved in but once there I found it a fun ride to be on.

  8. An easy summer/holiday read. I don’t really know what to make of this book. By the time I got over three-quarters of the way through I realised that nothing had actually happened. I didn’t find the characters endearing, and I wasn’t rushing back each day to see the story develop, but it wasn’t boring either.

  9. Thanks again Beauty and Lace for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

    This book has it all, Love, Trust, Betrayal and Forgiveness. It has charm and is very witty at times.

    The novel is based primarily on two characters Hester and Harriet who at this stage in their lives are still discovering things about their lives they still did not know about.

    I love how the book is written with young themes in mind and the language at times.

    Its refreshing to read a book that also takes you through on a holiday as you read it.

    Congratulations Hilary Spiers on yet another successful novel.

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