Lead Review

  • Book: Hester and Harriet
  • Location: Basingstoke
  • Author: Hilary Spiers



A beautifully crafted debut novel by Hilary Spiers. Hester and Harriet, mid 60s, live a cosy and contented life in Hampshire. They have a few relatives dotted around and as they are heading out one Christmas on a visit to relatives, they spy a young woman with a baby and being the good hearted samaritans they are, they duly stop and take her in. But some rather dodgy types seem to be looking for her. Compound their plight with the arrival of their teenage nephew (and under their management he blossoms) with Finbar, the eccentric and highly educated tramp (he might be rather upset that I am calling him thus) – they are doling out food and care to all and sundry. Well written and well observed, this is novel that is consummately British in feel, with a thoughtful dimension of the plight of the refugee.

The locale is again very British, and although deemed to be set around the Basingstoke area, there is nothing that defines the county per se. So in terms of TripFiction this is not a strong contender when it comes to specific location.

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Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021