The Australian Women's Weekly

Love, Lies & Linguine

- by Hilary Spiers, Allen & Unwin.

Don’t assume by sister Hester and Harriet’s names, nor by Spiers’ holiday escape from cottage England to romantic Italy, that this sequel is cosy reading. Think Heston Blumenthal with a blowtorch. You only have to depart Gatwick, leaving the widowed siblings’ adopted family behind, for some hightailin­g on “the Amaretto coast”.

Spiers is an unflagging storytelle­r, and her hostesses are the most TV-begging characters ever. Hester moans, “You’ve brought me to a holiday camp,” when she spies the hotel’s activities, but bonds with available grey nomad Lionel, on a cooking course – “we both love going-off-recipe”. Retired teacher Harriet, meanwhile, hangs in the bar with the bridge set, and tries a painting course, where she becomes confidante of a woman in an affair. “Is he married?” enquires Hettie. “Yes, she is,” replies her new pal. Back in Blighty, Ben has been hoodwinked into having a party at his aunts’ cottage.

”I’ve sent a closed invite on Facebook,” assures mate

Jez. That’s the love and lies. Just the linguine then.

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