Major Pettigrew's Last Stand: In This Case, "Charming" Is a Compliment

Major Pettigrew is the quintessential Englishman, living in the quintessential small English village, Edgecombe St. Mary. Despite its occasional small-mindedness and incestuousness, Major Pettigrew takes pride in his home, and in living in the regimented way to which he is accustomed.

And yet, a sudden death in the family catapults the crusty Major Pettigrew out of his comfort zone, and into the world of Mrs. Ali, a recently widowed Pakistani shopkeeper, who shares his love of reading. The two lovebirds quickly encounter difficulty, however, when faced with the real world, one that would rather see them safely confined in their respective social boxes.

I was thoroughly charmed by this tale. It's romantic, but Pettigrew is delightfully sardonic and the characters are so finely drawn. Each scene in the book is similarly drawn with care, and resonates beautifully:
The town spread down the folded valley, opening out along the coastal plain....In the sky, a rent in the fog let down pale shaft of sunlight to gleam on the water. It was as beautiful and absurd as an illustrated Victorian hymnal...the Major felt that the afternoon was somehow already a success.
Simonson has writing in her bones; it's easy to see from page one. This is a love story for adults, one acutely aware that the warm front of passion inevitably must meet and mingle with the cold front of quotidian responsibility and expectation.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand/ Helen Simonson / Random House / Paperback, 2010

**This post is part of a TLC Book Tour. Thanks to Trish for setting this up!

6 comments:

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

This sounds like a romance for the real world, one that includes the blush of first love and the stark reality of life. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for being on the tour.

Hubert O'Hearn said...

I really loved this one. A perfect book to bring out the 'warm and fuzzies.' I did an interview with Helen Simonson found here: http://bythebookreviews.blogspot.com/2010/04/interview-helen-simonson.html

Errant Knave said...

Charming, romantic, and sardonic. I like these attributes. I love the cover as well. I need to get back to reading, and this might be the book that does it. A love story for adults. Why not?
Nice review :)

Audra said...

I looooved this book -- the late-in-life romance with the real look at identity and cultural and what makes a person a part of community -- so good!

Cozy in Texas said...

What a great review. Thanks.
Ann

Jaclyn said...

Oh my gosh, I love, love, LOVE this book! I read it early this year, I think, and I couldn't stop gushing about it to friends and co-workers! I agree with you that Simonson "has writing in her bones"; she just writes beautifully.

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