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!