Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

The first thing I just noticed as I searched for the cover, is that it has been changed from the prepub cover (which is the version I read) and thank goodness.  This is coming out in March, so you may have to wait a bit to read it, but please don’t forget about it because this was a charming novel.

First, a word about one of my book prejudices.  I tend to not care so much for romances between older people. I know, I’m ageist.  That said, I thought this was an absolutely lovely novel, with a quiet wit, and the romantic feelings between Major Pettigrew, a widower, and Mrs. Ali, a widow, seem so authentic.  The feelings have for their dead spouses are addressed and it is extremely sweet to see them finding a way to have love in their later years. (Which, by the way, they are really not so elderly at all. I think they are in their 60s.)

There is a lot going on in this story: Major Pettigrew’s growing feelings for Mrs. Ali, an English born Pakistani shopkeer; the subtle prejudices of the village towards her; the Major’s devotion to protocol, manners, and tradition; the local gentry’s plans for the village; Mrs. Ali’s late husband’s family’s meddling and cultural conflicts; the Major’s dreadful city slicker, crass son; and at the crux of many of these things…a pair of antique family heirloom hunting guns that the Major is determined stay together.

How does it all come together? Very nicely, with a bit of action, a bit of romance, a bit of dry British humor. I really enjoyed this and recommend it whole heartedly!


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