Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand: Mini-Review

From the back of the book: In the small village of Edgecombe St. Mary in the English countrside lives Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson's wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, the Major leads a quiet life valuing the proper things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea. But, then his brother's death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But, village society insists on embracing him as the quintessential local and regarding her as the permanent foreigner. Can their relationship survive the risks one takes when pursuing happiness in the face of culture and tradition?

Helen Simonson's debut novel is about much more than just the love story between a widower and a widow. When Major Pettigrew's brother dies, he begins a journey of discovery about himself. He fears that his son and the younger generation are waiting impatiently to elbow him aside. But he discovers that he's not an old dog past his best days--witness his romance with Mrs. Ali and his ability to rescue a man bent on suicide. But he also discovers that he has harbored bitterness since his father's death--over a set of matched shooting rifles--and that his life will improve if can just let that bitterness go. He discovers that he has courage beyond that required of him when he was in the service--the courage to face his neighbors and his family to claim happiness in his twilight years.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand is a compelling story that reminds us that it's never too late for love nor is it ever too late to learn and change and grow as a person. ★★ and a half.
 

1 comment:

fredamans said...

Sounds like a great story of rediscovering ones' self. :-)
Great review!