Saturday, March 10, 2012

Review: Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Author: Helen Simonson
Published: March 2, 2010
Genre: contemporary fiction
Paperback: 368 pages
Source: purchased from Borders

My Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): 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 respective 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 her as the permanent foreigner. Can their relationship survive the risks one takes when pursuing happiness in the face of culture and tradition?

My Thoughts: After MONTHS of sitting and waiting in my TBR pile, I finally picked up Major Pettigrew. Let me say, I feel badly that this book had to sit and wait. It was such a charming story that I wish I had made time for it sooner in my reading. Following Major Pettigrew, a retired Army major who resides in a small country village in England, Helen Simonson tells the story of love. Not over the top, roses and poems and passionate sex love, but two people who enjoy one another's company, who realize how difficult it is to live without the other person with them. It's a simple story, but because of the cultural differences (Mrs. Ali is from a Muslim family), there is a bit of tension.

The best thing about this novel was the writing. Simonson manages to express emotions perfectly without being weighed down by descriptions or flowery language. The way that she describes characters was entertaining, and there were quite a few of them in this novel. But with her writing, each character was so distinct that I never felt overwhelmed and each had their own, unique personality. Was it the best novel I've ever read? No. But it was charming and left me smiling throughout the reading. I hope that Simonson continues to write in the future because I would love to see what else she comes up with in the future.

1 comment:

  1. I adored this novel, and I say the reading world would be better if we had more of these well-written, charming, and gently nudging (in terms of social reform) novels!