Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Review of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
Author: Helen Simonson
Published by: Random House
From Goodreads: Major Ernest Pettigrew, retired, of Edgecombe St. Mary, England, is more than a little dismayed by the sloppy manners, narcissism, and materialism of modern society. The decline of gentility is evident everywhere, from tea bags, to designer sweaters, to racism masquerading as tolerance. Mutual grief allies him with Mrs. Ali, a widowed local shopkeeper of Pakistani descent who has also resigned herself to dignified, if solitary, last years. The carefully suppressed passion between these two spawns twitters of disapproval in their provincial village, but Pettigrew hasn't time for such silliness: real estate developers are plotting to carpet the fields outside his back door with mansionettes and his sister-in-law plans to auction off a prized family firearm. Meanwhile, Mrs. Ali's late husband's Muslim family expects her to hand over her hard-won business to her sullen, fundamentalist nephew, a notion she finds repellant and chauvinistic.
Just to warn everyone this is an Adult Fiction novel, not a YA novel like I usually review. That being said, I think anyone would enjoy this novel, but it is set for an older audience.
I absolutely adored Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. It was a charming read that left you light-hearted and happy.
Simonson had such deep characterization. You grew to really know and understand the Major. He is proper and abides by a strict moral code. He's opinionated and thinks the simple way of living is the best. He's a regular guy who tries to do what is right instead of taking the popular choice. He's kind of old school and yet he falls for not a proper English widow...instead a Pakistani shopkeeper.
This is definitely a forbidden romance on both sides, at least that's what their family members and the town think. You will grow to love the Major and Mrs. Ali by the time you set this book down. You will strive to be like them in hopes that you have the honor and integrity they have.
Simonson is an amazing writer with a flowing, lyrical style. You will get lost in the scenic countryside of England and swept away with the vivid descriptions.
This is definitely a book worth reading. I give it ★★★★ and 1/2