Saturday, June 21, 2014

407 (2014 #35). Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

by Helen Simonson

British military widower meets Pakistani shopkeeper widow and romance blooms, despite their meddling relatives and small-town neighbors.  That's the gist of this story, a lovely and funny tale set in an unspecified, more-or-less modern time that's a great easy summer read.

What caught my eye with this book (which I bought at a used book sale) was the cover.  It's actually the cover art from the March 27, 1924 issue of Life magazine - the April Fool issue, rather fitting for both the story and artwork where what appears to be a man and woman embracing are actually coats and hats on a clothes tree.  You can't make out the signature in this image, but the artwork is by J. Grenard.

This was the first novel for Helen Simonson, who was born and brought up in England, but has lived the past two decades in the USA.  The novel is probably a rather nostalgic view of England, but it works in context.  The author also portrays the effects of change, both on the 68-year-old Major, who is rather set in his ways, and the English village he lives in.  It's also a very humorous book, especially the scenes set in the British golf club with all its snobbery and pettiness.

This book made me laugh and smile and think.

© Amanda Pape - 2014

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