MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND by Helen Simonson (© 2010 by Helen Simonson, published by Random House) (A Book Review)

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand was recommended to me by a dear friend as we sat waiting in a jury room to see if we would be seated later that day on a jury trial.  After her brief description of the story line, I couldn’t wait to put it on hold at my library.  Finally, I received the notice that I could pick the book up.

The moment I read the first page I was drawn into the character of Major Ernest Pettigrew, who has developed disdain for today’s mode of dress, the improper brewing of a cup of tea, and language.  Further to his list of dislikes are the “proper” things of life that are fading away:  decorum, honor, duty. 

The Major is an immediately lovable character, and the reader begins to champion his ups and mostly his downs.  Early on a loss devastates the Major and an unlikely neighbor comes to his aid. 

Not long after this encounter, the Major and his neighbor, Mrs. Jasmina Ali, a Pakistani shopkeeper in the village of Edgecombe St. Mary where the Major resides, develop a friendship which is frowned upon by many in the village as well as in their families.  Risks must be taken in one’s life sometimes, but the question remains can those risks be survived. 

Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali solve this ever-present mystery of life for the reader with the help of author Helen Simonson’s lyrical and loving writing style.  A debut novel, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, will likely be on bookshelves for decades to come.  Can you tell I really enjoyed this read?

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