Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand may very well be the most romantic, in the best and purest sense of the word, book that you’ve read in years. This novel will take you by surprise; it will steal your heart. Unless of course you have a heart of stone like a woman I know, I won’t say her name but it rhymes with Liz Sullivan.
Brace yourself because you are going to fall a little bit in love with retired Major Ernest Pettigrew. [Says you.] I know, you never thought you could feel this way about an older man, especially one named Ernest. Call him Ernie if it helps because honey I am telling you it's done, you’re going to love him. [Nope. Not capable.] He is completely old school, he is very opinionated, and he is beyond modest in his lifestyle. He is the quintessential proper Englishman. [Like Christian Bale? Hmmm....] Pettigrew lives a quiet life in a picturesque village located in the English countryside, recently widowed and with a son who seems to have little time for his aging father. Pettigrew spends most of his time alone until the day when he meets a beautiful Pakistani shopkeeper from their village named Jasmina (also a widow). Both, still nursing the loss of a spouse, find that their love of literature and all things proper gives them comfort and unexpectedly puts them on a course of friendship and love.
Helen Simonson’s writing is flawless, and, while not stealing from classics, it certainly has the feel of being written long ago. I highly recommend Pettigrew for your book group or a romantic getaway…just you, a young masseuse, a barrel of wine, and Major Pettigrew. [Like Liz and Clive Owen. Mmmm....Clivey Poo....]