Helen Simonson's Major Pettigrew's Last Stand*** is an oddity in today's publishing trend and that's a GOOD thing. (No vampires, werewolves or angels, and no lost religious relics).
In picturesque Edgecombe St. Mary, a small village in the English countryside, for generations the Pettigrews pride themselves on services to Queen and country, honor, and decorum, as much as they draw comfort from a proper cup of tea. But at 67, Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired) finds he must redefine what it is to be "proper" and where “duty“ lays.
"Wry, courtly, opinionated" and recently widowed, Ernest finds it hard to fill his days attending to his domestic routines and fighting off the unwanted attention of the well-meaning busybodies. The unexpected friendship with a Pakistani shopkeeper in the village both surprises and delights him – and sets tongues wagging.
Major introduces to readers one of the most endearing characters coming out of British fiction for quite some time. Debut novelist Simonson's sharply observant, hilarious at times, charming comedy of manners (a homage to Austen and Trollope) illuminates and entertains. A well-crafted plotline, complete with references to news headlines, societal and cultural realities adds drama and relevance for the contemporary audience yet rendering it timeless by addressing the universal virtues of love, honor and family. New!!!! (Author interview)
If you think 60something guys make uninspiring protagonists, Helen Simonson just proved you wrong. And Anne Tyler too, in her latest Noah’s Compass*** - a wise, gently humorous, and deeply compassionate novel about a schoolteacher, who has been forced to retire at sixty-one, coming to terms with “what is” and reclaiming what he let slip away. The lesson here.... it's never too late.
*** Starred Reviews