Monday, July 11, 2011

June Book Club Selection


Hailed as one of the best books of 2010 by The New York TimesThe Washington Post and O: The Oprah MagazineMajor Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson received a big thumbs up from Hattie's third Thursday book club as well.

As with everything we read, there were various degrees of enthusiasm, but I'd have to say that this novel, set in the present day English countryside, was universally enjoyed. I absolutely loved it.

I loved the humorous mix of characters and the story of an unexpected friendship that turns into something more.

First, the story -- Simonson tells a wonderful love story that begins quietly on the first page and continues through to the end. The expected ups and downs of this particular love story focus on cultural and class differences of the pair. Major Pettigrew, born in Lahore (now part of Pakistan) is British. Mrs. Ali, born in England is of Pakistani descent. Both have lost their spouses, both love literature and both love "a properly brewed cup of  tea". Pettrigew is a retired army major, Mrs. Ali is a shopkeeper, soon to be "forcibly" retired by relatives. Many relatives, friends and societal norms complicate matters as their relationship develops.

The characters range from witty, charming and graceful to self-absorbed, stubborn and vain. The central characters, Mrs. Ali and Major Pettigrew are both very likeable, Mrs. Ali for her intelligence and kindness; Major Pettigew for his basic decency and his sense of humor. His barbed musings on his life in Edgecomb St. Mary's are very funny, but his musings about his insufferable son Roger are the best. Although many of the characters border on caricature, I found they mostly lent humor and sweetness to the story. 


  1. Where can I find a schedule of upcoming book club selections and dates? Would love to join you all :)

  2. Two of the upcoming books are listed on the Events Tab. This month, on July 19th, we will be discussing "The Girl Who Fell From the Sky" by Heidi Durrow.

  3. This is a sweet love story with lots of family complications to engage the reader.