Thanks to Trish over at TLC Book Tours, I was invited to do a book tour for Helen Simonson's Major Pettigrew's Last Stand.
Folks. I liked this book. The storyline centers on a retired major, living a quiet existence in his quaint cottage in rural England. He becomes friends, and then more, with the village shop keeper Mrs. Ali. He's upper crust English. She's a dignified, well read Pakistani widow. People frown. They fall in love anyway. You get the idea.
While it's a modern setting, you still get a very Jane Austen'ish feeling when reading this book. Adorable cottage? Gardens with herbs? Slow country life? Refined characters who drink tea? Romance? Sign me up. It has everything you'd want from an English countryside romance.
I did notice that the characters seem, at times, over the top. Obviously Englishmen aren't all up-tight Pakistani hating snoots. And of course all Americans don't hop across the pond and make great big buffoons out of themselves at rural country clubs. But it sure is a heck of a lot of fun to read about. That's what writers get to do. It's called creative license.
For instance, my neighbors might have this conversation:
"Linda, did you have a chance to clean up after the dogs? It smells like poop in the backyard."
"No Wilbur, I didn't have time to do that."
But this is how I would write it:
"Hey Linda, did you forget to rake all the dog poop out of the backyard? I durn near buried my foot in Rover's crap piles."
"Well sorryyyyy Wilbur, but I just got done cleaning your tobaccy stains off the couch and didn't have time to deal with your huntin' dog's backyard feces."
See what I mean? Creative licence. Try it sometime. It can make a gray, boring afternoon suddenly colorful and worth living. But, I digress.
So kudos to Helen Simonson. It's a delightful book. The English village is enticing, the characters are full and colorful, and Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali are adorable. I highly recommend this book.