Author: Helen Simonson
Genre: Fiction, Standalone
Personal Rating: 3/5 (just okay)
Yearly Count: 32
From the ARC Cover:
You are about to travel to Edgecombe St. Mary, a small village in the English countryside filled with rolling hills, thatched cottages, and a cast of characters both hilariously original and as familiar as the members of your own family. Among them is Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson's wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, Major Pettigrew is one of the most indelible characters in contemporary fiction, and from the very first page of this remarkable novel he will steal your heart.
The Major leads a quiet life valuing the proper things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea. But then his brother's death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But village society insists on embracing him as the quintessential local and regarding her as the permanent foreigner. Can their relationship survive the risks one takes when pursuing happiness in the face of culture and tradition?
I can see how others would and do enjoy this English love story, but unfortunately, the Major did not steal my heart. I will concede that he was charming, but the plot was s-l-o-w and frankly, not all that interesting. I wouldn't consider it boring, but I didn't find it endearing or compelling at all. The audiobook enabled me to finish it; otherwise, I may have set it aside like I did the first time I tried reading it. I did love the narrator in the audio version. He added an ambiance that I couldn't successfully produce in my mind.
My thanks go to Random House for sending me this ARC.