Saturday, April 14, 2012


Author: Helen Simonson
Genre: Fiction, Standalone
Published: 2010
Personal Rating: 3/5 (just okay)
Format: Book/Audiobook
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.


  1. I gave this to my sister for Christmas a few years ago but I don't think she's read it. The slow plot would probably bug me.

    1. Bermudaonion ~ I think many have and would disagree with me. But, that's how I experienced the book.

  2. I gave this one to my stepmom for Christmas and she said that she liked it (with a smile and nod that said "it was nice"). I haven't read it--haven't really had much of a desire to. Yours isn't the first lukewarm review I've read but most do seem to really like it.

    1. Trish ~ I can see and feel your stepmom's reaction to this book because I'm right there with her. Glad I'm not alone. It seems to be a highly regarded book.

  3. I wound up enjoying this a bit more than you. I tried to read the printed version, but switched over to the audio (which was quite enjoyable). Slow to start, but overall a charming read. My mom loved it, as I mentioned in my review.

    1. Les ~ I agree, the audio was enjoyable, but still a little too dull for me. :(


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