Summer '11 Reading Group List
“This is the perfect answer for a book group looking for charm, literacy, and humor. The story of Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali and their their families in a middle-class English village will delight readers worn to the bone by the many angst-ridden and torturous family novels of today. Simonson offers a contemporary tale, but with a sensibility and sensitivity to the mores of a generation ago. Wonderful reading!”
— Marian Nielsen, Orinda Books, Orinda, CA
March 2010 Indie Next List
“In a comedy of manners that would make Jane Austen proud, a retired general and a widowed Pakistani women meet and court in an out-of-the-way English village. There is wit here, and cleverness, and a host of clear-eyed, stiff-lipped, curmudgeonly joys. Fans of British humor and storytelling must acquire this wryly funny love story.”
— Mark Bradshaw, Watermark Books, Wichita, KS
In the small village of Edgecombe St. Mary in the English countryside lives Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson's wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, 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 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?