Major Pettigrew is a 68 year-old widower living in a small village in England who just lost his younger brother to an unexpected demise, making him take stock in his life. He is a proper, distinguished man who is set in his ways, loves his routine golf game, and is just a tad bit lonely. He finds himself attracted to the 58 year-old widow Mrs. Ali, a Pakistani woman who runs the local shop. In the past, he may have restrained from a relationship not deemed "proper" by the townsfolk because of Mrs. Ali's social status and the color of her skin, but the Major is beginning to see the merit of seizing the day.
The trouble is that the Major is surrounded by the prejudiced, judgemental, greedy, self-absorbed, materialistic members of his community. Ones that whisper behind his back about his relationship with Mrs. Ali. Ones that thrive on waving around the prestige of a country club membership, or an annual gala. His family isn't any better. His adult son is a spoiled, immature brat, and his brother's widow just wants to get her hands on the family guns to sell to the highest bidder. Throughout the story, one has to wonder when the mild-mannered Major is going to blow.
It is refreshing to read a story about finding love in the golden years of life, all the while gently nudging the conscience about issues of religion, class and race and the hypocrisy in a small town. The message could have come across as preachy, but instead was subtle and sweet, with a dose of endearing British wit. As a result, just about every review I've read has showered love and kisses on the book.
My experience was not so grand. For some reason, while I recognized the dearness of the story, I wanted to cry from boredom. The narrator, Peter Altschuler, had a wonderful voice with a lilting British accent. So it really wasn't his problem. Perhaps there wasn't enough action, maybe too much dialogue, or I was distracted, but I was PRAYING for it all to end. Would it translate better in print? Maybe, although Jen loved the audio. Chalk it up to misaligned moons I suppose.
2.5 out of 5 stars