Doting grandmother and grey nomad who should join Volunteers Anonymous and is greatly in favour of a ten day week. So much to do, so little time.
Published October 12th 2012
Life in a couple of old dogs yet
If the Grey trilogy has left you cold rather than hot, and you long for the stories where the word "man" is preceded by "gentle" rather than "he" or even "cave", a gentlewoman's prayers have been answered. Your appreciation of great character development in a warm and humorous tale will be titillated rather than your g-spot. However, your longing for a great love story against all odds will be satisfied. Within this first novel by Helen Simonson there is the affirmation of an adage that many Seniors know to be true – there can be life in an old dog yet.
Major Ernest Pettigrew leads a well-ordered life befitting his military background. As he goes about his weekly routine, his reveries are often interrupted by memories of Nancy, his late wife. Enough said that they met in the England of the Swinging Sixties. A regular round of golf at the local club is no substitute for the loving life they once shared, and their upwardly mobile and thoroughly detestable only son, Roger, could never fill that void.
It is difficult to believe that a book which examines so many modern social problems could be so amusing. Much of this humour is expressed though Major Pettigrew's dry wit, and he meets his match in this department when he becomes involved with Mrs Ali, the local shopkeeper. Yes, she is a Pakistani, and in a conservative village such as Edgecombe St Mary, never the twain should have met.
Other social topics include an unmarried mother (again of Pakistani origin), development plans set to disrupt the quiet village, greenies who set out to disrupt these plans, hard up gentry trying to boost their fortunes, the so-called sport of duck shooting, the greed which often surfaces after a will has been read, and the difficulties other cultures experience while attempting to assimilate in a very different country. Edgecombe St Mary is a microcosm of today's world. The reader will regard its eccentrics as close neighbours by the end of the story.
This was not only a book the reviewer could not put down, but one she wished wouldn't end. It spoiled her for at least a fortnight before she could begin another, and that is saying something for a voracious bookworm.
By the way, it was the reviewer's husband who thoroughly recommended this book to her. He is not yet in a position (no pun intended) to compare it with the aforementioned Grey trilogy.