MAJOR PETTIGREW'S LAST STAND by Helen Simonson
This is the story of Major Pettigrew, a retired major who's living a quiet existence in the village of Edgecomb St. Mary when he gets news of his brother's death. The loss of his brother brings two things: sorrow, and the hope that his father's guns will finally be reunited. On his father's death bed he separated his pair of antique hunting rifles between the two brothers, with the condition that they be reunited upon one or the others death. Major Pettigrew is determined to see his father's wish through, despite his sister in law and her family, as well as his own son's desire to sell the pair and reap the rewards. The death of his brother has yet another curious effect on the Major's life, it sparks a new friendship with Mrs. Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper in the village. Each of these new developments bring their own challenges and force him to question his own beliefs and morals.
I could go on and on about how much I loved this book. First of all, the main character, Major Pettigrew is the perfect, lovable old English gentleman. He has a rigid code of honour and good manners while remaining warm and tenderhearted. Not to mention the blossoming relationship between the major and Mrs. Ali will warm your heart. It remains throughout a lovable romp, a book I never wanted to end.
It's a wonderful story, filled with warm and social complexity with a cast of characters that make you never want it to end. If you're looking for a truly lovely read, you've found it.