Last time I wrote about Helen Simonson’s novel, The Summer Before the War, in glowing terms. Now I also highly recommend her debut work, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. 

The story of the unlikely relationship between a retired British officer and an Indian shopkeeper in a small village is heart-warming and insightful, filled with well-developed characters who come to life and continue to grow as the pages turn.

The Major, a widower with a poor relationship with his only son, finds life takes even more of a downturn with the death of his younger brother. When Mrs. Ali, the independent, headstrong, owner of the local grocery store, innocently begins to spend time with the Major, tongues wag and sparks fly until the Major must indeed take a stand.

Elegantly written with a sharp sense of humor, this book is a perfect holiday–or anytime–treat.