Lisa writes: December is book month whether buying gifts for others or just looking for something to curl up with over the holidays. So in the spirit of the season, here are a few titles that we want to share, ones we put in the category of “best books.” Some are new, some are not. There is fiction and fact and the only common ground is that we loved them all.
I love small stories writ large, tiny worlds carefully constructed by truly gifted writers in which, as the reader, I can transplant myself. Helen Simonson’s first outing gives us such a world and that rarity of rarities, a true midlife love story. Major Pettigrew is stuffy old Britain, a man who finds it easier to show his love for his treasured Churchill rifles than his son. Mrs Ali is the new Britain, worldly, industrious and passionate in her love of family. These two characters, the embodiment of two eras, bring out the very best in each other. Simonson’s sense of humor emerges in a very funny undercurrent as we see her American characters through very British eyes. As an American who long lived in England, I did not know whether to blush or apologize. This is a book without artifice. If you are tired of reading books of contrived youthful passion and instead want a tale of real adult love, Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali will not let you down.