I don’t often review books on this blog, and certainly not on anything like the scale of DoveGreyReader who as a result of her industrious and illuminating reviews is on the receiving end of all kinds of publishers’ freebies, but as a result of a couple of posts last year, I seem to have come to the attention of Bloomsbury Books who have sent me a proof copy of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand (email quick and you might get one too).
This had me a bit confused at first. The cover describes the book as a ‘timeless treasure’, which led me to think that the Major might be part of the Bloomsbury Group series of reprints and even related to Miss Pettigrew (although she is actually publsihed by Persephone Books a case of my mistaking one reprint series for another).
In fact, this is a completely new and contemporary novel, with a jaunty pace (as far as I have read) and bunch of characters who should be stereotypes but somehow are not. Another surprise is that the author , Helen Simonson, has lived for many years in the US, but has clearly lost none of her affection for her roots nor her understanding of UK mores. So far this is a light-hearted story that might start to reveal hidden depths and I look forward to the rest, even if I’m still a bit perplexed by the marketing. Okay, this might not have the depth of Old Filth but does anything that deals with the older generation have to be given such a whimsical veneer?
Not that I should complain about the promo, since Bloomsbury included in my parcel some tea and shortbread biscuits that sustained this week’s inaugural meeting of our book group. It just so happens that in this we are also mimicking DGR (with whom our group’s leader has a slight familial connection). Our plan is not to all read the same book but to choose our own reading based on a theme. First theme up is ‘first novels’ and so unless the Major lets me down, he could be up for early stardom.