My enjoyment rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
Book Source: Public Library
Alas, I was out of town for our July book club meeting. My daughter was at her grandparents for an extended period, and I needed to pick her up. I was sorry to miss this discussion, because I was very eager to see what others thought – because this wasn’t an enjoyable read for me – unlike so many others.
This book was the perfect example of why I rate my books according to my “enjoyment” level. I am not a critic – I read for enjoyment, and my ratings reflect those feelings. As I read this book, I could see where it would be “critically” excellent. Ms. Simonson creates, what I would expect, the perfect English village: Quaint cottages, local shops, hunting on the weekends, lodges, gardens and LOTS of tea. Major Pettigrew reflects the textbook Englishman: impeccable manners, a dry wit, tweeds and guns. She weaves a story around family, prejudice, honor and love with great skill. Her attention to detail was flawless. Even the minutia of refreshing oneself, was not left unnoticed, “By the time Mrs. Ali came back, her hairline damp from where she has splashed her face with water…” Even with all of the necessary elements there to craft a successful novel (and considering ALL of the reviews I’ve read, it is successful) – I found it dreadfully boring.
If this hadn’t been a book club choice, I would have implemented the 50 page rule and abandoned it. All of the elements that I mentioned above just didn’t work for me. I read it at a snail’s pace – pages turned as if they were stuck in mud. I didn’t particularly care for any of the characters. Even the love interest between Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali didn’t elicit any chemistry for me. And the side characters were equally flat. I must say, the last 50 pages were the most successful, and salvaged the book a bit for me, but even then, the ending of the book was, well…odd.
So, once again I am in the vast minority of those who haven’t gushed about this book.
I was very disappointed. I was expecting to LOVE It.
Oh well…on to read another day.
Our August book selection is: Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
For more about Major Pettigrew from the author -- please check out the related video:
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