Major Ernest Pettigrew is a decent sort, 68, retired military, widowed, and coping with the death of his younger brother, Bertie. He is a respected fixture in a rural community, member of the local golf course club, romantic target for one of the local ladies, and defender of traditional values. He is disappointed with his son, who has made a religion of career ambition, and considers the provincial notions of his neighbors less than cricket. But everything changes when he encounters Mrs. Ali, a widowed Pakistani shop-keeper. Despite their different backgrounds, Pettigrew and Ali find that they have much in common. As Simonson takes us through the will-they-or-won’t-they she also offers a look at contemporary rural England, with old values and new engaging in public and private. With characters that have depth and heart, it is easy to care, and thus to become involved, and ultimately, to enjoy. Hopefully Pettigrew’s last stand will not also be Ms. Simonson’s.