Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson is excellent - I really enjoyed it. I shall have to take back what I said about very little excitement and it being a novel of character. There are some very exciting scenes towards the end of the book. It is a touching and unusual love story but also a novel of village life in the 21st century. The Golf Club holds a dance, the local landowner searches for ways to keep his estate viable financially, the villagers protest against a possible expansion of the village, and families from different cultural backgrounds try to fit in but also bring something new to village life.
Prejudices and stereotypes are much in evidence and many of the characters have lessons to learn about integrity and honesty and the way difficulties can bring out the best in the most unlikely people. The Major himself could have been in danger of being a bland character but he is far from that. He is quiet and self effacing and shuns the limelight but he has his standards and an unshakable integrity. But he also has a nice line in answers for those who try and push him around. His relationship with Mrs Ali - the widow who runs the village shop with her nephew - is well and sensitively drawn. Mrs Ali herself in an interesting and complex character.
The ending is surprising but satisfying. I recommend it to anyone who thinks a novel about village life is bound to be dull and boring.