Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
Random House • $15 • Paperback published in November 2010 (hardcover published in March 2010)

This week's Monday Contest is all about book clubs, so I thought it only appropriate to highlight an excerpt from a novel that will surely become a popular reading group pick in 2011.

When Linda White reviewed Major Pettigrew's Last Stand (in hardcover) back in February 2010, she praised its success in exploring "the rift not only between generations, but between cultures." (She also wrote that you'll laugh, you'll cry and you'll feel like you're on vacation in the English countryside. What more can you ask of book than that?!)

Now, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand is out in paperback, and you can find a Reader's Guide on the Random House website. I have been dying to read the novel ever since BEA, when a couple of BookPage elves (with sticky fingers) snagged me a signed copy.

Here's an excerpt from this romantic comedy of manners that will leave Austen fans delighted—and eager to learn when debut novelist Helen Simonson is releasing book two:

"It's Jasmina now, is it?" said Roger as the Major poured tea and handed round the cups. "I can't believe my own father has a lady friend—at his age." He shook his head as if this were the final nail in the coffin of his shattered life.

"I refuse to be referred to by a term so oily with double entendre," said Jasmina as she hung her coat on one of the pegs by the back door and came to sit at the table. She was very composed as she smiled at Roger, though the Major noted a slight compression of the jaw and chin. "I prefer 'lover,'" she said.

What are you reading today? Will you read Major Pettigrew's Last Stand?

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