This book was on a few book club reading lists and showed up on some recommendation lists; unfortunately it was not put out there because it is good and worthy of discussion. It was put out there because it appeals to little old ladies who attend book clubs.
This is a love story for old people; it attempts to point out that people can change their circumstances no matter how engrained and that love is always possible.
Major Pettigrew is a stodgy old man with the same racist stereotypes and expectations as everyone else in his little village. Until the day he finds out his younger brother has died and he discovers that the Pakistani shop keeper is actually a person (and a woman, even). As his friendship with Mrs. Ali grows, he starts to recognize the racism around him.
There were some cute moments: "he realized he had inspired a sense of trust and indebtedness that would make it entirely impossible for an honorable man to attempt to kiss her anytime soon. He cursed himself for a fool." and "'So he dreams himself the life he cannot have?' 'Exactly. But we, who can do anything, we refuse to live our dreams on the basis that they are not practical. So tell me, who is to be pitied more?'"
Overall it was cute, but nothing very interesting or important.