Major Pettigrew?s Last Stand Paperback – Large Print, Dec 1 2010
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“[A] beautiful little love story, which is told with skill and humor.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Funny, barbed, delightfully winsome storytelling . . . As with the polished work of Alexander McCall Smith, there is never a dull moment. . . . It’s all about intelligence, heart, dignity and backbone. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand has them all.”—The New York Times
“Delightful . . . Lots of books try to evoke Jane Austen . . . but Simonson nails the genteel British comedy of manners with elegant aplomb.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“Thoroughly charming . . . With her crisp wit and gentle insight, Simonson . . . knows just what delicious disruption romance can introduce to a well-settled life.”—The Washington Post
“There’s more than a bit of Romeo and Juliet here . . . Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali are worthy of our respect, and it is a great pleasure to spend time with them.”—Los Angeles Times
“Marvelous . . . graceful, funny, perceptive, and satisfying.”—The Boston Globe
“A comforting and intelligent debut, a modern-day story of love that takes everyone—grown children, villagers, and the main participants—by surprise, as real love stories tend to do.”—Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Olive Kitteridge
“[Helen] Simonson invests her grown-up love story with . . . warmth and charm.”—USA Today
“A wise comedy . . . about the unexpected miracle of later-life love . . . The beauty of this engaging book is in the characters.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“With courting curmudgeons, wayward sons, religion, race, and real estate in a petty and picturesque English village, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand is surprisingly, wonderfully romantic and fresh . . . the best first novel I’ve read in a long, long time.”—Cathleen Schine, author of The Love Letter
“Endlessly entertaining.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Playful yet affecting . . . If you miss the Jeeves novels of P. G. Wodehouse—and don’t mind having your emotional buttons pushed—Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand is the book for you.”—Buffalo News
“Irresistibly delightful.”—Library Journal (starred review) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Helen Simonson was born in England and spent her teenage years in a small village in East Sussex. A graduate of the London School of Economics and former travel advertising executive, she has lived in America for the last two decades. A longtime resident of Brooklyn, she now lives with her husband and two sons in the Washington, D.C., area. This is her first novel.
From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Major Ernest Pettigrew, a widower at age 68 with one grown son, lives in the quintessential country English village, set on the sea, south of London. He has lived there since leaving the British Army, raising his son with his late wife, Nancy, and enjoying his life as a retired military man. He golfs and engages in other local activities and interacts with his fellow, English, villagers. He's lonely and without the resources to know exactly why or what he should do to help ease the loneliness. He falls into first friendship, later love, with a local widow of Pakistani origin. Actually, Mrs Ali was born in Cambridge but is part of a large English/Pakistani family which stretches from London to Lahore. Their "friendship" stirs up feelings among his fellow villagers who don't know what to make of the blossoming relationship. The inter-racial and inter-religious relationship of the two is disconcerting to both the English and Pakistanis who view it. Ill feelings among the villagers begin to show, while the Major and Mrs Ali are not accepted on the Pakistani side, either.
Simonson is an excellent character writer. There's not a stereotype among her characters, though, in a lesser writer's hand, there probably would be. Her minor characters are as well-drawn as her major ones. All are shown with the nuances that make people seem "real". There are a few silly plot points, but not ridiculously so.Read more ›
Mrs Ali, though, is not really part of the Major's neatly ordered world. For a start, she is of Pakistani heritage and even though they share a love of literature, and have both experienced losing their spouses, any relationship is frowned on by family and friends.
While the developing relationship between Major Pettigrew and Mrs Ali is the major focus of the novel, there is plenty of action in the village of Edgecombe St Mary as duck shooting, development and the golf club's costume party vie for attention. Add the Major's obnoxious son, Roger, and various members of Mrs Ali's extended family into the mix and it's difficult to see how the Major and Mrs Ali will ever be able to overcome the obstacles before them.
I enjoyed this novel. Some aspects were hilariously funny; others were quite a sad reminder of the barriers posed by ignorance and pretension.
`The world is full of small ignorances.'
Major Pettigrew learns that his dear brother Bertie has died and he is shocked by the unexpected bad news. The doorbell rings and Mrs. Ali, the shopkeeper in the village, has come to collect the newspaper money. It is usually under the mat, but because he is so upset, he simply forgot about it. The Major explains that he has lost his brother. While searching for the money in his pocket, he becomes dizzy and weak. Mrs. Ali holds him up and leads the Major to a chair. She offers to make him a cup of tea and he readily accepts. They begin to talk about their lives and thus, a friendship begins.
Mrs. Jasmina Ali is fifty-eight years old, of Pakistani heritage and has also lost her spouse.
With time, a relationship grows. The Major and Mrs. Ali, with their different backgrounds, find that they have a lot in common. Both have lost their spouses. They are lonely. He has an obnoxious son. She has an obnoxious nephew. Both share an interest in literature AND they enjoy each others company.
Mrs. Ali is frowned upon by the village people, because she is considered to be a foreigner. She is also not in the same social class as the Major.
The Pakistanis are against this relationship as well. But Mrs. Ali declares, "I will rule my own life, thank you.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Didn't realize I ordered large print text. Not loving the story. The Major is a fussy old guy and I just want to slap him at times. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Jilly
Oh, well done!
That's what I kept thinking as I made my way through this entertaining and rather pathetic (in the sense of pathos, not in the sense of pitiable) novel. Read more
Nothing grabbed me when reading this book. I found it slow and a bit boring. A story about a simple idea that seemed to just plod along and take forever to go anywhere. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Donna Coleman Richardson
THIS WAS A WONDERFUL READ, WELL WRITTEN AND I HAVE REREAD THIS BOOK TWICE AND I WILL READ IT AGAIN. I HAVE RECOMMENDED IT TO MANY AND THEY TOO ENJOYED IT.Published 4 months ago by Marion Narum
cute story - interesting take on social/cultural dilemas although largely outdated - unfortunately a predictable ending.Published 8 months ago by Hostilities