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Major Pettigrew?s Last Stand Paperback – Large Print, Dec 1 2010

38 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 586 pages
  • Publisher: Large Print Press; 1 edition (Dec 20 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594134448
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594134449
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 13.3 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #45,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“[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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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on May 4 2010
Format: Hardcover
Helen Simonson's first novel, "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand", is so well written that I could barely put it away last night to go to sleep. I wanted to find out what happens. Of course, we all know how the book will end, as with any comedy of manners, but the fun part is how the author gets us there. And Simonson gets us there quite nicely.

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.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Barbara J. Scott on April 27 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is an absolutely delightful story. Gentle humour combined with a charming love story make for a compelling read. The British class system is described in a matter of fact style, just all a part of village life at the time. I loved the strength both main characters showed, with all the frustrations of family relationships coming to the fore over the length of the book. I laughed out loud at some of the descriptions, particularly that of the upwardly mobile son trying to parent his father (as so many young adults of that age are inclined to do) while the father resists with all his might. All in all, one of the better books I have read in a long time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 50 REVIEWER on Aug. 19 2010
Format: Hardcover
Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired) is a widower leading a quiet, ordered life in the small English rural village of Edgecombe St Mary. News of his brother Bertie's unexpected death unsettles him, and when his doorbell rings, he answers it wearing his crimson clematis-covered housecoat. His caller, Mrs Ali from the village shop has called to collect the newspaper money. And thus begins a love story. No, it's not really love at first sight, although it seems that the Major's current experience of grief has altered his perception of Mrs Ali and perhaps he is `seeing' her for the first time.

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.'

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Janet B TOP 500 REVIEWER on Jan. 20 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Major Pettigrew is a sixty-eight year old retired Englishman. He is widowed and lives in Edgecombe St. Mary, a small village in the English countryside. He is the father of a son named Roger, a narcissistic and foolish man and his American girlfriend, Sandy. Major Pettigrew lives a quiet life. He sets high standards for himself, home, duty and is very well respected by all who know him. He also enjoys a properly brewed cup of tea.

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.
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