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.'
Philbrick humanizes both Sitting Bull and Custer in a commendable way, leaving us with a better sense of the flesh-and-blood behind the dubious legends that quickly came to stand in the public imagination. Perhaps what suffers most here is that the detailed analysis ultimately doesn't lend itself to a strong big picture understanding of what was happening. Its very likely that the ultimate reduction of the Sioux to confinement on reserves was not strongly impacted by this battle - the disappearance of the buffalo from the plains was the decisive factor. However, as Philbrick points out, the Sioux have not disappeared, and they still have a preserved sense of culture and identity, so to view them as a defeated people is actually rather near-sighted. The results of military encounters do not a defeated or victorious people make.
If you've not read Philbrick's other books, I would suggest reading Mayflower before this one, simply because its better. If you liked Mayflower, you'll very likely enjoy this book as well, since Philbrick employs a similar narrative method, albeit mostly confined to a shorter passage of time.
Most recent customer reviews
I enjoyed the book immensely because it was a beautiful love story overcoming prejudices and seeing the good in all.Published 4 months ago by Aana
A couple of days ago I finished reading a book without having placed my next planned purchase order. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Vlad Thelad
Okay, I was given this novel as a Christmas gift from my son and so I happily read it for his sake.
Unfortunately for me, it was terrible. Read more
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 5 months 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