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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen…

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand (edition 2010)

by Helen Simonson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,0403591,260 (3.97)623
Title:Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Authors:Helen Simonson
Info:Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (2010), Paperback
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:fiction, British, romance, racism, relationships, village life

Work details

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

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    BookshelfMonstrosity: Readers will enjoy White Teeth and Major Pettigrew's Last Stand for their character development and humor, along with lighthearted treatment of serious topics such as race relations, religious fanaticism, self-understanding, and similar aspects of modern English life.… (more)
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» See also 623 mentions

English (359)  Catalan (2)  French (2)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (367)
Showing 1-5 of 359 (next | show all)
This was a delightful book with well-developed characters and an interesting ending. ( )
  lkarr | Feb 6, 2016 |
Major Pettigrew lives a quiet, ordered life in Edgecomb St. Mary. His wife died several years ago, and their only son is a financial hotshot in London. Now his brother has passed away suddenly and he’s feeling a little wobbly. Enter Mrs. Ali, a widow and the local shopkeeper, who has come on an errand to collect for the newspaper. She quickly notices his distress, comes in and offers kindness and a cup of tea. And thus begins a wonderful friendship.

But not everyone in the village or in their families is of the same opinion about how wonderful this is. Their growing friendship becomes a matter of gossip, innuendo, concern and downright meanness. To further complicate their lives, there is change coming to their quiet village, and this, too, is causing a rift in the community between those who favor tradition and those who crave “progress.”

I loved how Simonson painted these characters, how they were flawed and blind to their own faults, how they grew and changed. Even the minor characters are interesting – the club secretary, the little boy George, Lord Dagenham and his daughter Gertrude, Mr Ferguson and the aptly named and very wise Grace. It’s a lovely, somewhat old-fashioned story and beautifully told. I’ve heard this described as “modern-day Jane Austen” and I definitely see the reasoning behind this. It’s a delightful comedy of manners. Oh, and I love the cover art! ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 2, 2016 |
Major Pettigrew, sixty-eight and a widower, has just learned that his younger brother has died of a heart attack when Mrs. Ali, a Pakistani widow and shop owner, rings the doorbell because he has forgotten to leave the newspaper money for the paper boy. When he becomes rather faint, she holds him up, comes in to make him some tea and thus begins a friendship between the two as they find they have common interests, such as literature. His relationship to his sister-in-law is somewhat strained, and questions arise as to the intentions of his late brother over an antique rifle that was supposed to be given to Major Pettigrew. But over all of this, the developing friendship, and the possibility that it just might end up being more, envelopes the loneliness of Pettigrew

What makes this story a 4.5 rounded up to a 5 is the writing, the pacing, the endearing qualities of Major Pettigrew and the fact that the secondary characters are developed, albeit interpreted through the Major’s eyes. At once we can see what he thinks of his son but also get a glimpse of how is son probably thinks even if, naturally, we can’t really know any more than we can really know what anyone else thinks. Simonson, who hails from England ( )
  Karin7 | Feb 1, 2016 |
Absolutely charming! ( )
  SabinaE | Jan 23, 2016 |
This is an enjoyable read which looks at an elderly widower living in a small English village, who gets drawn to a widow from a Pakistani background (though born in England) through their mutual enjoyment in books.
It looks at racism and ageism and cross cultural misunderstandings in a gentle but heart-aching way, as the course of love definitely doesn't run smoothly.
Both of their families have quite appalling members in it who know exactly what's "right" and what their elderly family member should be doing with their life. ( )
  quiBee | Jan 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 359 (next | show all)
Simonson .. is having a great time with her first novel. She is unsparing in her willingness to send up her characters and their little village, and she is often downright funny – that intelligent kind of funny that catches readers by surprise and makes them re-read a sentence several times to figure out how the author managed to make them laugh out loud so unexpectedly.The book is almost always pitch-perfect in its demonstration of how ridiculous our small ignorances can be – and how magnificent we are when we rise above them.
This thoroughly charming novel wraps Old World sensibility around a story of multicultural conflict involving two widowed people who assume they're done with love. The result is a smart romantic comedy about decency and good manners in a world threatened by men's hair gel, herbal tea and latent racism..When depicted by the right storyteller, the thrill of falling in love is funnier and sweeter at 60 than at 16. The stakes are higher, after all, and the lovers have stored up decades of peculiarities and anxieties
As with the polished work of Alexander McCall Smith, there is never a dull moment but never a discordant note either. Still, this book feels fresh despite its conventional blueprint. Its main characters are especially well drawn, and Ms. Simonson makes them as admirable as they are entertaining. They are traditionally built, and that’s not just Mr. McCall Smith’s euphemism. It’s about intelligence, heart, dignity and backbone. “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” has them all.

» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Helen Simonsonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Altschuler, PeterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wallis, BillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Major Pettigrew was still upset about the phone call from his brother's wife and so he answered the doorbell without thinking.
He finished his tea and rose from the table to go to his room. "But I must ask you, do you really understand what it means to be in love with an unsuitable woman?" "My dear boy," said the Major. "Is there really any other kind?"
"Careful, careful," he said, feeling a splash of scalding tea on his wrist. "Passion is all very well, but it wouldn't do to spill the tea."
Too few people today appreciate and pursue the delights of civilized culture for their own sake.
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Book description
Major Ernest Pettigrew, having retired to a quiet life in Edgecombe St. Mary, raises a few eyebrows in the small English village when he begins a relationship with widow Mrs. Jasmina Ali, a Pakistani shopkeeper.
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Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired) leads a quiet life in the village of St. Mary, England, until his brother's death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But will their relationship survive in a society that considers Ali a foreigner?… (more)

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Average: (3.97)
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1 15
1.5 1
2 43
2.5 19
3 262
3.5 129
4 663
4.5 148
5 369


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