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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen…

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

by Helen Simonson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,7514011,423 (3.98)722
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» See also 722 mentions

English (399)  Catalan (2)  French (2)  German (2)  Dutch (2)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (408)
Showing 1-5 of 399 (next | show all)
Helen Simonson displays an excellent grasp of setting in this love story novel. Her character development is rather lacking, however. I could not tell one old lady from the next. I appreciated and liked the inter racial relationship she presented. ( )
  niquetteb | Jul 25, 2018 |
I was given this to read after finishing "We Need To Talk About Kevin". The Kevin book was excellent but left me feeling drained and depressed. Major Pettigrew was the perfect antidote-pure British delight. This book makes the reader smile and provides hope. ( )
  melanieklo | Jul 25, 2018 |
On the surface it’s a charming romantic comedy of manners in an English village, complete with lord of the manor trying to keep up appearances, bustling club ladies rallying everyone to assist with the yearly dance, and retired Major Pettigrew, reading Kipling and worrying about village matters. But within the story are deeper issues: prejudice against the (UK-born) Muslims who run the village store; creeping urbanization; social climbing and snobbery, unfortunately displayed by various people including the Major’s son; religious fanaticism and its real effects on lives. I was moved by a scene in which an elderly Muslim man watching a light hearted theatrical depiction of the train massacres of Muslim refugees after partition becomes hysterical because he had lost his mother and sister in it. The English, watching the entertainment, dismiss his reaction with casual cruelty.
I want there to be another book about these characters - I want to know how things turned out for all of them and how they’re doing. ( )
1 vote piemouth | Jul 3, 2018 |
This was my book club's pick for June 2018 and what a nice way to end up our reading year. I'm not usually much of a fan of the romance genre but this book had enough redeeming qualities (particularly a lovely sense of humour) that I was charmed all the way through. I see from the notes I used to make after reading book reviews in the Globe and Mail that this book was picked in 2010 for the best books of the year list. I can quite see why.

Major Pettigrew is a 68 year old widower living in the home owned by generations of Pettigrews in Edgecombe St. Mary in Sussex England. His wife has been dead for 6 years and he has just received news that his younger brother has died suddenly. This news has knocked him for a loop so when Mrs. Ali from the village shop knocks on his door to collect the money for the newspaper he is hardly able to understand what she is saying let alone make a response. Mrs. Ali who lost her husband a year and a half ago quite understands and takes Major Pettigrew in to make a cup of tea (where would the British be without the restorative qualities of a cuppa?). This is the start of a friendship spent discussing books and family and life. As a widow Mrs. Ali is expected to give up her shop to her nephew and go live with her husband's family in the north of England. The Major discovers as his friendship blossoms that he does not want Mrs. Ali to leave the village. Other people in the village look askance at the relationship between a white man from an established English family and a brown woman who is of the Muslim faith. Even the Major's son, banker Roger, is concerned but he is probably more worried that the inheritance he is counting on would be lost. Then after a disastrous dinner at the Golf Club (one of the funniest scenes in the book) Mrs. Ali does go north in order to convince her husband's family to sanction the marriage between the nephew and the woman he impregnated some years before. Is this it for the older couple? You'll have to read the book to discover the answer.

As a woman who found love later in life I felt I had something in common with the Major and Mrs. Ali. It is heartening to see a book that extols the possibilities of romance for the mature audience. How wonderful love can be no matter what age it comes. ( )
  gypsysmom | Jun 23, 2018 |
I really enjoyed the interaction between the two main characters. How every British indeed. ( )
  barrowedge | Jun 3, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 399 (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 (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Helen Simonsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Altschuler, PeterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tapia, SoniaTranslatorsecondary 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.
The stems were as unpleasant as rusty wire and the leaves curled and crisped, but the flowers, as big as tea plates, shone like claret-colored velvet against the old brick wall. (P. 110) ISBN 978-0-8129-8122-3
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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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