Customer Reviews for

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Average Rating 4
( 570 )
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5 Star

(225)

4 Star

(181)

3 Star

(100)

2 Star

(37)

1 Star

(27)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

28 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

What a fabulous book!

What a fabulous book! I fell in love with Major Pettigrew from the start. He is so gentle and dryly humorous, willing to own his faults, humble and yet completely fallible and human. When he falls in love with Mrs. Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper in their small English vi...
What a fabulous book! I fell in love with Major Pettigrew from the start. He is so gentle and dryly humorous, willing to own his faults, humble and yet completely fallible and human. When he falls in love with Mrs. Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper in their small English village, he does it wholeheartedly. Yet their relatives and neighbors disapprove and they have to fight racism, ignorance, and censure to stay together. The author, Helen Simonson, does a great job of addressing nasty issues with a light and gentle hand. The Major struggles with what his beliefs confronting religion, environmentalism, and racism with his wisdom and humor. The plot is fast-paced and interesting making this a real page turner with a surprising twist at the end. A fun, heartwarming book that nevertheless examines some serious social issues.

posted by Frisbeesage on March 14, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

Only in America

...would you find enough people with sufficient self-hatred to embrace a book that is absolutely full of ugly American stereotypes complete with all the stupidity, boorishness, and insensitivity of Simonsons's American characters. No we aren't perfect, but then neither...
...would you find enough people with sufficient self-hatred to embrace a book that is absolutely full of ugly American stereotypes complete with all the stupidity, boorishness, and insensitivity of Simonsons's American characters. No we aren't perfect, but then neither are the English people who continually look down their noses at us in spite of the fact that we died by the tens of thousands for them in the last world war.

Oddly enough this is a book about prejudice but I guess it's only a bad thing when directed at other groups. I have lived in England, and believe me, the hatred toward all Americans is alive and well and not really all that charming. If the Americans who read this book think that if they lived in England everyone would love them because they would be the exception to the rule -- think again. Prejudice doesn't wait to see if the individual fits the mold, it strikes the minute they hear your accent, no matter how quietly spoken.

posted by Olivia46 on July 30, 2011

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Page 1 of 29
  • Posted March 14, 2010

    What a fabulous book!

    What a fabulous book! I fell in love with Major Pettigrew from the start. He is so gentle and dryly humorous, willing to own his faults, humble and yet completely fallible and human. When he falls in love with Mrs. Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper in their small English village, he does it wholeheartedly. Yet their relatives and neighbors disapprove and they have to fight racism, ignorance, and censure to stay together. The author, Helen Simonson, does a great job of addressing nasty issues with a light and gentle hand. The Major struggles with what his beliefs confronting religion, environmentalism, and racism with his wisdom and humor. The plot is fast-paced and interesting making this a real page turner with a surprising twist at the end. A fun, heartwarming book that nevertheless examines some serious social issues.

    28 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 28, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    GREAT HUMAN SPIRIT!

    An older, distinguished gentlemen expanding his friendship with a mature lady friend in the English countrywide, is a beautiful unconventional love story, wry and witty, frequently hilarious. GREAT HUMAN SPIRIT AND FEEL GOOD READ! I loved it!

    19 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2010

    A winner!

    Helen Simonson's 'Major Pettigrew's Last Stand' is a novel of love and grief and family and relationships. And while the fact that the major characters are fifty plus may be beside the point, it is nevertheless refreshing to see that the aged and aging may have real lives.

    Widower Major Ernest Pettigrew, veteran of Her Majesty's Service and stanch upholder of all things British, is attracted to Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani matron who runs the village shop. No reader will be surprised that the members of the Major's golf club aren't impressed by his choice nor is Jasmina's family pleased that she has a British suitor. Ernest is expected to marry the local spinster (after a little not too genteel nudging by the ladies circle) and Jasmina's in-laws are expecting her to relinquish her shop to her nephew and 'retire' to the safety and servitude of family obligation.

    However, this is less a story of plot than character. And Simonson does an excellent job of rendering each of her characters - from the upright and moral major and his sometimes greedy and consistently unsure son Roger with his flip yet sympathetic American girlfriend to the lovely and wise Jasmina and her serious, scholarly, and equally greedy and unsure nephew Abdul - with great depth and flair.

    Five Stars: Recommended for all readers who want to be reminded of the cost and power of love and who want to smile as they close the book at the end.

    14 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Major Pettigrew's Last Stand is a great contemporary English village romance

    In Edgecombe St. Mary, sexagenarian English Widower Major Ernest Pettigrew grieves the death of his younger brother, Bertie. As a memento of growing up together, Ernest wants Bertie's antique Churchill shotgun, which is part of a set in which he owns the other piece. However, his sibling's wife Marjorie refuses to give it to him. Meanwhile Ernest's son Roger salivates over selling the Churchill collection.

    Ernest is attracted to Pakistani shopkeeper Widow Jasmina Ali who he buys his tea from and enjoys discussing literature especially Kipling with her. He wants to court the single mom though Roger interferes as does the village socialites; each has their own reason while her nephew Abdul Wahid demands she give him the shop as women should not be storekeepers by themselves. However the major plans to ask the shopkeeper to accompany him to the dance at the club unaware of the volatile theme.

    Major Pettigrew's Last Stand is a great contemporary English village romance with a very modern day theme of two subcultures clashing when a person from each group falls in love with someone from the other side, a Romeo and Juliet taboo. The story line is character driven by the strong lead couple who has feelings that is unacceptable by their families and friends. Jocular and poignant, Helen Simonson writes a relevant tale of forbidden love even for middle aged military veterans who risks his place in the village by taking a last stand for what he wants.

    Harriet Klausner

    13 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 30, 2011

    Only in America

    ...would you find enough people with sufficient self-hatred to embrace a book that is absolutely full of ugly American stereotypes complete with all the stupidity, boorishness, and insensitivity of Simonsons's American characters. No we aren't perfect, but then neither are the English people who continually look down their noses at us in spite of the fact that we died by the tens of thousands for them in the last world war.

    Oddly enough this is a book about prejudice but I guess it's only a bad thing when directed at other groups. I have lived in England, and believe me, the hatred toward all Americans is alive and well and not really all that charming. If the Americans who read this book think that if they lived in England everyone would love them because they would be the exception to the rule -- think again. Prejudice doesn't wait to see if the individual fits the mold, it strikes the minute they hear your accent, no matter how quietly spoken.

    7 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2010

    GREAT BOOK

    Do Not start this book unless you want to spend the night reading, I couldn't put the book down. A Awesome Debut Novel!!!

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2010

    Glad he made his last stand

    Helen Simonson writing is delightful. Her characters were interesting all the way through the book. It certainly makes the reader think of his or her prejudices. It is not a combination of cultures that is usually written about. There were parts that were funny too. I have recommended this to anyone who likes a pleasant book to read and am loaning my copy to friends. I was sort of sad when it ended because the main characters had become comfortable. Perhaps it won't be his last stand after all and we will hear more?

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2010

    A totally satisfying read

    Major Pettigrew's Last Stand updates the English countryside novel with multi-cultural characters, and she transcends the genre with their complexity. Simonson's writing is sharp in its criticism of narrow-mindedness, but her affection for her characters--even the very flawed ones--is obvious.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2010

    A Modern Day Romeo and Juliet... Who Meet Later in Life

    This was a charming story about a developing love and passion that happens between a couple over the age of 50. Despite the wisdom of their years, they still find their blossoming romance interferred with by meddlesome family and the conventions of society. It was nice to read a love story for a change about an older couple--a pleasant reminder that love can happen at any age and is not reserved only for twenty-somethings.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 2, 2011

    Fabulous Read!

    I loved this book all the way up to the last several pages. It didn't end with a nice bow around it, which is a usual requirement of mine. But after thinking more, it ended in the spirit of the book - life isn't perfect. Although the main story line is about unforbidden love, preconceptions and judgment, the subtext that resonated for me is about family - how neither parents or children are perfect in each others eyes. It was beautifully written in an English proper way, the prose beautiful and full of aha moments.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2012

    Lovely! My new favorite!

    I simply love this book. I can't say that "I couldn't put it down." The pace was so breathtaking, I could only read in small doses--the thrill and anxiety of falling in love were wonderfully expressed.

    After reading the 'ugly American' review, I was a little afraid of being disappointed. But there were so MANY interesting themes in the book, it was much more than a vehicle for ugly American stereotypes. The characters navigate so many real challenges--modern vs traditional values, religious differences, racial and cultural differences, gender differences, and economic class differences. Nothing about this book felt stereotypical or insulting to me.

    Overall, I would highly recommend this book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Major Pettigrew is having a difficult time. His brother just die

    Major Pettigrew is having a difficult time. His brother just died, the gun he has always expected to inherit has gone to someone else, and he's at his wit's end with his self-centered son. The local store owner Mrs. Ali is having a difficult time herself. She is viewed in her Pakistani culture as having reached an age when she needs to hand things over to the next generation to carry on, and this isn't something about which she is very happy.

    This was a charming story. It wasn't an exciting story or an especially challenging story, but it was quaint and charming.

    Most of the main characters were very likable, and people I would actually like to know in real life. Major Pettigrew can be a bit surly at times, but I happen to like that about him. Mrs. Ali is warm and thoughtful, and carries herself with great poise. Grace is the sweetest and most forgiving of women. The Major’s son Roger is a grown spoiled brat, snobbish and quite a bit self-centered and inconsiderate. Sandy is a strong and independent American woman whom the Major's son brings home, and initially grating to a proper Englishman, she has a softness that eventually wins over the Major.

    The Major and Mrs. Ali find themselves in a similar position. Mrs. Ali finds she is expected by her culture to give her life over to the next generation (in her case, this being her nephew), while the Major is similarly expected by his son to do the same and hand over what is precious to him.

    This story showcases the underpinnings of a small village, the bigotry that can exist anywhere, and the difficulties of the older generation who are viewed as being at the end of their lives. However it also shows how pure love can be when experienced at an advanced age.

    Another undercurrent in the book is the racism and classism that exists in Britain and many places around the world. Major Pettigrew, the son of a British soldier, was born in Lahore, Pakistan. Mrs. Ali is of Pakistani descent, yet was born in Britain. However it is Mrs. Ali that is viewed as the foreigner and looked down upon, while Major Pettigrew is a respected man of class and wealth.

    My final word: A charming story with charming characters. This wasn't a book that I loved, but one that I did like quite well.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2011

    Charming Read!

    The Major is an old-fashioned principled man, a pinch self-righteous. His strong values bump into today's society. He manages to find relationships where he would have never dared to tread in the past. He (and those around him) discover love and acceptance. Charmingly set in England, with an appreciation for a good cup of tea, it tackles love, prejudice, and the generation gap with good humor and a genteel manner. I was charmed by this book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 26, 2010

    A Wonderful Debut by a Talented New Author!

    Another new-to-me author and one that I truly recommend! Helen Simonson writes this debut novel with a seasoned author's skill. Her characters are complex and witty and her plot is full of beautiful British charm.

    Major Pettigrew's character quickly stole my heart. His sweet wit and loving charm as he grew to accept his late-in-life changes, really drew me in. His growing feelings for widowed Mrs. Ali was fun to watch. Their affection for each other through out this story, despite their cultural differences and village gossip, was wonderful to witness.

    Ms. Simonson's debut is one that will charm any book lover. It instantly captures you and takes you on a whirlwind ride of fun British quirkiness, and will set you down, unexpectedly, amongst your charming new friends!

    This is definitely a 4 star novel, worthy of recommendation. Major Pettigrew's character will leave you smiling and glad that you took the time to get to know him and Mrs. Ali, and all the wonderful characters of this interesting love story! I look forward to many more books like this from this very talented new author and I am sure you will, too!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Chivalry Is Not Dead

    I really, truly enjoyed this book. In a time when civilization moves so quickly and prejudge is prevelent almost everywhere we do, it's refreshing to read about a couple who overcomes it to be together. I was also happy to see the author create an older couple for this scenario as it most certainly relates to a broad range of readers. This author has a great writing style that offers humor to offset serious topics of discussion. The characters jumped off the page and I instantly fell in love with the Major. How chivalrous he was to all the other female characters, but especially to Mrs. Ali, the shopkeeper he falls in love with (and I fell in love with too!). I also found that the Major's son, Roger, who was an unlikable character from the start, seemed to have a reformation toward the end of the story which I found endearing. This is an excellent book that readers from different ages and generations are sure to enjoy.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2010

    Great Read!!!

    Was a very easy read and absolutely loved the story line. I couldn't put the book down, I just wanted to read it till the end.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    Pleasant Read

    I enjoyed this story, and finished it quite quickly. The characters are rich and interesting. There is a dry underlying humor that keeps you engaged. Major Pettigrew is a classic gentleman with an attractive old-school wittiness.

    The ending was a little predictable, resembling an ending one may expect from a hollywood film. But it is nice and refreshing and uncomplicated.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2012

    For good fun reading I highly recommend it.

    From the first paragraph I was hooked. It is a gentle story of a retired British Major. He is so aware of doing things properly, never offending anyone and not putting himself forward. It is engaging, funny, entertaining but most of all a gentle commentary on life. It was recommended to me by my sister and I am so glad I listened and read it.

    Sit back with a pot of tea and just enjoy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2011

    Ambien with a book cover.

    Major Pettigrew's Last Stand is Ambien in the form of a novel. I read to page 230 and just could not go another page. I did enjoy the Major's dry sense of humor and sarcasm but found the story at large to be very slow and unconvincing.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2011

    Boring.

    I got to page 163 and am still waiting for something, anything, to happen. Not for me.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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