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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Average Rating 4
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(225)

4 Star

(181)

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(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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • Posted May 18, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    a lovely, charming story!

    halfway thru this book, i found myself putting it down after reading a few chapters just savor the story!

    the major's keen wit, mrs. ali's little gems on life, their love found late in life in spite of drama from family/neighbors along w/life in an small, english village ("warts & all") made for just a lovely, charming story that left me wanting more.

    helen simonson hit one out of the park w/her first book!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2010

    Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

    What a delightful book. I felt that Mr. Pettigrew had such a calming effect when dealing with circumstances. Such a different "read". I know this is Helen Simonson's first novel, and I wrote to her telling her I so hoped she is working on another one to be published soon.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2014

    Highly Recommended

    Charming main characters. A fine romance and people you will enjoy knowing. Funny in a heartwarming way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2014

    Fantastic!

    Excellent read! Well written, good quality, wonderfully told story. No sex, no gore, no swearing

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2013

    I belong to a library book club and this was a selection earlier

    I belong to a library book club and this was a selection earlier this year. When the title was announced I was disappointed. However the story line is just great. I love the historical references and the dialogs between the main characters. The plot could be about any mixed race group in history or in present times. After a slow start I was hooked. This is a book for all folks that love good fiction.

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  • Posted July 3, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    What great characters

    I absolutely loved this story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2013

    Warm and witty

    Fun and fulfilling. Great character development. Takes you into English village life.

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

    Posted March 16, 2013

    Like a contemporary Jane Austin. Fabulous.

    Buy it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    Check it out!

    Truthfully, I didn't like the title of the book. When my book club announced that was to be the next read...I was a little disappointed. I now take that all back. This was truly, without exaggeration,
    one of the best stories I have ever read. (And I read a lot!). I was surprised to learn that this is the authors first book. I hope she continues to give us more of her talent. The characters are so real..I felt like I knew them all personally. She describes so vividly that you put yourself in that particular place. However, it's not overdone. Major Pettigrew is someone you will not forget!
    I can't recommend it highly enough. Do yourself a favor.....buy it!

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  • Posted January 29, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I absolutely loved this book. Highly recommended

    I absolutely loved this book. Highly recommended

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