Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand


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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson, Peter Altschuler

In the small village of Edgecombe St. Mary in the English countryside lives Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson’s wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, the Major leads a quiet life valuing the proper things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea. But then 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 spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But village society insists on embracing him as the quintessential local and regarding her as the permanent foreigner. Can their relationship survive the risks one takes when pursuing happiness in the face of culture and tradition?

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307712868
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/01/2010

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.

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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 582 reviews.
Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
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.
1louise1 More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
harstan More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do Not start this book unless you want to spend the night reading, I couldn't put the book down. A Awesome Debut Novel!!!
Luv2Read27 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
nfmgirl More than 1 year ago
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.
DianePT More than 1 year ago
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!
BookReviewsByMolly More than 1 year ago
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!
Manhattan136 More than 1 year ago
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.
JoDE71 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very touching, provocative story written beautifully. There is also quite a bit of hilarity and if you enjoy this part you should also read Last Summer at the Club by Geri and Ed Muir. It's wonderful!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
cupcake19 More than 1 year ago
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!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this story for exactly what it is, however the choice of reader (in this case, the author) can greatly enhance or diminish the overall feel of a book. A professional reader with a good director would would have made this a better recording.
beachspirit More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous 11 days ago
I touch myself.
LisaDunckley 9 months ago
Very sweet and well-written story of an unassuming and homebody Major Pettigrew, whose gentle life is thrown into some turmoil with the death of his brother. Dealing with the aftermath and with his brother's wife, his own son, and the busybodies in his village, the only point of peace is the widowed shopkeeper, Mrs. Ali. While the Major had no intention of looking for a relationship ever again, especially with someone that no one thinks is an appropriate match—sometimes the heart cannot be stopped! This book is charming and sweet, and the characters are well-written. The romance builds slowly, while the Major, at first seeming stiff and perhaps not appealing, gradually wins your heart.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Simply add five more stars.
Dieverdog More than 1 year ago
A wonderful, entrancing book that was thoroughly enjoyable. Uplifting without being sappy and very well written. I always enjoy books set in England - especially the small village stories with quirky characters. I highly recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago