Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
A Novel

77%

16 Critic Reviews

Unexpectedly entertaining...this good-hearted debut doesn’t shy away from modern cultural and religious issues, even though they ultimately prove immaterial.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

BONUS: This edition contains a Major Pettigrew's Last Stand discussion guide.

You are about to travel to Edgecombe St. Mary, a small village in the English countryside filled with rolling hills, thatched cottages, and a cast of characters both hilariously original and as familiar as the members of your own family. Among them is Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson's wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, Major Pettigrew is one of the most indelible characters in contemporary fiction, and from the very first page of this remarkable novel he will steal your heart.


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 respective 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 her as the permanent foreigner. Can their relationship survive the risks one takes when pursuing happiness in the face of culture and tradition?
 

About Helen Simonson

See more books from this 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.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published February 20, 2010 by Random House. 379 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Romance, Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Mar 06 2011
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Critic reviews for Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
All: 16 | Positive: 13 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Good

Unexpectedly entertaining...this good-hearted debut doesn’t shy away from modern cultural and religious issues, even though they ultimately prove immaterial.

Read Full Review of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand:... | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Alexander McCall Smith on Mar 03 2010

An attempt to modernize the village novel could well be embarrassing rather than amusing. But Simonson pulls it off, making “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” an entertaining and even rather moving novel of goings-on in a thin, gimcrack England that is, alas, only too recognizable.

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NY Times

Above average
on Feb 21 2010

...there is never a dull moment but never a discordant note either.

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All About Romance

Above average
Reviewed by Keira Soleore on Jan 17 2016

...I don't have to be enamored of the protagonist in order to enjoy the book. What kept me reading was the romance. I was curious to find out how this man would resolve his relationship with someone so different from him.

Read Full Review of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand:... | See more reviews from All About Romance

Book Reporter

Good
on Jan 06 2011

If MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND is any indication, readers will enjoy Simonson’s writing for many years to come.

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Globe and Mail

Good
Reviewed by Peter Scowen on Apr 22 2010

The book is at times violent, at times melodramatic, but 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.

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LA Times

Good
Reviewed by Susan Salter Reynolds on Mar 27 2010

The true enemies of human progress are money, racism and religious fanaticism. Played out on the smaller stage of rural village life, it is easy to see their corrosive effects on individuals and communities. Maj. Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali are worthy of our respect, and it is a great pleasure to spend time with them.

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The Washington Post

Good
on Mar 03 2010

With her crisp wit and gentle insight, Simonson is still far from her golden years...but somehow in her first novel she already knows just what delicious disruption romance can introduce to a well-settled life.

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Christian Science Monitor

Good
on Apr 17 2011

My only real concern now is: How long will it take Simonson to write her next novel?

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Suite 101

Good
on Feb 14 2011

It contains everything one could want in a novel: love; death; compassion and greed....

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Pajiba

Excellent

This is a beautiful love story, written with such rich description it made me want to get on a plane and go driving around the British countryside.

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About.com Bestsellers

Above average
Reviewed by Erin Collazo Miller on Mar 12 2016

If you want something extremely deep or literary, you might be disappointed with this novel. But if you are looking for a fun read that is more substantial than "beach reading," Major Pettigrew's Last Stand is a good choice.

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About.com Bestsellers

Good
Reviewed by Erin Collazo Miller on Mar 26 2014

If you want something extremely deep or literary, you might be disappointed with this novel. But if you are looking for a fun read that is more substantial than "beach reading," Major Pettigrew's Last Stand is a good choice.

Read Full Review of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand:...

Cleveland.com

Good
Reviewed by Vikas Turakhia on Dec 03 2010

Simonson describes the way Mrs. Ali often leaves the Major feeling that "he was in danger of smiling like a fool." "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" had a similar effect on me.

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MostlyFiction Book Reviews

Good
on Mar 05 2010

...a genuine delight and a moving tribute to the principles that many espouse, but few adhere to...

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Oprah.com

Above average

...a sweet story about the unexpected miracle of later-life love.

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Terri McGinty 5 Sep 2013

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