Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

A Novel

Book - 2010
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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?
Publisher: New York : Random House, 2010.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9781400068937
Branch Call Number: Fic Simo
Characteristics: 358 p. ; 25 cm.


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May 13, 2019

Alcona Caledona

Feb 14, 2019

After a promising first chapter, I read two more ... and quit. Totally predictable.

IndyPL_SteveB Nov 30, 2018

A completely charming, humorous, and skillfully written romance of modern English manners. Don't be put off by the word "romance." -- this is entertaining for BOTH male and female readers.

Major Ernest Pettigrew, retired as a soldier and retired a second time as a teacher at a boys school, lives alone in a small English village. His life is jarred when he receives news that his brother has died suddenly from a heart attack. Ironically, at the same time he realizes he is becoming attracted to the Pakistani widow who runs the local market and discovers that life just might have meaning again. Nothing could be farther from English tradition than a retired major falling in love with a “foreign” shop keeper. And yet, Jasmina is more like him than anyone else he knows. She is English-born, educated, thoughtful, and also trapped by her family’s tradition, which devalues a woman’s independence.

Every paragraph is polished, with witty observations that make you want to turn to your friends and read aloud. Simonson is also a master of characterization, with even minor appearances coming to complete life and with most characters having multiple layers revealed. A kidnapping, a rescue, and an attempted murder ramp up the excitement later in the story, without taking anything away from the charm, but further revealing the character of the Major. A great book.

One of my favorite books from this year. The story of an unlikely friendship between retired Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper, in rural England. They are brought together by a shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses – first, with friendship, and then perhaps moving toward something more. Although the Major was actually born in Lahore, and Mrs. Ali was born in Cambridge, he is treated as the local, while she is seen as the foreigner. A wonderful and heartwarming book. (submitted by SB)

Aug 24, 2018

Delightful read! The character and plot development will keep most any reader engaged.

May 25, 2018

Another Gem !

PerthEastLibrary Feb 28, 2018

Perth East Public Library Evening Book Club thoroughly enjoyed this British novel. The consensus was that the author followed a typical British novel format (military, aristocrat, small village setting, etc.) but that the story was light-hearted while touching on some very important social issues present today. Ratings from club members ranged from 2 out of 5 stars to 5 out of 5. Overall it was a good read and inspired some lively conversation.

Aug 08, 2017

A story with depth and a powerful ending.
Hopeful that Ms. Simonson is working on a third novel.

Apr 13, 2017

File this one under "charm" and "delight." This novel tells the story of a British widower in his retirement years, wondering how he will fill the rest of his life. He connects with a village shopkeeper who is a Muslim and a widow. The two are both avid readers and have much in common but it's not clear if they will be able to overcome the cultural obstacles that conspire to keep them apart. Read this one slowly to enjoy the subtle language, sly humor, and pictures of life in a British village. And be patient with the fact that the action starts out slow. Your patience will be rewarded!

Mar 30, 2017

This English comedy of manners swept me away with its romantic and comedic flair. The author develops a wry sense of the outlandish in her well-developed stock characters and their self-absorbed world, but it’s done with charm and pokerfaced humour that had me guffawing out loud. That’s not to negate the issues that the story also tackles – traditionalist values vs modernization, racism, gossip/slander – Simonson’s writing has huge heart. A wonderful blend of entertainment and intelligent contemplation.

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Aug 06, 2016

bbock291 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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Jan 30, 2011

Romance of a very English retired Major and a Pakistani shopkeeper in a small English village. Likeable characters, although some rather caricatured. Gentle humour. The plot is a bit thin with some unlikely events and the pace rather slow in the middle section.


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Aug 06, 2016

(Pettigrew is talking with Mrs. Ali about a proposed housing development for the rich.)

"...Makes me feel old and foolish." He said. "I assumed progress couldn't touch our little corner of the world."

"It's not about progress. It's about greed."


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