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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand [Kindle Edition]

Helen Simonson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (234 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
Kindle Price: £4.12 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Product Description


'As with the polished work of Alexander McCall Smith, there is never a dull moment but never a discordant note either ... Its main characters are especially well drawn, and Ms. Simonson makes them as admirable as they are entertaining. They are traditionally built, and that's not just Mr. McCall Smith's euphemism. It's about intelligence, heart, dignity and backbone. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand has them all' --New York Times

'It's gentle and charming, but these words can't convey the slow-burning pleasure of this novel' --The Times The Times

'I LOVED Major Pettigrew, such a quirky, lovely novel' --Sophie Dahl

With a hero whom generations will recognise and love, this novel brings balm to the heart' --Angela Huth

`In the noisy world of today it is a delight to find a novel that dares to assert itself quietly with the lovely rhythm of Helen Simonson's funny, comforting, and intelligent first novel - a modern day story of love which takes everyone, grown children, villagers, and the main participants, by surprise - as real love stories tend to do'
--Elizabeth Strout


'A beautiful little love story ... told with skill and humour' Alexander McCall Smith 'A wise comedy of manners proves that loving well is the best revenge ... This delightful debut is as much a gently P.C. look at the British class system tucked inside a sly comedy of manners as it is a love story' Oprah magazine 'It's gentle and charming, but these words can't convey the slow-burning pleasure of this novel' The Times 'A charming, funny and absorbing debut' Wendy Holden, Daily Mail

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 637 KB
  • Print Length: 401 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1408809559
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (1 Mar 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003DVB7XC
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (234 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #11,280 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Helen Simonson was born in Slough, grew up near Reading, and spent her teenage years in a small village in East Sussex, near Rye. A graduate of the London School of Economics, with a masters degree(MFA) in creative writing from Stony Brook Southampton(USA), she is a former advertising executive who now lives in the Washington, D.C. area. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, her first novel, was written while she was a stay-at-home mother. Its unexpected success (Major Pettigrew has become an instant bestseller in multiple countries), has in no way reduced the amount of laundry, or the demands for food, money and car transport, from her two teenagers! The book is dedicated to them, and to her husband, John.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gentle Tale of Friendship and Love 14 Nov 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a very gentle tale of two widowed individuals who find friendship and then love later in life. It is slow-paced for the most part and that is part of its appeal.

The Major and Mrs Ali come from different cultural backgrounds but each has suffered the bereavement of losing their partner and the changing dynamics that occurred in their families as a result; Mrs Ali is facing family pressure to give up her shop in favour of her nephew, whilst Major Pettigrew is challenged by a son with high expectations of inheritance and who has few qualms about selling the family `silver'.

Helen Simonson skilfully weaves together the story of family tensions over possessions that hold value in the aftermath of bereavement with the story of a burgeoning affection between two individuals. It is the perfect accompaniment to a Sunday evening, curled up on the sofa in front of the fire.
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85 of 91 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I don't think I will be alone in thinking that this novel is really exceptionally good. Three stars? Four stars? What are you thinking, people?! Major Pettigrew's Last Stand definitely deserves the full five stars in my book. I did not expect to like it as much as I did, but I found it very readable and hard to put down. Despite the fact that it is very readable and engaging, I do think there is quite a bit of substance to the novel.

Yes, this book is essentially a romantic comedy (there are the requisite smushy bits and hilarious bits). And it is very readable (I couldn't put it down). But I felt there was a lot more to it than that. The main characters are senior citizens, and the setting is a small and picturesque English village. I am sure you can guess from the title that the main character is an elderly chap, Major Pettigrew. None of these things sound like ingredients for a gripping tale (though why shouldn't they be?) but they are. The Major is a decent sort, if old-fashioned - set in his ways and full of prejudices and preconceptions. In fact, he is practically emotionally crippled by his extreme politeness and sense of right and wrong, which is often founded on societal norms. The Major faces the world with a stiff upper lip and is almost comically conservative and set in his ways. Of course, it turns out that there is much more to him than this - and he discovers that there is much more to Mrs Ali, the Pakistani lady who runs the village shop. Drama ensues, but I won't spoil the plot for you by describing it. The Major is a classic case of a main character who I really didn't expect to like.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings 15 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have mixed feelings about this book, and am finding it hard to properly review it. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it, but I found it a bit too twee for my liking and it was bordering on tedious in the middle. The book started really well, and I thought I was going to love it, but I felt it lost its way a bit. Does anybody really live like the people in the book? I could have believed it if it had been 50 or 60 years ago, but it did feel a little far-fetched.

The Major and Mrs Ali, as the main characters, are quite likeable. The other characters have little to recommend them really. I know some were not meant to be likeable, but I didn't really take to them in any way at all.

Who knows, perhaps it was just the wrong time for me to read this book, and if I give it another go in the future I might be along to change my review! For the time being, I've given it 3 stars which, according to Amazon, means it's ok, and that's just what I felt it was.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant enough 18 Mar 2010
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
An interesting novel in that it is a love story, but one about elderly people, not an age category you would usually associate with the genre. Simonson explores ageing, death, sexism, racism and religious intolerance in the confines of a small English village. I personally felt that the subject matter was shoe horned into the story with little regard for whether it fit or not, and that the story suffered because of the weight and variety of ideas she wanted to explore. I would have enjoyed it much more had it been more pared down and focused on one or maybe two of the frankly gigantic subjects she writes about.

I thought that the juxtaposition of the modern way of doing things and tradition was handled sensitively and in an interesting way, and I liked the characters.

I get the impression that Simonson felt rushed at the end of the book, with the many loose ends tied up far too neatly and in some areas with very little explanation. I cannot really expand on this without talking about spoilers, but I found parts of the ending over dramatic, totally unexpected and in some parts entirely frustrating (as in, why? Why would this person do this?)

I understand that Simonson is an Englishwoman currently residing in the USA, so I wonder why, in a novel that explores Englishness and tradition there are uses of the words intersection instead of crossroads, and cilantro instead of coriander, Americanisms that an Englishman would never use? There were only a few, but in such a carefully constructed social world, like the village the major inhabits, where nuance is everything, these little things really jarred.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A sweet story
An easy and enjoyable read - nothing groundbreaking about it but a sweet story. Definitely a few laugh out loud moments.
Published 13 days ago by Annie
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully written
I have so enjoyed this book. It is written with respect, humour and that special something that makes the reader not want to put it down. Beautiful easy reading.
Published 14 days ago by Judie
2.0 out of 5 stars Bored
Found the story boring, couldn't find empathy for any of the characters. A big disappointment as I was looking forward to reading this.
Published 1 month ago by Teresa Jewett
5.0 out of 5 stars A joyful read
It is not often one can recommend a book as "a joyful read". This book not only leaves you feeling cheerful but boosts your belief in the general goodness of most of... Read more
Published 2 months ago by jaronly
3.0 out of 5 stars Moderately pleased
I enjoyed it, but thought it was pretty predictable, and a bit old fashioned. Characters nice but lacking conviction. Read more
Published 2 months ago by rob
4.0 out of 5 stars A very enjoyable book
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this, I liked the style of writing and felt that the depiction of most aspects of rural life and golf clubs (of which I am NOT an expert) rang true. Read more
Published 2 months ago by ginacole
4.0 out of 5 stars Cute
Lovely characters, sweetly written and just a very nice read. Something gentle to dip into on a lazy Sunday afternoon with a cup of tea
Published 3 months ago by Anne-Marie Upton
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous
I loved this book. The characters are rich, vivid and believable and I loved the twists and turns in the storyline. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Charlotte
5.0 out of 5 stars Something a bit "different"
One of the best books I have read. The characters are memorable, and the story is engrossing. I really recommend it!
Published 3 months ago by J. M. Mulready
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Funny, gentle read about finding love again in later life, and the complexities of family relationships when those around them are not so supportive.
Published 3 months ago by lara williams
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Popular Highlights

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war—America wielded her huge power in the world with a brash confidence that reminded him of a toddler who has got hold of a hammer. &quote;
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the Major marvelled anew at the way so many people were willing to spend time and energy on the adverse judgement of others. &quote;
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“But I must ask you, do you  really understand what it means to be in love with an unsuitable woman?” “My dear boy,” said the Major. “Is there  really any other &quote;
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