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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand Paperback – 4 Jan 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks; First Edition edition (4 Jan 2011)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 1408809559
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408809556
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (248 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.


Product Description

Review

'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)

Book Description

An enchanting, humorous and heart-warming novel set in an English village

A Richard & Judy Book Club selection

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Gabrielle O on 26 Feb 2010
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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52 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 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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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Nicola in South Yorkshire TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By SwissMiss on 23 Jun 2011
Format: Paperback
I am not familiar with a credible attitude to life of ex-military men in England and - English not being my mother-tongue - flaws like using "cilantro" or "drapes" don't catch my attention, but I wondered right from the beginning of the novel whether the main character, the Major, could really be 68 years old??? Through the whole book I pictured him as 80 at least and as such not credible at all in his role.
That's why I looked at the reviews here and I am truly amazed: the Major seems to be a credible description for most British readers for a 68 year old man in today's England. Wow!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter R TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Set in a traditional English village in East Sussex, this sweet story is a surprising page turner.

The book primarily explores the relationship between a widower (Pettigrew) and a widow (Mrs Ali). It is essentially all about clashes - whether it is about the two cultures gracefully bumbling towards a relationship despite the hurdles, the sub-plots of a class and social divide in the village or the self-indulgent complex lives of next generations of both these families.

The characters are well fleshed out and the essence and drama of English village life comes through the chapters vividly. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable read!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By UK Couple VINE VOICE on 28 Jun 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A quote on the front cover of this book describes Major Pettigrew's Last Stand as "slow-burning" and on the back cover as "funny". I can confirm that Major Pettigrew's Last Stand is very very slow - I read a third of the book and gave up because it was so boring! - and is definitely NOT funny - the pages that I read caused me to chuckle just once! Also, according to the info about the author in the book, Helen Simonson has a Masters in Creative Writing and it shows. I am an educated woman but even I struggled with some of the words she used - I had to look them up in the dictionary! I was really looking forward to this book, especially as it got good reviews on Amazon, but what a major disappointment!
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