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Amazon Best Books of the Month, March 2010: In her witty and wise debut novel, newcomer Helen Simonson introduces the unforgettable character of the widower Major Ernest Pettigrew. The Major epitomizes the Englishman with the "stiff upper lip," who clings to traditional values and has tried (in vain) to pass these along to his yuppie son, Roger. The story centers around Pettigrew's fight to keep his greedy relatives (including his son) from selling a valuable family heirloom--a pair of hunting rifles that symbolizes much of what he stands for, or at least what he thinks he does. The embattled hero discovers an unexpected ally and source of consolation in his neighbor, the Pakistani shopkeeper Jasmina Ali. On the surface, Pettigrew and Ali's backgrounds and life experiences couldn't be more different, but they discover that they have the most important things in common. This wry, yet optimistic comedy of manners with a romantic twist will appeal to grown-up readers of both sexes. Kudos to Helen Simonson, who distinguishes herself with Major Pettigrew's Last Stand as a writer with the narrative range, stylistic chops, and poise of a veteran. --Lauren Nemroff
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
In her charming debut novel, Simonson tells the tale of Maj. Ernest Pettigrew, an honor-bound Englishman and widower, and the very embodiment of duty and pride. As the novel opens, the major is mourning the loss of his younger brother, Bertie, and attempting to get his hands on Bertie's antique Churchill shotgun—part of a set that the boys' father split between them, but which Bertie's widow doesn't want to hand over. While the major is eager to reunite the pair for tradition's sake, his son, Roger, has plans to sell the heirloom set to a collector for a tidy sum. As he frets over the guns, the major's friendship with Jasmina Ali—the Pakistani widow of the local food shop owner—takes a turn unexpected by the major (but not by readers). The author's dense, descriptive prose wraps around the reader like a comforting cloak, eventually taking on true page-turner urgency as Simonson nudges the major and Jasmina further along and dangles possibilities about the fate of the major's beloved firearms. This is a vastly enjoyable traipse through the English countryside and the long-held traditions of the British aristocracy. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Wonderful characterizations! Very atmospheric. Loved this book!Published 2 hours ago by Janis Burenga
A good story but slow to get to the plot. Need to be versed in the British activities of daily living.Published 5 hours ago by cathy L.
Surprisingly good read. A book club selection, something I normally would not read, but glad I did. A fun book and a quick read.Published 5 days ago by Sue D. Mackenzie
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand was an easy read with morals of today's standard.Published 9 days ago by Diane Smith
Such fine writing and great characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.Published 11 days ago by Hunter Thompson
I really enjoyed this book. Recommended it to a friend who loved it too. Really hope Helen Simonson will be publishing another book soon.Published 13 days ago by Amazon Customer
Interesting to view aging from the aging person's perspective.Published 13 days ago by ANDREA SOLOMON
Helen Simonson's characters are all very endearing, especially Major Pettigrew. I enjoyed this book very much!Published 14 days ago by Rebecca Jane Bailey
A lovely, straight forward,and realistic tale that reminds us that love is available to everyone and that we all deserve it and should grab it when it crosses our path.Published 16 days ago by MK Majerus