Posted by Merry Mao on June 28th, 2011
Title: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
Author: Helen Simonson
Publisher: Random House, March 2010
Summary: The dignified and charming Major Pettigrew lives in the small English village of Edgecombe St. Mary. He is a widower with impeccable manners, a true gentleman who seems to have stepped out of a Jane Austen novel. Major Pettigrew develops a friendship with Mrs. Ali, an educated, cultured, and thoughtful Pakistani village shopkeeper. They bond over the loss of their spouses and as their friendship develops they commiserate over their difficult relatives.
Pettigrew’s son Roger thinks his father is stuffy and does not approve of his friendship with Mrs. Ali. The Major feels Roger has no time for him and that “children were no sooner gone from the nest and established in their own homes….than they began to infantilize their own parents and wish them dead, or at least in assisted living.” Mrs. Ali is being pressured by relatives to give up her store to her nephew, who when told Major Pettigrew was taking her to a dance “looked at the Major as if he were a strange bug discovered in the bathtub.”
Written with wit and humor, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand is a charming, touching, endearing love story which will especially appeal to the reader who may enjoy an updated and light version of Jane Austen.
Recommended by: Paula, Reference Assistant
Summary: I fell in love with widower Major Ernest Pettigrew about six pages in! The story takes place in a quaint English village, where the Major’s brother’s sudden death and the propriety of a family heirloom spark an unexpected friendship with a local shopkeeper, Mrs. Jasmina Ali. His quiet world changes as he deals with his growing affection for Mrs. Ali (after all they share a love of literature), his yuppie, shallow son, and the various unattached ladies in the village vying for him. It is a charming and endearing love story. The Major’s wry, witty humor combined with his chivalrous old fashioned courtesy, yet sarcastic jabs about modern situations had me laughing out loud. There is a gentle humor and a quiet lovely rhythm with a romantic twist that will appeal to both sexes. I kept picturing Sir John Gielgud delivering the Major’s lines! Such a wonderful debut novel!
Recommended by: Cindy B., Children’s Department
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