Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson {Jenna’s Review}

Posted 3 July, 2013 by Jenna / 5 Comments

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson {Jenna’s Review}Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
Genres: Literary
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

Written with a delightfully dry sense of humour and the wisdom of a born storyteller, Major Pettigrew’s Last Standexplores the risks one takes when pursuing happiness in the face of family obligation and tradition.

When retired Major Pettigrew strikes up an unlikely friendship with Mrs. Ali, the Pakistani village shopkeeper, he is drawn out of his regimented world and forced to confront the realities of life in the twenty-first century. Brought together by a shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship on the cusp of blossoming into something more. But although the Major was actually born in Lahore, and Mrs. Ali was born in Cambridge, village society insists on embracing him as the quintessential local and her as a permanent foreigner. The Major has always taken special pride in the village, but will he be forced to choose between the place he calls home and a future with Mrs. Ali?

Quaint, quiet modern-day love story.

My Thoughts on Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

This book has been on my to-read list for quite some time, so I was happy when my book club decided to read it together. At first, I was underwhelmed. It seemed slow and, for lack of a better word, a little dull. I stuck with it, though, and was soon happily entangled in the lives of the characters.

Major Pettigrew isn’t like a lot of contemporary fiction. It isn’t showy or bold or outstanding. It’s a quiet, unassuming novel that slowly pulls the reader into the text. The characters are exceedingly original and authentic – a refreshing change from a lot of the formulaic patterns in a lot of mainstream fiction.

I loved spending time with the Major, a consummate British gentleman who prides good breeding and manners above all. And I enjoyed getting to see his world through his eyes. His slowly evolving relationship with the widow Jasmina Ali, his realizations about pride and family, and even his interactions with his somewhat-arrogant son, Roger, were all drawn out perfectly by the author.

Now, having finished the book, I need to find out if the English countryside village described in the novel truly exists and make a good cuppa.


Filed under: Contemporary, ESR: 7, Review: Jenna, Romance,


5 Responses to “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson {Jenna’s Review}”

  1. Sometime I’m just in the mood for one of these soft stories – the ones that don’t reach an action packed climax or have me on the edge of my seat, but instead quietly entertain me:) Glad that despite the slow start this one ended strong, and gotta love a British gentleman chock full of good manners! Thanks for your thoughts Jenna!

  2. I think my biggest fear is that those sweet little villages don’t exist. Lovely review. It’s been on my list to read for a while and great to hear another endorsement :D

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