Written by Helen Simonson
Format: eBook, 384 pages
Publisher: Bond Street Books
ISBN: 978-0-385-66865-1 (0-385-66865-1)
Pub Date: March 2, 2010
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Written with a delightfully dry sense of humour and the wisdom of a born storyteller, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand explores 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?
"The real pleasure of this book derives… from its beautiful little love story, which is told with skill and humor… That love can overcome cultural barriers is no new theme, but it is presented here with great sensitivity and delicacy… As for happy endings, [the book] deserves all available prizes."
— Alexander McCall Smith, The New York Times Book Review
"Funny, barbed, delightfully winsome storytelling… As with the polished work of Alexander McCall Smith, there is never a dull moment but never a discordant note either… [the book's] main characters are especially well drawn, and Ms. Simonson makes them as admirable as they are entertaining… It's all about intelligence, heart, dignity and backbone. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand has them all."
— Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"When depicted by the right storyteller, the thrill of falling in love is funnier and sweeter at 60 than at 16… With her crisp wit and gentle insight, Simonson is still far from her golden years… but somehow in her first novel she already knows just what delicious disruption romance can introduce to a well-settled life."
— Ron Charles, The Washington Post
"The beauty of this engaging book is in the characters, particularly Mrs. Ali… Elegant, refined, and full of grace, she is also shockingly, adorably straightforward… a sweet story about the unexpected miracle of later-life love."
— Sara Nelson, O! Oprah Magazine
"Downright funny — that intelligent kind of funny that catches readers by surprise and makes them re-read a sentence several times to figure out how the author manages to make them laugh out loud so unexpectedly."
— The Globe and Mail
"This book is wonderfully written and was a pleasure to read. Although the themes are universal and timeless, Ms. Simonson presents her characters as unique individuals trying to find their bearings in what they perceive is an increasingly confusing world."
- Katherine C, Ontario
"Helen Simonson's first novel, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, is a gem. It has been a while since a book has made me laugh out loud and this one certainly did. The characters are real and believable with all their likable and unlikable quirks. The Major is an endearing "old git" with his humor, stuffiness and heart of gold. I love the Major and I love Jasmina!"
- Stephanie H, British Columbia
From the Hardcover edition.
Helen Simonson was born in England and spent her teenage years in a small village in East Sussex. A graduate of the London School of Economics and former travel advertising executive, she has lived in America for the last two decades. A longtime resident of Brooklyn, she is currently living with her husband and two sons in the Washington, D.C. area. This is her first novel.
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