Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

  • Type: Books
  • By: Helen Simonson
  • Age Category: Adults
  • Genre: General Fiction
  • Recommended by: Morgan D.
  • ISBN/UPC: 9781400068937
  • Check Catalog

An impossibly charming and romantic comedy of manners – like Jane Austen in the 21st century

Major Ernest Pettigrew is one of the most unlikely heroes in recent history. A retired widower living in a small, conservative English village, he is largely alone in the world. He is old fashioned to a fault, spending his days playing golf, reading the classics, and drinking tea specially blended for him by Mrs. Ali, the town’s Anglo-Pakistani shopkeeper. But when he learns of his brother’s death, and is forced to deal not only with his grief, but with his insufferably modern relatives, he reaches his wits’ end.

The Major shouldn’t be a likable character, but in Simonson’s talented hands he becomes a dashing romantic hero, and what would usually be seen as the bitter ramblings of a crotchety old man are transformed into noble and admirable ideals. And while much of the drama of the book centers around the Major’s battle with his family over the proper interpretation of his brother’s will, at its heart it is a love story. The slow, chaste bloom of romance between the Major and Mrs. Ali (a singularly charming and lively woman) is an utter delight to witness, and Simonson has us rooting for them, in spite of (or because of) the obstacles of their families, friends, and not-so-different cultural backgrounds.

I loved this book so much that I could hardly put it down. Simonson finds a perfect balance between character and plot, and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand never hits a false note. This unsentimental, intelligent comedy of manners deserves all the praise I can give it.