Review: Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Editorial Review - - Jennifer McCord

For all readers, there is the hope of finding a writer whose work they have not read or a book by a debut author. Opening these first pages can be an experience fraught with anticipation or disappointment. But once readers discover a new writer who meets or exceeds their expectations, there is always a feeling of elation. It was with this in mind that I began reading MAJOR PETTIGREW'S LAST STAND ... Read full review

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User Review  - Hanneri - LibraryThing

This was a story of love in later life set against the backdrop of village life and it's associated prejudices. It may sound dull and unexciting but it was amusing and well written, the characters ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lkernagh - LibraryThing

Love this one.... absolutely loved it. At is heart, this story has a wonderful vibe and had me thinking of a lighter version of Jane Gardam's Old Filth, kind of like Old Filth] meets The Last of the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - CindaMac - LibraryThing

A delightful and funny little book. Major Pettigrew is a very proper gentleman who scandalizes the little English village where he lives, by his friendship with the Pakistani shopkeeper, Mrs. Ali. A love story with two (past) middle-aged, engaging protagonists. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ladycato - LibraryThing

I found this book to be a joyful delight, well worth the buzz it has received in recent years. It's a literary fiction novel about a romance between a 67-year-old retired British Major and a 57-year ... Read full review

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This book was a joy to read. You get to know the characters on an intimate level. Some are more likeable than others, but all are rich and fully developed. Most will endear themselves to you.
Pettigrew is a gentleman above all else. Perhaps he is formal to a fault. At first he seems stodgy and rigid but as his affection grows for Mrs. Ali, a woman of Pakistani descent and a shopkeeper in town, he becomes more reachable and flexible. Things, once important to him, are no longer front and center. Enduring relationships assume a more major role and reverence for inanimate objects, material wealth and distinctions of class and station in society, recede far into the background. He begins to understand the foolishness and cruelty of some of the rules he has allowed to dictate his manners and behavior, in both private and public social situations.
The author has perfectly captured the formality of the English gentry in their speech and mannerisms, to a “t”, and without flaw, has captured the lovely Mrs. Ali. You can almost hear her distinctive accent when she speaks, and you can feel the power of the family structure and hierarchy, that influence her actions and judgment.
There is no tawdry sex or filthy language which is so refreshing. The relationships feel real, human, touching. I was rooting for different characters to succeed or fail depending on the circumstance. I was really drawn into the story and loved every moment of it.
When Major Pettigrew, recently widowed, answers the door for Mrs. Ali, also a widow, when she arrives to collect his forgotten newspaper payment, the tale begins. There is a gentle, dry kind of humor, and often, the thoughts of the Major will make your mouth curl upward in a smile or, perhaps, purse when the moment is touched by a melancholy memory. Meeting the Major in his wife's house dress, as he prepares to do some housekeeping, is a bittersweet moment for the reader. It is funny but also sad, as you learn he wears it to remind him of his deceased wife. Mrs. Ali, noting his discomfort, immediately enters his home to give him solace when he informs her that he has just heard about his brother's death. From there they embark on a journey that you will travel with them, experiencing their joy, love, pain, discomfort and confusion.
The prose is so beautiful. The sentences are concise and to the point; the language is polite, no words are wasted; but the message is clear, as the book explores family relationships, societal structures and diverse cultures.

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This is not your usual love story, but rather one which beautifully meshes the idiosyncrasies of a proper English gentleman with the caustic feelings inherently surrounding social change and racial differences. The setting is the English country side and the gently moving plot examines in an ever so civil and understated manner some touchy topics and situations while shining a light on the true diversity of the human spirit. The characters in this book are diverse. Major Pettigrew deeply believes in honor and tradition and enjoys a spot of tea and reading Kipling. His son is a self-absorbed, shallow social climber, his love interest is a quite Pakistani shopkeeper. This combined with his country club set of friends is the perfect environment to showcase quirky British tongue and cheek humor and test the waters on cultural, family and class clashes. My only criticism is that the descriptions, although delightful are excessive at times, detracting from the story and slowing things down. In summary, a touching nicely written story that fans of Jacqueline Winspear or Charles Finch will enjoy. Review previously posted at: 

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Best book I have read in months

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Sweetly written and well put together, this is a pleasure to read from beginning to end. The Major gets through life the best way he knows how--with gossipy (and even crazy) neighbors, a must-have-it-all son, his estranged brother's family and finally an attraction to an entirely "unsuitable" woman from a different background. But they way the characters managed to "plod" through life as it's been given them and come out "ahead" somehow, anyway, is what makes this story truly touching--one that the reader can relate to easily. For those who like "Chick Lit", this is a must read. 

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