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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

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An enchanting, humorous and heart-warming novel set in an English village. Written with sharp perception and a delightfully dry sense of humour, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand is a heart warming love story with a cast of unforgettable characters that questions how much one should sacrifice personal happiness for the obligations of family and tradition.

If you like Helen Simonson you might also like to read books by Kate Williams, Anna Hope and Louisa Young.


Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Major Ernest Pettigrew (Ret'd) is not interested in the frivolity of the modern world. Since his wife Nancy's death, he has tried to avoid the constant bother of nosy village women, his grasping, ambitious son, and the ever spreading suburbanization of the English countryside, preferring to lead a quiet life upholding the values that people have lived by for generations -respectability, duty, and a properly brewed cup of tea (very much not served in a polystyrene cup with teabag left in). But when his brother's death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Ali, the widowed village shopkeeper of Pakistani descent, the Major is drawn out of his regimented world and forced to confront the realities of life in the twenty-first century. Drawn 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 how will the chaotic recent events affect his relationship with the place he calls home?


'A beautiful little love story ... told with skill and humour'
Alexander McCall Smith

'A wise comedy of manners proves that loving well is the best revenge ... This delightful debut is as much a gently P.C. look at the British class system tucked inside a sly comedy of manners as it is a love story'
Oprah magazine

'It's gentle and charming, but these words can't convey the slow-burning pleasure of this novel'
The Times

'A charming, funny and absorbing debut'
Wendy Holden, Daily Mail

About the Author

Helen Simonson

Helen Simonson is an Englishwoman who spent her teenage years in a small village in East Sussex, near Rye. A graduate of the London School of Economics, she recently completed an MFA at Stony Brook Southampton. Her short stories and essays have been featured in various publications and broadcast on radio. A longtime resident of Brooklyn, New York, Helen is currently living in the Washington D.C. area with her husband and two sons. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand is her first novel.

Photo credit: Nina Subin

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Book Info

Publication date

14th August 2010


Helen Simonson

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Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


400 pages


Relationship Stories
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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