Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Title: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: A Novel

Author: Helen Simonson

Audiobook narrated by:  Peter Altschuler

Genre: Fiction

About: (from the Goodreads synopsis)  Major Ernest Pettigrew, retired, of Edgecombe St. Mary, England, is more than a little dismayed by the sloppy manners, narcissism, and materialism of modern society. The decline of gentility is evident everywhere, from tea bags to designer sweaters, to racism masquerading as tolerance.

Mutual grief allies him with Mrs. Ali, a widowed local shopkeeper of Pakistani descent who has also resigned herself to dignified, if solitary, last years. The carefully suppressed passion between these two spawns twitters of disapproval in their provincial village, but Pettigrew hasn’t time for such silliness: real estate developers are plotting to carpet the fields outside his back door with mansionettes and his sister-in-law plans to auction off a prized family firearm. Meanwhile, Mrs. Ali’s late husband’s Muslim family expects her to hand over her hard-won business to her sullen, fundamentalist nephew, a notion she finds repellant and chauvinistic.

My take: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand is a charming novel that I think most readers would enjoy. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Peter Altschuler. The voice he gave each character seemed just right. His narration made me laugh out loud more than a few times.

Helen Simonson’s novel is entertaining in a smart and humorous way. Although there were a few over-the-top minor characters I thought most seemed believable. Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali are strong and true in their convictions. They delight in each other even though they know that to pursue any kind of friendship would be frowned upon by their respective communities. Being true to themselves they become friends despite what anyone might say. That support ultimately gives each the strength to take a stand when confronted with some important challenges.

To say any more about the novel would take away the enjoyment of discovering it on your own so I’ll just say you should put it on your TBR list.

Recommend? Yes – especially the audiobook.

Source: I bought it

23 thoughts on “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

  1. I think most everyone agrees that it is a charming read. I had some issues with some of the characters and the over-the-top chase scene but it was still charming and pleasant. I loved the Major!


  2. Charming is exactly the word I used when I described it to my book club. It was just a lovely book and I will remember the Major and Mrs. Ali for a very long time. I listened to the first half of the book then read the rest (had to take the audio book back to the library) and your right the narration added so much to the book. There were laugh out loud moments.


  3. I had heard so many good things about this book that I bought it a while back. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet but I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it.


  4. Good to know you enjoyed the audio version. I’ll have to look for it. I’ve been ‘reading’ more audio books … they make boring tasks a bit nicer, like driving, working around the house or even grocery shopping. Yup, I listened to my book in the store and shopped without incident!


  5. I’ve heard some really great things about this and hope to listen to the audiobook sometime in near future! After reading your review, I hope to make it very soon, lol!


  6. I just downloaded this thanks to your recommendation! I was vacillating between the audio or paper format but you nudged me to the audio!


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