Verena's Reviews > Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
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's review
Mar 29, 2012

really liked it
Read in March, 2012

Charming and quaint are much overused words used to describe stories set in picturesque English villages that are inhabited by quirky, but endearing people. But those are exactly the words that come to mind. Fortunately this novel, set in a contemporary village in Sussex, offers more. The author presents the universal conflicts of family members and ethnic groups by means of flawed, but humorous characters with entertaining antics. Major Pettigrew, a widower with impeccable manners and deportment, seems stuck in the traditional English class system that assumes the superiority of the white Englishman, especially if to a manor born. This stereotype breaks down when he begins to fall in love with a woman who is a shopkeeper, a Pakistani, a book lover, and, like him, a quick wit. Major Pettigrew learns to examine his own foibles and gain wisdom from them. The book reaches its climax in a literal cliffhanger that, while almost over the top, insures a perfect ending to a delightful book.

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