Lisa Eckstein's Reviews > Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
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's review
Sep 23, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: favorites, read-2010
Read from August 04 to 24, 2010 — I own a copy

Our protagonist, the retired, widowed Major Pettigrew, lives in a small English village where everyone knows each other's business. When he starts a friendship with Mrs. Ali, the widow who runs the village shop, everybody around the Major lets it be known that they consider her an inappropriate companion due to her class and race. There's much talk of propriety among the Major's insufferable family members and so-called friends, but he's the only one operating with impeccable manners and morals at all times.

The stakes start small, with a disagreement over a family heirloom, but in time the Major gets caught up in a series of larger battles with increasingly serious consequences. Meanwhile, his friendship with Mrs. Ali becomes both more important and more complicated.

I enjoyed the way the story built gradually and with a subtlety that matches the Major's personality. The book and its characters are very funny, but in a subdued way. MAJOR PETTIGREW was so much fun that I can't wait for Helen Simonson to put out another book.

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