Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand



Now here’s a little number that dropped in as a recommendation based on my liking of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Set in the heart of English society – in every sense – this intriguing debut novel by British born and bred, Helen Simonson, is essentially a love story between an English Major and the gentile village shopkeeper, Mrs. Ali. This unlikely duo, from vastly different cultures and walks of life, is drawn together by a love of books and a shared appreciation of duty to family and preserving tradition.


Facing the increasingly disapproving scrutiny of their families and neighbours from two judgemental communities, both protagonists must reexamine the important things in their lives, and ask themselves: which lines should be crossed and which must not?

This book was a strange read in that I didn’t particularly warm to the somewhat hapless Major or unassuming Mrs. Ali, but the array of other colourful characters that endeavour to assert their will on the pair provide enough layers of intrigue to keep the pages turning. Not reading on to discover how this realistic multiculti uproar would ultimately pan out was entirely unthinkable.


Quotes from Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand:

“So, he thought, do all men steal and display the shiny jackdaw treasure of other people’s ideas.”

“’So he dreams himself the life he cannot have?’
‘Exactly. But we, who can do anything, we refuse to live our dreams on the basis that they are not practical. So tell me, who is to be pitied more?’”

“… and the Major marvelled anew at the way so many people were willing to spend time and energy on the adverse judgement of others.”

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