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Extended Audio Sample Major Pettigrews Last Stand: A Novel, by Helen Simonson Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.00003952803526 out of 53.00003952803526 out of 53.00003952803526 out of 53.00003952803526 out of 53.00003952803526 out of 5 3.00 (50,597 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Helen Simonson Narrator: Peter Altschuler Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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You are about to travel to Edgecombe St. Mary, a small village in the English countryside filled with rolling hills, thatched cottages, and a cast of characters both hilariously original and as familiar as the members of your own family. Among them is Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson's wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, Major Pettigrew is one of the most indelible characters in contemporary fiction, and from the very first page of this remarkable novel he will steal your heart.

The Major leads a quiet life valuing the proper things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea. But then his brother's death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But village society insists on embracing him as the quintessential local and her as the permanent foreigner. Can their relationship survive the risks one takes when pursuing happiness in the face of culture and tradition?

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Quotes & Awards

  • I love this book. Courting curmudgeons, wayward sons, religion and race and real-estate in a petty and picturesque English village–Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand is surprisingly, wonderfully romantic and fresh. Unsentimental, intelligent and warm, this endlessly amusing comedy of manners is the best first novel I’ve read in a long, long time. Cathleen Schine, author of The Love Letter and The New Yorkers
  • This irresistibly delightful, thoughtful, and utterly charming and surprising novel reads like the work of a seasoned pro. In fact, it is Simonson's debut. One cannot wait to see what she does next. Library Journal, starred review
  • “Funny, barbed, delightfully winsome storytelling…As with the polished work of Alexander McCall Smith, there is never a dull moment…Its main characters are especially well drawn, and Ms. Simonson makes them as admirable as they are entertaining. They are traditionally built, and that’s not just Mr. McCall Smith’s euphemism. It’s about intelligence, heart, dignity, and backbone. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand has them all.”

    New York Times

  • “This thoroughly charming novel wraps Old World sensibility around a story of multicultural conflict involving two widowed people who assume they’re done with love. The result is a smart romantic comedy about decency and good manners in a world threatened by men’s hair gel, herbal tea, and latent racism…If Simonson can keep this up, she could be heir to the late John Mortimer, and if the ‘Masterpiece Theatre’ people aren’t already sending out casting calls for Major Pettigrew, they should get a move on with decorous haste.”

    Washington Post

  • “The author’s dense, descriptive prose wraps around the reader like a comforting cloak, eventually taking on true…urgency as Simonson nudges the major and Jasmina further along and dangles possibilities about the fate of the major’s beloved firearms. This is a vastly enjoyable traipse through the English countryside and the long-held traditions of the British aristocracy.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “One cannot wait to see what [Simonson] does next.”

    Library Journal

  • “Unexpectedly entertaining, with a stiff-upper-lip hero who transcends stereotype, this good-hearted debut doesn't shy away from modern cultural and religious issues.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • In the noisy world of today it is a delight to find a novel that dares to assert itself quietly with the lovely rhythm of Helen Simonson's funny, comforting, and intelligent first novel—a modern day story of love which takes everyone, grown children, villagers, and the main participants, by surprise—as real love stories tend to do. Elizabeth Strout
  • The real pleasure of this book derives . . . from its beautiful little love story, which is told with skill and humor. . . . That love can overcome cultural barriers is no new theme, but it is presented here with great sensitivity and delicacy. . . . As for happy endings,  [the book] deserves all available prizes. New York Times Book Review
  • Funny, barbed, delightfully winsome storytelling… As with the polished work of Alexander McCall Smith, there is never a dull moment but never a discordant note either…[the book’s] main characters are especially well drawn, and Ms. Simonson makes them as admirable as they are entertaining…It’s all about intelligence, heart, dignity and backbone. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand has them all. New York Times
  • "When depicted by the right storyteller, the thrill of falling in love is funnier and sweeter at 60 than at 16…With her crisp wit and gentle insight, Simonson is still far from her golden years…but somehow in her first novel she already knows just what delicious disruption romance can introduce to a well-settled life. Washington Post
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Selected for the March 2010 Indie Next List
  • Nominated for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award
  • A 2010 Washington Post Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2011 PEN/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award Honourable Mention

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Laurel Bailey | 2/19/2014

    " I so enjoyed this story of a rigid retired military man, and how an unorthodox relationship transformed his life and how he thinks. You will be sad when the characters leave your life at the end of this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Kim T | 2/16/2014

    " I had a hard time with this book. I thought it was pretty well written, but I did not care for most of the characters! The Major grew somewhat through the story, which was good. The only character I liked was Mrs. Ali. As for the other characters, I found myself disliking them intensely. They were stereotyped, prejudiced, and generally very self-focused. I believe the author was trying to go for this, but quite frankly it made me grumpy to read it and didn't like it at all. I only finished it because it's a book club book. Makes me wonder what type of a cynical view the author has of people in general, on both sides of the Atlantic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Hal Halbert | 2/9/2014

    " At times moving, politely humorous, and yet upsetting, MPLS offers a compelling look at age, class, integration, and family in a book that combines the best of modern storytelling with nineteenth-centruy British novels of manners. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Katherina | 2/8/2014

    " Thoroughly enjoyed the old fashioned writing, manners, and story. A light read and nice reminder of gentlemanly ways. "

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