Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Review by Abby Shelton

Major Ernest Pettigrew is a classic Englishman—he belongs to the local golf club, eschews dignity and polite manners, and enjoys a proper cup of tea. After his brother’s unexpected death, the Major’s quiet life in the village of Edgecombe St. Mary changes forever. A dispute with his sister-in-law over a pair of dueling pistols, his irreverent son’s sudden appearance with a new American girlfriend, a developer’s plans to tear down a village landmark, and a blossoming friendship with Pakistani shopkeeper Mrs. Ali, threaten to disquiet the Major’s peaceful existence.

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Helen Simonson’s first novel, is a charming and easy read. At the same time, Simonson explores the deeper issues of English village life as small country towns like Edgecombe St. Mary struggle to accept recent immigrants, suburban development, and the loss of traditional values and customs. Simonson has created a remarkable character in Major Pettigrew and I wished, by the end of the book, that he was my neighbor.

If you are an Anglophile like me who needs a new read, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand is the book for you!

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About the Reviewer: Former reference staff member Abby Shelton is a big lover of history, which is lucky since she gets to travel to Old City Philadelphia all the time! In her free time, she’s reading (of course!), enjoying the outdoors, and cooking new things.