Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson – Book Review

Ernest Pettigrew is a retired, widowed army Major living in the small rural English village of Edgecombe St Mary. He leads a quiet, respectable, and predictable life with a small circle of friends and a slightly distant relationship with his only son, Roger, who is upwardly mobile and ever on the lookout for ways of advancing himself.

A chance meeting with the village shopkeeper, Mrs Jasmina Ali, just moments after hearing of his younger brother Bertie’s death, turns the Major’s life upside down. The pair discover they have much in common – both widowed, both expected to conform to plans of their respective families, and a love of literature. Their friendship blossoms into love which horrifies their families, scandalises their neighbours and confounds the match-making plans of the Major’s well-meaning friends.

Traditions, class, cultural differences, racial discrimination, and the selfish expectations of others all threaten to destroy their relationship. And to top it all off, there’s a dispute over Bertie’s will regarding the rightful ownership of a pair of antique (and very valuable) guns, which sets family members against each other. However, love does eventually conquer all as the Major decides to follow his heart and ignore what other people think of him and his relationship with Mrs Ali.

This is a fabulous book with relatable characters that you come to love and one you will want to read again and again. The story exemplifies one of the greatest aspects of getting older – no longer caring what other people think! And it provides some thought-provoking lessons for those with older parents who think they need to treat them like children and keep them under control. I highly recommend it.

This book and others by Helen Simonson are available from good bookshops and online.

Buy it from Amazon, Booktopia, Dymocks or Book Depository.

About the Author

Trudi Skene

Trudi is a past guest editor of Lutheran Women and is a member of Outer Eastern Lutheran Church, Victoria.

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