Archive for the ‘Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand’ Category

Major Pettigrew's last Stand: A Novel  Monday April 2, Booked for the Day met to discuss the novel Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand; the story of the widower Major Pettigrew and shop-keeper widow Mrs. Ali, and their families and follies in the fictional sea-side town of Edgecomb St. Mary.

Overall everyone seemed to enjoy the book; and much of the discussion centered around how the story is told entirely from the point of view of the protagonist; Major Ernest Pettigrew. This left many in group feeling that maybe not every character’s point-of-view was able to be understood. Everyone did enjoy that the Major was a flawed character though; even though he is the hero of the tale he doesn’t always do or say the right thing. Also many side characters were still discussed at length; like the Major’s son – Roger, and fellow Edgecomb St. Mary resident and friend to all, Grace.

The character of Abdul Wahid, and his particular the ending climatic scene, also sparked discussion. Many thought it the scene seemed inconsistent with the rest of the story. However, everyone did enjoy the epilogue; some even wishing that it had been a bit longer or revealed more about the character’s lives.

In general, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand was a book everyone enjoyed reading!


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Here is a sampling what is growing in Major Pettigew’s garden:

a gooseberry patch, which edged the side garden

"Perilla frutescens" most likely the "purple cabbage-like oddity" Major's wife swore was mint, but he was too afraid to eat

clumps of gold and red chrysanthemums

the mats of dianthus sprawled onto the path like blue hair

yellowing foliage of the lilies

"That purple flower on the wall is like an enormous jewel." - Mrs. Ali. She pointed to where a late clematis spread its last five or six flowers

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A sampling of Mrs. Ali’s books that she checks out of her library:

  • a Colette novel (page 45), such as “Cheri: and, The Last Cheri” by Colette, in the fiction section of the Lisle Library


  • de Maupassant stories (page 45), such as “A Parisian Love Affair, and other stories” in the fiction section of the Lisle Library


  • a poetry anthology (page 45), such as “The Norton Anthology of Poetry” in the nonfiction section at Lisle Library


  • “Puck of Pook’s Hill” by Kipling (page 61), available to get through InterLibrary Loan

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Have you started Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand? If you have, you may be wondering about Edgecombe St. Mary, the beloved village where our protagonist lives in Rose Lodge. Unfortunately, Edgecombe St. Mary is a fictional place; but author Helen Simonson lived in the English Countryside on the South English coast of East Sussex – and this seems to be the basis for our Major Pettigrew’s surroundings. Here’s a sample from Flickr of the countryside:

Rey, East Sussex

Lewes, East Sussex

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