How the Light Gets In, Part 2

Recap (Chapter 23 – End)

Here’s my recap for you. Or maybe it should be my first question. Are you as emotionally drained after finishing How the Light Gets In as I am? Now, to the actual recap of the book in which Louise Penny unites us with Gamache and the villagers as we wait and prepare, building the tension until it’s so unbearable it has to conclude, as she says, with an explosive ending. Do not read this recap or conclusion if you have not finished the book. This recap is a spoiler.

Thérèse Brunel continues to tell her husband, Jérôme, the terrible story of the treachery at the top of the Sûreté du Québec, and Gamache’s actions that led both to the people’s admiration and to continuing enmity from some of the leadership. And then Gamache adds an unknown quantity to the mixture in Three Pines. He brings in Agent Yvette Nichol, who no one, not even Gamache, knows if he can trust.

It’s the beginning of a long stretch of tension in the book. No one knows if they can trust Nichol, but they need her to set up computer equipment so they can reach out from the isolated village and uncover hidden computer files from the Sûreté.

The only break from the tension comes when Gamache turns back to the investigation of the Ouellet murder, handing Constance’s Christmas presents out to the villagers. It’s Myrna’s gift of a tuque, a hat, that begins to prey on his mind, leading him to search for a missing member of the family, someone who could be a killer. It’s that search for answers that leads him back to Montréal, first to drop off the tuque so he can check on DNA, and then to his department at the Sûreté, where he dismisses the entire staff, effectively shutting it down, and tells Inspector Lacoste he will announcing his resignation in the next day or two.

But his trip back to the Sûreté a second time is shocking, when Jean-Guy Beauvoir turns on him and threatens him with a gun, blaming Gamache for everything, even in the face of the man who says he loves him. Nevertheless, Gamache finishes his errands, meeting with those who may have clues to the story of the Ouellet Quintuplets, before returning to Three Pines.

When they set in motion the plan to dig into those computer files, Gamache and his team are horrified to discover that the plot they’re investigating leads all the way to the Premier of Québec. As they begin to unravel the power grab related to money, death, and a scheme to kill thousands in order to create a new country, the computer hackers in Three Pines attract the attention of the police in the Sûreté. But it’s too late. Gamache’s small group have linked the stories of corruption to top leadership and even the murder of Audrey Villeneuve, who knew more than she should. It’s a story of allowing construction projects to go unfulfilled so they can destroy a dam, a tunnel or a bridge. And it will take one more trip to Montréal for Gamache to wrap up the loose ends. Warning the Brunels and Agent Nichol to stay hidden, he leaves Three Pines hoping to lead Francoeur to follow him. After he’s gone, Myrna and the villagers show up to lead the Brunels and Nichol to safety.


All the storylines quickly begin to converge. While Gamache wraps up the investigation involving Audrey Villeneuve, he learns why she was murdered. She was about to tell the wrong person, the Premier, Georges Renard, about the structural weakness of the Champlain Bridge. Gamache warns Lacoste to close that bridge before it’s blown up. In the meantime, Myrna wraps up the story of Constance Ouellet and her siblings, telling the story of Gamache’s discovery that there was one more child, a younger son, who grew to hate his sisters, and killed some of them. And, Francouer, Tessier, and a small team head to Three Pines, led by Jean-Guy Beauvoir.

While the villagers put off the police, hiding the Brunels and Nichol, Gamache is on a mad dash back to Three Pines. But Francouer and Tessier are waiting for him. While they think they have him trapped, he jeers at them, informing them his announcement of his resignation was a signal to his former officers, still loyal to him, to take over the Sûreté du Québec. He and Francouer fight to the death, and Gamache dashes toward the schoolhouse to save Jean-Guy from dying in an explosion that has been rigged. But, Jean-Guy, realizing that Gamache does love him, turns up, and is forced to shoot Gamache to stop him from entering the schoolhouse, and blowing himself up when he opens the door.

The final scenes of the wedding and reception for Jean-Guy Beauvoir and Annie Gamache are set in Three Pines after Gamache’s recuperation and Jean-Guy’s stint in rehab. And, even though Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache have retired to Three Pines, Reine-Marie informs Jean-Guy that Armand might retire, but he can’t quit.

Favorite Quotation

My favorite quote now is not one I would have picked a year ago when I first read How the Light Gets In. It’s actually Ruth’s statement to Jean-Guy when he brings Francouer’s forces to Three Pines. In talking about Rosa, Ruth actually talks about so much more, as she often does. She talks about Jean-Guy, and, now we know, she talks about the next book in the series, hinting at future events.

Ruth says, “She took the long way home. Some do, you know. They seem lost. Sometimes they might even head off in the wrong direction. Lots of people give up, saying they’re gone forever, but I don’t believe that. Some make it home, eventually.”

Discussion Questions

1. Did you anticipate the brazen plot Renard had hatched? Before reading it, what did you think the plot was all about?

2. Let’s talk about the Ouellette storyline. Who did you think the killer was, and why?

3. My favorite scene in the book wasn’t the wedding, but the moment after Thérèse Brunel opens the door to find Myrna there to take them to a safe place, and sees Clara, Gabri, Olivier, and Ruth and Rosa. “The end of the road.” What was your favorite moment in the book, and why?

4. Who showed the most courage in the book, and why? Gamache, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, the villagers? Someone else?

5. What did you think was happening when Gamache told Lacoste he was resigning?

6. Talk about “Old sins have long shadows.”

7. What do Ruth and Rosa mean to you?

8. In a book with so many surprises, which one stood out for you?

Lesa HolstineLesa Holstine has been a mystery reader since she was a child when she discovered The Happy Hollisters and Nancy Drew. And, she's been a fan of Louise Penny's work since she first read Still Life in 2006. Today, she continues to review mysteries and other books on her award-winning blog, Lesa's Book Critiques. She's the author of the chapter "Mystery Fiction" in Genreflecting: A Guide to Popular Reading Interests (7th ed.). She's been a librarian for over thirty years, and reviews books for journals, as well as her blog. Holstine also discusses books and authors on Twitter @LesaHolstine.

Discussion on “How the Light Gets In, Part 2

  1. Judy S. says:

    This Re-Read has been an amazing journey, with “How the Light Gets in” the ultimate in intensity and depth. I am not sure how much I breathed at all during the last section of the book.

    8. In a book with so many surprises, which one stood out for you?

    That would have to be the wedding of Annie and Jean-Guy. At the end of Chapter 41 Gamache is lying spread-eagled in the snow, shot by Jean-Guy. The next chapter begins in the church in Three Pines, with Jean-Guy, head bowed, watching Reine-Marie and Annie walk in. It’s not until we read that whole page and turn to the next that we discover that Annie is wearing a wedding dress. It’s a wedding, not a funeral. At that point, as a reader, I think that I took my first breath in about five minutes. Nicely played, Louise!

    • Janet M. says:

      I agree with Judy S. on her choice of surprises. I was sobbing at that point, sure that this was a funeral for our beloved Gamache and, when it became the wedding of Annie and Jean-Guy, I think I sobbed even harder.

      • KB says:

        I don’t know why, but it never crossed my mind that it was a funeral. That would have been devastating…. I also didn’t guess that it was a wedding.

    • Julie says:

      I think I always thought that Beauvoir would “come back”, and he and Annie would marry. Or at least, I hoped so, so when it happened, I was sure I’d already expected it, hahahaha. The biggest surprise for me was to find that Arnot played a relatively small part in the “Arnot case” as I had been calling it for all this time. When he wasn’t there in prison, I was amazed, and then when it became clear that the Premier of the province was the “mastermind”, it absolutely blew me away! How could someone so evil rise so high?

      Many of you have already mentioned that you don’t think these people were separatists, and I agree. Much more than anything, they wanted absolute power, and obviously, were willing to stop at nothing to get it. I can’t imagine how awful if their plan had succeeded!

      • Aganita Varkentine says:

        I did think Jean Guy would “come back”, and I thought Ruth would bring it about. I saw their odd and strangely tender relationship as leading up to that.

      • Mostlylurker says:

        “How could someone so evil rise so high?”
        Just read this during the post Trump election. There you go.

  2. Liz H says:

    I actually thought LaCoste was the bravest … she had to go on trust. She trusted Gamache (not so hard) and also at the end she had to trust Jean-Guy when he was about to shoot Gamache. She is a remarkable character.
    Talk about stress! In re-reading this book I realized that the first time, the story of the Ouellette quints was totally lost on me and I didn’t remember any of how it was resolved. I was so focused on finding out what happened with Gamache and Renard and Jean-Guy and the Surete that I must have skimmed over the other storyline. It was fun re-reading it because I knew things would be OK in the end.

    • Julie says:

      Wow – who was the bravest? That’s so hard – everyone of our “heroes” had to be heroic! I think it was Beauvoir, because not only did he have to shoot Gamache and hope people understood his real motives, but also, he’d had to climb out of the hole he’d dug himself to even get where he wanted to save Gamache’s life. First he had to save himself, and that was very hard, because I don’t think he thought he was worth saving. So I have to vote for my boy. I have such affection for Beauvoir, even though he’s the most flawed of the group of “good guys” in this series. Or maybe because of that. Who knows?

      • Sylvia H. says:

        Julie, I agree Jean-Guy is the most flawed, um, maybe not quite so flawed as Yvette Nichol, but I think it’s one of the things that makes him so loveable. He certainly has a special place in my heart!

        • Julie says:

          That’s interesting, Sylvia, to hear you describe Nichol as flawed, when I hadn’t really ever thought of her that way. Different, absolutely, and unskilled socially. But I have always thought her kind of true to herself, and just “young and unformed” yet. Meeting Gamache really has helped her come into her own. I said somewhere else that I don’t think she’ll ever be warm and fuzzy, but I don’t necessarily see that as a flaw. Maybe she’s what Ruth was like when she was young? We know she had really only one friend – Jane, and that she hurt Jane terribly in an effort to keep her friendship for herself. Something very misguided and immature – like I could easily see Nichol doing. Somebody else has wondered if Nichol has Aspergers, and I wonder if that couldn’t be the case… we see lots of strange behavior from her, and an exasperation with others who don’t jump to the same conclusions as she does, as quickly.

          I remember being in school and doing math problems. I was good at math when I was quite young, but I didn’t analyze how I was solving the problems – I’d kind of look at the question and “just know” the answer. I was usually right, but then came the dreaded “show your work” comments I’d get on my papers. I couldn’t. I really didn’t know how I’d arrived at the right answer, I did it just… naturally! I became “not good” at math because of this, because I hated that part. This is kind of how I think of Nichol – that she often knows how to do things, but not how to explain how she knows…

          • Cathryne Spencer says:

            Julie, we could have a whole interesting discussion about what we each mean when we say a person is flawed. I do think, though, that I would call Nichole flawed. She is described as someone who is more likely to lie than tell the truth, almost would rather. Maybe that is social ineptitude, it probably is, but I would also name it a flaw. I have no doubt she can change, we are often able to overcome a flaw. But I think it will take time and work for her to develop the trust to respond to an uncomfortable question with the truth, habitually.

          • Cathryne Spencer says:

            Julie, I don’t think Yvette Nicole has the self-knowledge to be true to herself. She doesn’t have a clue as to who she is, but I have no doubt she will get there, and that will be a sight to behold!

          • Julie says:

            Cathryne, you are probably right – Nichol IS flawed – I guess I’m just more willing to give her more time, while Beauvoir is over 40 – he ought to have learned a lot by now… But he is getting there, and so is Nichol. She is so much better than she was in Still Life! You’re probably right about being true to herself, too – it’s probably just stubbornness! I think I see a little of my young self in Nichol, hahaha.

          • Jill collins says:

            Julie, your last paragraph made me so sad. I taught elementary math and I had a terrible time with reminding children to show their work. It did not make me very popular with other math teachers. How I wish we could change the mindset of people who are locked into doing things a certain way. I think that maybe why I enjoy Gamache so much–he’s open to different ways of doing things.

          • Julie says:

            Jill – thank you – it’s funny what we keep with us so many years later, isn’t it?

  3. Katherine Butler says:

    My favorite moment in the book was the scene between Ruth and Jean-Guy when she hands him Rosa and says I love you (is it to her beloved duck or to this man whom she has come to care about?). It offers a distinct view of love and how powerful an emotion it can be. Jean-Guy actually gently responds (almost pleads for help?) to Ruth which is something he had never done before. Redemption comes from understanding the grace of a loving heart.

    • Kathy Bradley says:

      I agree. It is the “I love you” that Jean Guy repeats until he finally gets it…. he is loved.

      • Sylvia H. says:

        Yes, that was the turning point – the moment when despair turned to hope, as we saw in Clara’s wonderful portrait of Ruth.

        • Julie says:

          I agree here. Ruth’s leap of faith that she could help Beauvoir was wonderful to behold. I would love to know if Rosa is still with Beauvoir? Probably not, but I do think that Ruth was giving him hope AND another living being to take care of. He knew how much Rosa meant to Ruth, so he knew what trust she was placing in him. Love that she also gave him Myrna’s car. And Myrna’s response – “So you gave him my car?” I laughed out loud.

    • Barbara vR says:

      Katherine, your statement about redemption was so lovely and true. Hi everyone, I discovered the Gamache series in April and read them all. Have enjoyed reading all of your uses.

  4. Beth Horlitz says:

    I found the scene with Reine-Marie and Annie about to walk down the aisle most poignant. I immediately thought of walking down the aisle of St. John the Evangelist Church behind the coffin of my father in 2004. And realizing then that I had walked down that same aisle in 1967 with my father on my wedding day. I have talked to several friends who had that same experience in their long time family church. Sacramental moments full of the mystery of love and life.
    I rejoiced with Annie that this time she was celebrating her wedding in that church with her mother and father. But I know there will come a time when she once more walks down that aisle in a time of great sadness. And she will remember her wedding day.
    Louise Penny is a great author because in her writing she calls forth from our memories our own moments of love and friendship and happiness and sadness. And such memories enrich and enhance the reading of all her books.

    • Julie says:

      I’ve never thought of this. Not having a “family church”, it has never occurred to me that many people will walk down an aisle at a funeral remembering another walk down the very same aisle…

  5. KB says:

    1. Did you anticipate Renard’s plot? I didn’t anticipate the plot at all. I had wondered why the higher-ups in the Surete had all tried to cover up the corruption, but had thought that the actions on the reservation were discrimination based – like the “moonlight tours” in Saskatoon, where police had a habit of taking drunk and disorderly natives to a power station out of town and if some of them died trying to make it home, “so be it”. I didn’t understand why the higher-ups would ALL want to cover this up, though. That certainly wasn’t the case in Saskatoon. I admit that I hadn’t seen the motive for it being anything else. There were no signs that any of the players were separatists and we didn’t even know of Renard, let alone his involvement. I understood the plot and the motive, but would have enjoyed it more if there were subtle clues in earlier books as to the motive. The first time I read this part of the story, I found it the least enjoyable and, unlike most of Penny’s books, it required a lot of explanation to the reader. This time through, I enjoyed it more.

    • Julie says:

      Me either, KB. I thought it was simply the fact that the tunnel had been built with substandard materials and not been maintained. We are seeing so much of the infrastructure around the US failing now, because it’s too old and has been subjected to too much stress. It should have been replaced before now, and yet, still, there doesn’t seem to be a priority to inspect and repair or replace the bridges, tunnels, etc. that so many people use every day. I worry. Here in Washington, we’ve had a major bridge on I-5 (probably one of the busiest freeways in the country) collapse. Luckily, it was at a time when only a couple of vehicles were on it, and only three people were injured, and no-one killed. But it could easily have been a real mess. This is what I was thinking. I knew that Audrey Villeneuve had been murdered, and why – but I never dreamed that they were actually planning to blow it up and kill all those people. Human life seemed so irrelevant to them. I also never thought that there was someone above Francoeur who was calling the shots.

      • Sylvia H. says:

        Julie, human life didn’t mean much to them when they were planning to blow up La Grande Dam – of course native lives meant least of all. But we got a hint that Francoeur was under someone else at the private dinner. The two of them were alone in the dining room, with bodyguards posted at the door. I didn’t connect the dots myself, but Francoeur’s boss had to be a high up official. I just never thought it would be the Premier. However corruption at high levels is fairly common! Once I found out the top boss was the Premier of Quebec, I was much less surprised than the characters were.

  6. KB says:

    2. Ouellette story line – killer. I thought the killer was one of two: the priest or the “nephew” (who turned out to be the brother). The priest appeared to be hiding things. So did the “nephew” to a certain extent.

    • Julie says:

      I had two thoughts. One was that it was the “nephew” or whatever it was they thought the brother was, though I wasn’t clear on a motive. But I also thought it might have been one of the Quints – the one long thought dead. In my mind, I had pictured the other sisters helping her fake her death, so she could live in anonymity, and then, later, when she saw Constance making friends and coming out of the shadow of the Quints, she killed her out of jealousy. Of course, Louise has already done the “faked their death” routine, and I should have realized that she’s not so short of ideas that she’d have to revisit some territory already covered, hahaha.

    • Sylvia H. says:

      Actually, Andre Pineault was posing as the Quints’ uncle, not nephew – he was pretending to be their mother’s brother, so that would make him their uncle even though he was younger than the girls. It happens quite a bit in large families.

      • Julie says:

        That’s what I thought, Sylvia, but someone else said nephew, and another said cousin, so I thought I’d misremembered.

  7. KB says:

    3. My favourite scene(s). My favourites were when Ruth gave Rosa to Jean-Guy for safe-keeping (along with Myrna’s car)….classic Ruth!; when the henchman came into the church and was met by Nichol, dressed as an old woman; when Nichol confessed about leaking the video of the raid and her reason for it; and when Jean-Guy realized that he wasn’t abandoned by Gamache, but had been saved. Although I’m not against weddings, I thought that there was so much that had to be left out in order to there – it could have been another book.

    • Julie says:

      I loved the wedding, and was so happy it was there. After all the anguish and terror, I NEEDED a really happy ending. The wedding made it clear to me that Beauvoir was better, that Armand was on the mend, that he and Reine Marie had found their place in Three Pines and that all had been forgiven by everyone involved. I am a little worried about where we go from here, but I did like the high note this book ended on.

      What’s interesting to me is that I didn’t remember this last scene at all. I’d read the book so quickly the first time, I barely noticed what was going on that wasn’t part of the bigger story. I knew that Gamache was successful in shutting Renard and Francoeur down, but I didn’t really remember what they were planning to do, and I’d totally forgotten that Arnot wasn’t really a part of it, and I had also forgotten the details of the happy ending. Oddly enough, I remembered the Ouellet storyline in it’s entirety, including who the murderer was. I think that, because I read this without the tension present in the other parts of the story, I was more able to absorb things. Also, because I’d known quite a bit about the Dionne Quintuplets, this story fit in and around what I already knew, so was somewhat familiar to me.

      • Sylvia H. says:

        Julie and KB, I found the wedding sheer joy, such a blessed release from the terrible tension of the previous chapters, but I agree with you, KB, about the amount of storyline that had been left out. For one thing, I thought the conversation between Armand and Jean-Guy as they were dancing very strange. I couldn’t help thinking that all that should have already been said between them, but since it apparently had not been said before, I keep fantasizing about the two men having a day together to talk and catch up with each other. I pictured Reine-Marie going in to Montreal for a day with Annie, while Jean-Guy drives down to Three Pines for the day with Armand. Then Reine-Marie brings Annie down with her, they all have dinner together and Jean-Guy and Annie go back home together. I have enjoyed this sweet daydream immensely!

  8. Suzanne Schafer-Coates says:

    I have listened to Gamache (I mean Ralph Cosham) read this book to me through I had read all the Three Pines mysteries until The Beautiful Mystery, which I listened to (it left me in despair), and then How the Light Gets In (which left me a happy basket case). (And then I got books 1-8 on Audible and listened to them all in order.) Anyway, as a pastor who is called on from time to time to speak for people who are lost to addictions, I have never come across an understanding of addiction so clearly stated as when Inspector Brunel says “It’ll steal your health, your friends, family, careers. Judgment. It’ll steal your soul. And when there’s nothing left, it takes your life.” I have repeated these words many times now, and bless Louise Penny for giving them to me.

  9. KB says:

    4. Who showed the most courage? This is an unfair question. So much courage was shown by so many. Gamache showed courage long-term. He was the only person who was aware of the full potential risk. He lived through the decimation of his department and slowly and methodically spread his people throughout the Surete. He didn’t let anyone else carry the burden or the risk with him. He trusted Jerome and Therese, when so many had shown themselves unworthy of trust. He trusted Nichol. He trusted Lacoste. He was willing to give Jean-Guy another chance.
    The villagers showed courage. Knowing that Francoeur and crew were descending on the village and their lives were at risk, they chose to put themselves directly into the path of danger to protect Gamache and his friends.
    Lacoste showed courage in trusting in Gamache and following her instincts in letting Jean-Guy shoot.
    Jean-Guy showed courage in (finally) choosing to pull himself out of his addicted haze in order to save Gamache – to stand up for loving and being loved.
    Each of these was significant. To pick “the most courageous” minimizes the strength that each of the other people showed. For Nichol, who had lacked courage and integrity, this was a huge step. Likewise for Jean-Guy. It was more in character for Lacoste and Gamache (and the villagers).

    • Sylvia H. says:

      I also remember when Yvette Nichol played along with Gamache when he knew Lemieux was a spy and she turned up at the exact right moment and hit Lemieux just as he was about to shoot Gamache. He called her “a very courageous young woman”. She had saved his life then, so I felt she was trustworthy in this book.

      • Julie says:

        I trust Nichol’s intentions, but I do think she’s a bit of a “loose cannon”, so wouldn’t necessarily trust her to do the right thing. But she has totally been there when Gamache needed her, and I love that she “fessed up” to releasing the video. That took guts.

        • Sylvia H. says:

          I agree with you, Julie, and I wonder if perhaps Lacoste can train Yvette into a valuable and trustworthy team member. I think Isabelle has the strength and the patience to do it. I do hope so, because I believe Yvette Nichol has great potential, and might learn better from a woman role model than a man. I also think she needs to get out of the family home and have a place on her own.

          • Julie says:

            I think getting her own home would do Nichol so much good! She would be taking steps toward really putting old unlikable Yvette behind her! Getting away from her father, and also being responsible for finding and paying for her own place, cooking her own meals, etc. – the independence that gives a young person is very valuable!

  10. KB says:

    5. Gamache telling Lacoste he was resigning. I thought that Gamache was actually letting her know that he was resigning….mainly. I was hoping that it was a signal of something else. It did seem to be an odd time for him to take the time to let her know.

    • Julie says:

      That never occurred to me that it was a “signal”, yet in retrospect, it makes perfect sense. It needed to be something that could be read by “the enemy” without worry, yet would reach all those who were waiting for “the word”. I also love that he told Lacoste that it would be coming, letting her spread the word to be on the lookout for it, as everyone needed to jump in and act at once.

      I DID think it was his way of being able to act as an individual, rather than as an employee of the Surete, which probably gave him more freedom to act. Having all his people scattered throughout the Surete turned out to be the saving grace, rather than the punishment Francoeur thought it would be!

      • Sylvia H. says:

        I just thought Armand had come to the end of his rope, and had decided to follow Marc Breau’s advice and retire. With Beauvoir gone, Lacoste is his second-in-command, so it would simply be the courteous thing to do to inform her ahead of the actual resignation, along with giving her instructions to send the word out when she received his letter. It didn’t occur to me to look any deeper than that, so I was delightfully surprised when Gamache told Francoeur that sending word out to everyone had been a signal to his own still loyal agents to rise up and take over their departments! Brilliant! Francoeur paled as he knew the game was up! In the fight to the death, thank goodness Gamache was quicker on the draw than Francoeur.

  11. Dana Schafer says:

    1. I anticipated the tunnel or bridge being destroyed but not the motive. I am not convinced that they were separatists or psychopaths using the cause of separatism to gain power.
    2. I did better with the quint story, and caught on that there was a sibling when the mother was seen throwing a hat back into the cabin and shutting the door.

  12. KB says:

    6. Old sins have long shadows. This is a theme in most of the books, from Ben/Timmer and Still Life on. It should not have been surprising that it came out again in How The Light Gets In. Jealousy and resentment, cover-up of an earlier “assisted” death sat and stewed for a long time and was brought to the surface when Constance was ready (finally) to have outside friends. That made Andre afraid that the truth would come out. For Renard and Francoeur, it is almost inconceivable that these men would be so charismatic and powerful that they would be able to attract enough people who put aside their own morality to blindly follow their lead, especially without being in on the plan. But similar things have happened throughout history.

    • Sylvia H. says:

      Yes, let’s never forget Hitler. He was charismatic and had a huge following who got suckered in to doing things they never would have done for anyone else. That kind of charisma can be extremely dangerous!

  13. KB says:

    7. Ruth and Rosa. Wow. Ruth and Rosa mean a lot. Love and protection. Loss, hope, redemption. Mother-child. Friendship.

  14. KB says:

    8. Surprise that stood out most for me: that Jean-Guy loved Gamache enough to risk shooting and that Lacoste had enough faith to believe (1) in that love; (2) that there was a need to stop Gamache from reaching the school house; and (3) that providence would allow Jean-Guy in his addicted fog to stop Gamache without killing him.

  15. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    1. Did you anticipate Renard’s plot? No, I had no idea that the separatist idea was in play. It was difficult to think of an individual (Renard) planning and plotting for decades to reach such a goal. I knew Sylian Francoeur was a bigot and power hungry but not that he was involved in a plan to bring down the Canadian Government’s rule of Quebec by blowing up the Champlain Bridge and bringing on chaos.
    Reading the book, and now discussing it makes me fearful.
    I do not believe Renard nor Francoeur were separatists. They had no sense of patriotism for Quebec. They did not respect the history nor the people of Quebec. The creation of a “new Nation” and fame and power were the goals.
    I thought the plot involved the lack of repair of tunnels and therefore highway and bridge construction and repair. This was based on Annie(?) at the beginning of the book. I thought they were getting rich by kickbacks from corrupt contractors.

    • Dana Schafer says:

      I agree that they were not separatists. Certainly their values are not like any separatists I know. They were power hungry and saw Quebec separatism as an avenue for more power.

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