Postcards from Three Pines: How the Light Gets In

How the Light Gets In Postcard
“Strange year. Michael has been diagnosed with Dementia and I just got word that HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN is a #1 on the NY Times list. There really is a crack in everything.”

St. Thomas’s Church in Three Pines was quiet, just a slight rustle of paper as the guests read the order of service. Four monks walked in, heads bowed, and formed a semi-circle in front of the altar.

There was a pause, and then they began to sing. Their voices blending, joining. Swirling. Then becoming one. It was like listening to one of Clara’s paintings. With colors and swirls and the play of light and dark. All moving around a calm center.

A plainchant, in a plain church.

The only decoration in St. Thomas’s was a single stained- glass window,
of perpetually young soldiers. The window was positioned to catch the
morning light, the youngest light.

Jean-Guy Beauvoir bowed his head, weighed down by the solemnity of
the moment. Then, behind him, he heard a door open and everyone rose
to their feet.

The chant came to an end and there was a moment of quiet before another
voice was heard. Beauvoir didn’t need to look to know who it was.

Gabri stood at the front of the church, looking down the aisle, past the
wooden pews, and sang in his clear tenor,

Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering,

Around Beauvoir, the congregation joined in. He heard Clara’s voice. Olivier’s and Myrna’s. He even made out Ruth’s thin, reedy, unwavering voice. A doughboy voice. Unsure but unyielding.

But Jean-Guy had no voice. His lips moved, but no sound came out. He looked down the aisle, and waited.

There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

He saw Madame Gamache first, walking slowly. And beside her, Annie.

Radiant in her wedding dress. Walking down the aisle on her mother’s

And Jean-Guy Beauvoir began to cry. With joy, with relief. With sorrow for all that had happened. For all the pain he’d caused. He stood in the morning light of the boys who never came home, and he wept.

He felt a nudge on his arm and saw a linen handkerchief being offered. Beauvoir took it, and looked into the deep brown eyes of his best man.

“You need it.” Jean-Guy gave it back.

“I have another.” Armand Gamache brought one from his breast pocket and wiped his eyes.

The two men stood shoulder-to-shoulder at the front of the packed chapel, weeping and watching as Annie and her mother walked down the aisle.

Annie Gamache was about to marry her first, and last, love.

Discussion on “Postcards from Three Pines: How the Light Gets In

  1. Jill Blouch says:

    Just now, when I read where you wrote”And Jean-Guy Beauvoir began to cry.” I began to cry too, remembering everything he had been through. Your characters have my heart! <3

  2. Kathleen collister says:

    Just finished reading thm all for a third, or is it fourth, time. Love this scene so very much. Thank you Louise. I am here and I am FINE.

  3. Jane Marshall says:

    Thank you.

  4. Pat Wiggins says:

    I must re-read all your books! I’ve read and listened to all of them mutlitpe times. Some are more favorite than others, but all are favorites. I love listening to them. Both of your readers are perfect. My husband laughs and says he wonders if he should be jealous as I often listen while in bed :).

  5. Helen says:

    So moving. I love how you have used Leonard Cohen’s words. They hold such meaning in my life. I also love, how when I read one of your passages, the whole scene comes rushing back into my memory.

  6. Teresa Offord says:

    This is my favorite book in the series (so far). I,too, cried.

  7. Rachael says:

    My first book and probably my favorite, however, they are all my favorites! Thank you.

  8. Vicki Meesseman says:

    This book was the first book I had read of this series. I liked the title and picture on the cover and read the description and read all Louise’s books that summer and breathlessly wait with so much excitement for her new books. That was 2013. Her writing is much appreciated and enjoyed. Thanks Louise!

  9. Margery Peterson says:

    One of my favorite passages in any book I’ve ever read…and I am a voracious reader. You don’t just read this passage, you see it, you hear it, you feel it. Like several others, at first, I was certain it was a funeral or memorial service. Beautiful writing!

  10. Elaine Williams says:

    Louise your books give us hope and grace at a time when we need them most. Clearly this comes from deep within yourself.
    Thank you for sharing your gift.

  11. Vance says:

    Such a beautiful, powerful piece.

  12. Meredith Berryman says:

    My favorite of all the books! That quote runs through my head all of the time. I love Three Pines and everyone there.

  13. Sara Marsala says:

    I read that scene with a lump in my throat and my heart a-thumping! I have never felt so emotionally invested in literary characters before. Thanks for the richness of your writing!

  14. Denise says:

    I always cry at weddings and this was no exception. <3

  15. Mary Ellen Stanton says:

    My very favorite Gamache book. When I read it, I cried, my heart pounded, and I rejoiced at the ending.

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