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. LJ says:

    “How the Light Gets In,” and “A Trick of the Light” may be my two favorite books. But how does one compare perfection?

  2. Kit says:

    All these comments are so wonderful. And such a pleasure to read. Penny’s books are truly a gift to those of us who have discovered her. Her writing is beautiful and the world she brings us all into is SO of that small corner of Quebec in which she lives and in which I had the pleasure of inhabiting during my 4 years of Eastern Township University. Thank you Ms. Penny!!!!

  3. Linda Eckert says:

    My heart goes out to you, Louise. I call you by your first name because I feel a deep kinship with you and great admiration for you craftsmanship , your faithfulness, your strength and resilience. What an awesome, wrenching, joyful scene you have created for generations of readers. Keep writing, my dear, you have so much profound wisdom to share.

  4. Wonderful poignant writing ! This series of postcards is such a wonderful reminder of past books … can’t wait for the new one ! And watching every day for details of the New York event … we are visiting from England and so thrilled it coincides ! Just hope we can get tickets !

  5. Pat Werths says:

    Such a beautiful scene. The emotional tension of Jean-Guy, and then “seeing” Armand there, when we thought…possibly. Oh, such a roller coaster, in a few sentences.

  6. Jill says:

    A real page turner with Kleenex.

  7. Reo Haynes says:

    Such a visual scene for minds to enjoy!!

  8. Susan Mooney says:

    So love all of the books!❤️

  9. Patti says:

    I admit to reading and listening to this book MANY times. It is my favorite. I hunt out the CD’s so often. I like to listen to the Beautiful Mystery and then jump to HTLGI. Such a moving, revealing work of art. And I so enjoy having passages from previous stories come back to mean even more in the new story. Like, lemon meringue pie on lips. Billy Williams is a hero. It ties in from one story to another reminding us that ANY interaction we share with other people has an impact on our lives, whether we realize it or not! Our words and actions matter.

    My heart swells with love and emotions for these ‘imaginary’ friends. Three Pines and all the inhabitants remind me that there is still good and caring in the world.

  10. Rose says:

    This is my favorite Gamache book. Thank you for posting this moving scene. I love all of your books. Please keep writing.

  11. Jane Stone Daugherty says:

    Thank you for posting this postcard. I am going to read this one again.

  12. Jennifer Ratzlaff says:

    Beautiful and evocative. I have enjoyed each of the books and look forward to the new one.

  13. Of course I cried and am having trouble typing because it is difficult to see through tears. I love this so much. The images are so moving. They fill my heart.

  14. Marianne Dickson says:

    I have read this book four times. This passage is so beautifully observed it moves me to tears each time I read this book. Really,have never come across such an auther as Louise Penny. Now we are waiting for November and new book. Thank you Louise,we are so grateful for your amazing writing that am sure colours all our lives.

  15. Fran Wheeler says:

    Such exquisite beauty described for all of us who loved Annie and Jean-guy and Armand and everyone. Such joy described so well. And, of course, Anthem by Leonard Cohen was perfect, as I often find it to be. Thank you, Louise.

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