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.”
AN EXCERPT FROM HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN

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
Arm.

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. Maryellen Q. says:

    Thank you so very much for your transportive, brilliant writing and for creating this world for us. I love getting lost in Three Pines.

  2. Sandra Melanson says:

    I, too, watch and read your books. They have been such a gift in my life.
    Thank you Louise!

  3. patricia flynn says:

    We have a precious family member, just 71 years old, and we were unprepared except for your inspiring journey wth Michael’s illness. There is still a future! There can be many lovely days ahead together and not to despair. You shared so much with us, your fans, beyond your wonderful books!

  4. Gitte Collins says:

    This particular scene makes me cry with joy every single time I read or listen to it, since I also have all the books on Audible! Your words in your books never fail to move me, either to laughter or tears! You have such a gift! Can’t wait for Kingdom of the Blind! Already on pre-order! ☺️❤️

  5. Lorrie weeks says:

    I want to go back and savor it all over again❤️

  6. Carol M. Davis says:

    I so appreciate the clarity of your vision as it unfolds onto the paper, transporting us into the scene. This is a marvelous example of your craft. Thank you, Louise, for enfolding us into your stories with such artistry.

  7. Orion Baker says:

    A wonderful moment from a book full of emotion.

  8. Susan Martin-Lesnik says:

    I agree with all the comments above. The emotionality of this scene is still with me, every time I reread it. Tears over the sadness, and the happiness of it, always.

  9. Pat Boland says:

    Love this book! I am currently listening to the audio version in my car – my second time to enjoy this story although I may have to park when it gets to this part of the story. Great mantra for me about there being a crack in everything . . . Thank you, Louise

  10. Robyn says:

    When I read the last words in The Beautiful Mystery, I closed the book and placed it on my lap and yelled “I hate Louis Penny”!! From the other room my husband laughingly called back “You finished it already?? Did she leave you hanging again??” I was devastated to have to wait for a whole year completely saddened and disturbed by the enormous divide between Jean-Guy and Armande and the promise of betrayal sure to follow! Little did I know what was to follow!!!
    Little did I suspect HTLGI would rock my world to such “OMG” proportions! YES, the passage above is fabulous, touching, etc., BUT, what came right before it made it even more tear jerking. I truly believe, I have never read a more nerve wracking, dramatic, heart rending, self-sacrificing, loving section in any book!
    Who would’a thunk – Love means never having to say you are sorry for shooting me!!
    I re-read those pages 8, 9, maybe even 10 times!
    And, the responses I’ve received from others when I have asked them if they could shoot someone they loved to save their life – Whoa! I have been laughed at, scoffed at, even told I was crazy. Yet, I believe, if I were an expert marksman, in the same situation, my heart wouldn’t hesitate. God Love You Louis Penny! Keep proving to us that the “look of love” comes in all shapes and many sizes!! Thank You! ! !

  11. Alber says:

    This was the first book I read and decided to start at the beginning with Still Life. How the Light Gets in appealed because I have listened to Leonard Cohen since the 1960’s.
    I just finished it for the second time. I re-read it when if came up in the order they are written.
    At the end of summer, I read The beautiful Mystery while staying in Magog not far from the Abbey and the monks.
    My love of Canada, its magnificent churches and its welcoming people are again part of my life.
    Your books capture an Old French Canadian way of thinking and living.
    I am looking for a ”pier de Terre” to spend a few months living among the people of the Townships.

  12. Stephanie Saxon Levine says:

    First the note from Louise, then, the passage, made me wish Gamache had an extra handkerchief to offer me.
    These postcards, as well as the books, are keepers for sure!

  13. Judy Dimmick says:

    I feel like I know both Jean-Guy Beauvoir and Armand Gamache and thank God Jean-Guy came through to me what is where the Light Got In! It is such a blessing when an author brings characters into our lives in such vivid portrayal that we can’t wait until they are with us again.–Thank you, Louise!

  14. Julia Vilardi says:

    I have read all your wonderful books. I found you late and was able to start with #one and read all in order. Ilove all the characters and Three Pines is a. magical place. After reading the above comments, I am going to begin again slower this time and savor every word
    Thank you for such pleasure.

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