The Annotated Three Pines – A Trick of the Light

From Pg. 3
Now, within feet of the end of her journey all she wanted to do was run away home to Three Pines. To open the wooden gate. To race up the path lined with apple trees in spring bloom. To slam their front door shut behind her. To lean against it. To lock it. To press her body against it, and keep the world out.

Louise’s Thoughts:
OH, how often have we all felt like this. Perhaps fleetingly, perhaps not even seriously. But it’s there. That thought…I want to go home. Where I’m safe and sovereign. I’ve felt like that just before dinner parties. Just before events. Just before getting on planes. Exactly as Clara feels, just before her big show. As she looks at the closed door. But – the strangest thing happens, if we keep going. Through the door. The party, the event, the journey are so much better than we realized, or feared. O wanted to write about Clara’s fears. Her courage. But also her relationship to her home.

From Pg. 5
They’re laughing, thought Clara. They’re laughing at my art.
And in that instant the body of the poem surfaced. The rest of it was revealed.
Oh, no no no, thought Clara. Still the dead one lay moaning. I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning
.

Louise’s Thoughts:
Much like the passage above, I really wanted to show Clara as both brave and vulnerable. And to explore what her art means to her. As you might know, while I suspect all the main character have parts of me inside them (especially the less savoury parts!), I am, for the most part, Clara. So it is always both a joy and a challenge to write her. To look deep inside myself and own my insecurities. And reflect them in Clara. This book in particular has a great deal about my life.

From Pg. 6
And he’d soon realize this was not the home of some retiring professor of French literature. The shelves were packed with case histories, with books on medicine and forensics, with tomes on Napoleonic and common law, fingerprinting, genetic coding, wounds and weapons. Murder. Armand Gamache’s study was filled with it. But still, even among the death, space was made for books on philosophy and poetry.

Louise’s Thoughts:
What joy it always is, to write about the books on someone’s shelves, and the insights we get into that person. I find it baffling when people say they won’t or don’t read a certain type of book. Closing themselves off from a whole world. I wanted this passage to quietly reflect, through books, what sort of person Armand Gamache is. Not just a detective, but a human being.

From Pg. 11
Despite himself, Beauvoir laughed. “There is strong shadow where there is much light.”
Annie’s look of astonishment made Beauvoir laugh again.
“Let me guess,” she said. “You didn’t make that up.”
Beauvoir smiled and nodded. “Some German guy said it. And then your father said it.”
“A few times?”
“Often enough that I wake up screaming it in the middle of the Night.”

Louise’s Thoughts:
Ha – again, this passage is about relationships. We get, I hope, insight into Jean-Guy, about Annie, their relationship with each other, and their relationship to Armand. Not just as father/mentor, but they know him. And he knows them. There is clear affection there. And the whole light/shadow theme is touched on. It is, and becomes, a vital motif in all the books.

From Pg. 61
The village of Three Pines, he noticed, was dotted with lilac bushes. Not the new hybrids with double blooms and vibrant colors. These were the soft purples and whites of his grandmother’s garden. When had they been young? Had doughboys returning from Vimy and Flanders and Passchendaele marched past these same bushes? Had they breathed in the scent and known, at last, they were home? At peace.

Louise’s Thoughts:
This passages highlights something vital in the books – that past and present live comfortably together in Three Pines. It’s one of the things I was searching for when I began the series. I wanted to create a place where there was predictability, heritage, continuity, even as the world evolved. There are deep roots in the village, going back generations – like the lilac bushes, like the homes, like the pines on the village green, that don’t change. But plenty, perforce, does change. Three Pines isn’t a time capsule. Far from it. It’s a vibrant, very much alive, community. But what makes it vibrant is its very stability. It doesn’t descend into chaos. It evolves. Grows. Changes. While honouring, valuing, protecting its roots. There is a beauty, a grace, a memory about the village. A peace and calm that come with stability. The lilacs aren’t just a bush, they are the embodiment of the roots, that helps the village survive and transcend threats and uncertain times.

Discussion on “The Annotated Three Pines – A Trick of the Light

  1. Diane Biggs says:

    Your insight to human emotions and thoughts are phenomenal. I always find myself completely absorbed in your characters and can relate to many of their feelings..even Ruth at times lol.

  2. Alice Briggs says:

    Just yesterday I loaned my copy of Still Life to yet another friend and told her how much she will enjoy: entering the world of Three Pines; and becoming engaged with its inhabitants and all those in the Gamache orbit. We become so invested in the many facets of these characters!

    • Susie Scoppa says:

      I have best friends reading my 2 copies of Still Life. I can’t remember who borrowed my other copies. I trust they are circulating!

  3. Maradel Sager says:

    We are so vulnerable….if we can just remember(difficult) that we expect something to be the hardest, the worst, it quite often turns out to be the best. And home, our safe haven…thank you for your thoughts again, Louise….always special, always full of insights…

  4. Rebecca E. says:

    I so enjoy your and recommend work to others.

  5. Beverly says:

    Just reread all your books in anticipation of your new one in August. That makes these posts especially wonderful since the books are fresh in my mind. Thank you.

  6. Jane Backus says:

    I think the places I hold most dearly are my “Three Pines”…that’s part of why I’m so drawn to your books and the beautifully crafted characters. Many of these places struggle economically but it’s the moments I spend there and the people with whom I share time that matter. I’m learning to let go of the aspects I can’t change and treasure the golden times. Indeed, these are often “tricks if the light”! Thanks!!

  7. Mary says:

    As always the insights into the books are helpful and enjoyable. But I wish there could be a few from deeper in the books, when, so to speak, the merde hits the fan.

  8. Diane Henderson says:

    I’ve always said that reading gives you a better idea of how others think, or what makes them tick. You do such an excellent job of portraying this that I am always engrossed in your characters and love them all!

  9. The last, p 61, really touched me. You meld the whole of the past and present together with such a small thing–a lilac bush. It is the small things which we spot amongst the larger picture which reminds us of the whole. I love how you do that.

  10. Bonnie Rick says:

    Beautiful passages and wonderful insights behind your thoughts. The past and the present…
    You make even difficult moments seem positive and survivable.
    I hope you are right. The gift of a safe haven is beyond price, as are those who know us so well and our relationships to them.
    The lilac bushes sum it all up in their age.
    Thank you!

  11. Marie Rutter says:

    I just read Kingdom of the Blind in preparation for your new book and found myself wondering what artist or artists Clara’s creations would be similar to.

  12. Three Pines makes me think of Brigadoon. A magical place,not perfect,not without its trials but yet a place we all long to find.

  13. Mikal Kitchens says:

    I love the Annotated Three Pines series! Thank you for sharing your intentions when writing the selected passages. It makes me appreciate and enjoy your books even more!

  14. Karen Lewis says:

    I look forward to your annotations. Thank you for sharing!

  15. Christine says:

    Love reading these. Thank you. See you in San Diego!

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