He reluctantly raised his eyes from the glowing circle of light that was Three Pines up to the darkness and the old Hadley house, sitting like the error that proved the point. It stood outside the circle, on the verge of the village. Beyond the pale. (A Fatal Grace, page 155, Hardcover Edition)

OLD MANSION HOUSE HADLEY HOUSENot nearly as intimidating—it’s pink!—as Louise makes it out to be, the Old Mansion House serves as the inspiration for the old Hadley House in A Fatal Grace.

Situated on the eastern shore of Lake Memphremagog, the Old Mansion House was built in 1889 and once held the distinction of being “Quebec’s oldest hotel in continuous operation.” The nearly 5000 square foot Victorian Manse began its life as a coaching inn serving travelers making their way between Montreal and Boston. It later operated as a fishing and ski lodge as well as a boarding house before becoming what it is today, a vacation rental home that can accommodate up to 20 guests comfortably.

Old Mansion House2Inside the Old Mansion House you’ll find eight bedrooms, each with its own bath. Four of the bedrooms have access to balconies which offer spectacular views of the more than 2 acres of woods and spacious lawns.

Positioned perfectly just north of Vermont and a little over an hour from Montreal, the Old Mansion House is the ideal getaway where, depending on the season; fishing, skiing, sailing, and hiking are just over a hill or two away.

While idyllic, the Old Mansion House may actually hide some of the menace Louise describes so well in A Fatal Grace. Rumor has it, years ago, a young girl fell from her horse and died. If you find yourself sitting on the wraparound veranda late at night, and the moon is sitting just right, you might happen to see her galloping to and fro.

For more information about the Old Mansion House, please see www.mansionhousegeorgeville.com.

How did you picture the old Hadley House when you read A Fatal Grace?

What other structures from Three Pines stand out to you?


You are right, it was creamy yellow. Our family lived across the road from the Mansion when Doug McGowan owned it and it was a fisherman’s boarding house serving mostly American fishermen.
I worked there a few summers.
One incidence was when new owner’s that had bought the building from Doug McGowan, I believe, and were doing some internal work. One of their work events was to pain the large kitchen that had a long, sturdily built, serving table in it.
The mister had put a can of paint on the hot wood stove in the morning and left it. At one point the can exploded and paint was blown all around the kitchen and the paint can area caught fire.
One of the young boys came over to our place hollering that their house was on fire. My brother Allan and I raced over to the building and attacked the fire.
Our knowledge was to keep a room closed and don’t let air in so we kept all the windows closed. The kitchen was completely f

Robert, do you happen to remember the year the fire occurred? I think it may have been my grandparents who bought the house and had the fire.

I think, and always have, that L’Ancestrale in Magog would have been a better model for the Old Mansion House in Georgeville. We loved staying there during our winter ski treks at Orford. The wood inside is spectacular, the breakfasts are to die for and there’s a hot tub in the snowy back yard. Magical. It’s NOT PINK

I imagined the house to be of cold, dark gray stone. A covered porch across the front, blocking any light that tried to get in the windows. Steep stone steps, a very small yard.
The interior would be of dingy, old wallpaper; lights of cobwebby brass. Many shadows, a place devoid of cheer.

I like the description of the Hadley House. I have no trouble picturing the mansion. Three Pines is my memory of a country village.
Our family lived across the road from this pink house . Maybe this shouldn’t be said but I can’t resist. This was the Rainbow House when Doug McGowan owned it. It catered mostly to the American fishermen.
I worked there in the summer sometimes, cutting the lawns with a push mower, hauled ice blocks out of the ice house and chipped them up to pack in the day’s ice chests so the packed lunches that the fishermen took out on the lake with them would keep and the caught fish would be kept on the ice, emptied wash tubs on wash day and carried the water out to the big garden to put on the current bushes and so on.
It was a pleasant mansion situated up the hill away from the center of the Village. I couldn’t imagine a more appropriate mansion for the Hadley House although the Rainbow House was a happy house with rooms outfitted as befitted the times, a big dining room, a big summer kitchen, and always happy people working and happy people as guests.
The House was sold and one cold, sunny, spring morning when the new owner was opening the House for cleaning, repair, and painting he put some paint in capped gallon cans on the big old hot kitchen stove to warm up.
They warmed up, got pretty hot in fact! The tops blew off and burning paint exploded out of the cans and onto the old dry walls and floot of the kitchen. My brother Allan and I were sitting in our kitchen when one of the kids from over at the House came banging on the door hollering at the top of his lungs, wanting us to come help put a fire out in the kitchen.
Gee! we could move fast then! When we arrived we could hardly see flames, the acrid paint smoke was so thick. The doors and windows had been kept shut which is what we had been told to do – starve the fire for oxygen. Now everything is the reverse – open the widnows to let the smoke and fumes out.
My brother and I found a couple of pails from the washing/wood shed attached to the kitchen and crawled along the kitchen floor and under the big prep table where there was less smoke, filled the pails with water at the sink, and crawled back on the floor to the big stove and threw water on the cans to cool them.
A few trips of this nature were made and then the volunteer fire crew arrived and took over. They were local heroes for they saved that big old mansion from burning to the ground and that is the same mansion, somewhat renovated, that we see today.
The McGowan House in the Village also catered to the fishermen and is located at the Village wharf. It was owned then by Henyry McGown and is still in use.
The third “boarding house” in Georgeville was Cedar Cliffs, owned by my Grandmother, Grace Heath. It was up the driveway that ran beside Bachelder’s house and garage. It was sold and the new owners tore the old mansion down and replaced it with the modern day house that stands in its place today.

We are so fortunate to have Louise Penny writing her tales of mystery, country life, and various relationships. May she not be too fast to put her pen down, or in current terms, not too fast to abandon the keyboard.

Thanks Bob. Sounds like you could write some country tales of your own. That was a wonderful story and so nice of you to take the time to share.

Wow – thank you, Bob, for those wonderful memories! I felt the flames and smelled the fumes from Seattle! Another layer to the stories – I love that it was on a hill looking down on the village, too.

I, too, pictured the house as dark and spooky, overgrown. From the description I got the sense that CC didn’t really spend much on the house to fix it up either!

Interesting that this house has a front porch across the whole width of the front. I pictured walking up a sidewalk to a door, but no porch – or at most, a small roof just a bit wider than the door to keep the rain off visitors as they wait for a response to their knock. The porch on this house makes it appear so much friendlier than I’d imagined. Maybe the porch was added by the couple in “Brutal Telling.”

I’d like to see the structure and surroundings that were the inspiration for the resort in the book where the daughter was crushed by her father’s statue. And the village green in Three Pines, and the bistro with the price tags hanging off all the furniture and the fireplaces at both ends of the room.

I saw that house as gray, shrouded in uncertainty as to the welcome or unwelcome you would receive.

I have enjoyed reading the posts on the Hadley House. My impression of the house has been mostly expressed. I’ll add it anyway. The Hadley House sat on a knoll surrounded by dark green Firs and soaring Pines. Fallen limbs, the debris from storms, were scattered about the overgrown shrubbery.
The house was painted deep gray. Paint hung in strips from some places and was cracked and alligatored in others. The shutters needed repairing. Some sagged and hung by only one bracket. Missing slats caused some to appear gap toothed. Many years growth of vines ran everywhere…..over shutters, porch railings, windows and steps.
Worse than the physical appearance was that something, that unrest, the desire to run away from it.

I pictured the old Hadley house as a huge weather-beaten neglected old house with all the paint worn off, shutters dangling by one hinge, rickety steps, broken down veranda situated at the top of a hill overlooking Three Pines. It would be three or four stories high with a turret and a widow’s walk as well.

Forgodingly dark green, paint peeling, with moldering dark maroon window surrounds, gray broken, collapsing stairs to a porch overgrown with ancient shrubs and climbing vines. The whole structure emanates an aura of danger and gloominess that prickles the hairs on the back of my neck and says “Run!”

The Hadley House looked up dark, with remnants of darkest green siding and maroon wooden window shutters, gray collapsing stairs, and lots of overgrown dark menacing shrubbery half hiding the structure, emanating an auro of doom and forboding. I would love to see Clara’s home.

Me too, Karen, and also Jane’s and Emilie Longpre’s, but I’m also dying to see Olivier’s Bistro!

Interesting!I thought actually Hadley house is dark,old and very frightened!I was taken aback when read that it is pink in the real life! I am looking forward to August!)

I pictured the house without ornamentation, very plain maybe with shingles and probably grey like everyone else. Grey is easier to take care of them pink. I think I really would love to see the church. Churches in lost towns…… intriguing.

Yes, both. I have enjoyed the movie many times and I still watch with a box of tissues at hand.
Charles Nelson Rielly was in the TV series and a local mortician looked like his identical twin. I was always tempted to mention that to him but thought he had probably heard it many times.

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