Postcards from Three Pines: A Fatal Grace

A Fatal Grace Postcard
“Nice and warm in the house, but bitter cold outside, Merde! Now I have to write a second one. Setting it at Christmas. Pond freezing over- love to go out and skate but typing away by the fire. Actually really nice.”

As people arrived food was taken to the familiar kitchen and too many casseroles and pies were stuffed into the oven. Bowls overflowing with candied ginger and chocolate-covered cherries and sugar-encrusted fruit sat on the sideboard beside puddings and cakes and cookies. Little Rose Lévesque stared up at the bûche de Noël, the traditional Christmas log, made of rich cake and coated with the thickest of icing, her tiny, chubby fingers curling over the tablecloth embroidered with Santa Claus and reindeer and Christmas trees. In the living room Ruth and Peter made drinks, Ruth pouring her Scotch into what Peter knew to be a vase.

The lights on the tree glowed and the Vachon children sat beside it reading the tags on the mountain of brightly wrapped presents, looking for theirs. The fire was lit, as were a few of the guests. In the dining room the gate-legged table was open full and groaning with casseroles and tortières, homemade molasses-baked beans and maple-cured ham. A turkey sat at the head of the table like a Victorian gentleman. The center of the table was saved every year for one of Myrna’s rich and vibrant flower arrangements. This year splays of Scotch pine surrounded a magnificent red amaryllis. Nestled into the pine forest was a music box softly
playing the Huron Christmas Carol and resting on a bed of mandarin oranges, cranberries and chocolates.

Olivier carried the whole poached salmon to the table. A punchwas made for the children, who, unsupervised, stuffed themselves with candy. Thus did Émilie Longpré hold her réveillon, the party that spanned Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, an old Québecois tradition, just as her mother and grandmère had done in this very same home on this very same night. Spotting Em turning in circles Clara wound her arm round the tiny waist.

Discussion on “Postcards from Three Pines: A Fatal Grace

  1. Jeanne Tapp says:

    Love your stories and Three Pines. I have a hard time deciding which I love the most – Ruth, Rosa the duck, or your descriptions of food. Reading about your food makes me hungry and want to cook some of it! Do you have a recipe book I’ve missed? Suggestion – for those of us unfamiliar with French language – maybe a glossary of french words/meanings at the end of your books? I’m looking forward to many more to read!

  2. Madeleine Victor-Pieczarka says:

    My maternal Grandmother, Zeniade Laplante, (Memere) grew up in LaPrairie, Canada. I remember well the lengthy Christmas celebrations held by my French Canadian family here in New England when I was a child and how much I loved them.

    Your books bring me back to a special place in my heart and I can hardly wait to read your latest!

  3. Michele Ratcliff says:

    Love the postcards! And love reading the excerpts!!

  4. Patricia Boland says:

    Am I in Heaven? Sigh . . .

  5. Marjory Cordoza says:

    Yet another beautiful gift from a kind and generous friend. Thank you, Louise for this wonderful Christmas scene. I wish I could be a part of such a wonderful celebration, but I can always go to my bookshelf, open up A Fatal Grace and think of such a party. Then I will smile, send you best wishes for joy and laughter and get on with life. Merci, mon Ami.

  6. Kathleen Drozd says:

    I so love the post cards & Three Pines. I wish there was that place as I would move there as soon as I emptied out my home. I could live there with all my friend living there.

  7. Michele Sherwood says:

    I rarely recommend an author’s entire works to others, but when I do, your name is always first. Thank you for the richness and humanity of your stories.

  8. Claudette Milwatd says:

    Ruth’ is my favorite village personage– with all her quirks and quips. If there were ever a movie version of your book(s), I can see/hear the late Eileen Brennan in her role!!

  9. Dawna says:

    Merci Mille Fois….voila la beaute de Quebec!

  10. Judi Tate says:

    I love Winter! This postcard is so beautiful it makes me wish I was there. Thank you for sharing it.

  11. Eva Teresa Rhode says:

    Beautiful…so many bits and pieces of a traditional Québécois Christmas being portrayed. ALMOST makes me wish that it was December…soon enough! I’ll have to reread this post card then!

  12. Linda Keeley says:

    These are great. If Three Pines feels so real to us, as mere readers, I cannot imagine how close you are to the place and the people who bring it so wonderfully alive.

  13. Marion Wheatley says:

    What a beautiful scene! Of course, it does make me want a fire in the fireplace to read in warmth!!!

  14. Gerry Kee-Chaston says:

    I cannot add anything new to the comments above, other than to agree that Three Pines feels like home, and I imagine myself as part of the village, the Bistro, the B&B and of course, the characters. Thank you Louise for enriching my life. Waiting in great anticipation for “Kingdom of the Blind”.

  15. Susan Gravel says:

    I read these postcards and want to start reading the series all over again. Having in laws who are French Canadian these books certainly resonate with me. It’s like a trip to my past. Thank you for your amazing talent with words. You paint pictures, you know.

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