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. Susie says:

    This is a tearfully happy wedding for the readers as well as the characters. Thank you for the wedding invitation.

  2. Karen Lewis says:

    I joined in the sniffles. Loved the post card.

  3. Diane Brokenshire says:

    Oh my heart. ❤❤ Such loveky poignant words. My favourite…..perhaps.

  4. Janet Morrissey says:

    This was one of the most intensely emotional scenes I’ve ever read. Until the handkerchief, I still thought Armand might have been killed. It was so hard to read not least because I was sobbing with sorrow and then sobbing with joy.

    • Karen Johnson says:

      Janet, I thought so too! I was listening to it as I drove over the San Marcos Pass to Santa Barbara, my heart was in my throat, and I had to pull over. As I looked out over the Pacific Ocean I was thinking “No, No, not Armand!” Then the handkerchief was passed and the ceremony’s purpose was revealed! I could breathe again! Masterful writing Louise Penny!

  5. Gayle Fulcher says:

    I read all your books in order and now they have blended into a stew called Three Pines. It’s as if they are my memories. This particular memory has me in tears, again.❤️

  6. Carol says:

    I agree. Rereading this chapter brought back all the memories and emotions of when I first read the book. The tears just started running down my face.

  7. Satah Zumpf says:

    I am enrapt by all your books … but this one, this one is unforgetable.

  8. Judy Pfeifer says:

    This book was my intro to three pines. I realized what I was missing and have since read all in the series. Most twice and planning to read them all again. You have a magic way with words and making them unforgettable.

  9. Amanda Stott says:

    Reading this the first time, with the previous book’s harrowing scenes still fresh in my memory (as if I had been a witness), filled me first with dread, and then incredible happiness. This re-read has brought all those emotions back; what a gift you have Ms. Penny!

  10. Marie Rutter says:

    A beautiful scene

  11. Laura Hutchison says:

    Thank you for the postcard. It makes me realize that I want to revisit Three Pines in your books again. Such poetry in your words.

  12. Mary says:

    Redemption. Always the gift of redemption. Thank you for always reminding us

  13. Ruth Puckett says:

    Beautiful. So glad you introduced me to Leonard Cohen. Love listening to his music but “Anthem” remains my favorite. Was talking to my son and said I watched something in a book and he laughed and said read. I said no I watch the books I read. See every scene. This scene is very easy to watch with the church full of my well loved friends. Thank you so much, Louise!

  14. JoAnne Himmelman says:

    I can’t wait for your Kingdom of the Blind fundraising event in Halifax. Each postcard reminds me it is coming soon.

  15. Lynn Perkins says:

    Three Pines is a wonderful place we can now all go to whenever we need to get away and spend some time with all the wonderful people who live there…

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