Postcards from Three Pines: Still Life

Still Life Postcard
“Here in Quebec. Finally started writing. I think I’ll call it STILL LIFE. What do you think? Struggling a bit with fear but inspired by the fall colours. ”

Three Pines wasn’t on any tourist map, being too far off any main or even secondary road. Like Narnia, it was generally found unexpectedly and with a degree of surprise that such an elderly village should have been hiding in this valley all along. Anyone fortunate enough to find it once usually found their way back. And Thanksgiving, in early October, was the perfect time. The weather was usually crisp and clear, the summer scents of old garden roses and phlox were replaced by musky autumn leaves, woodsmoke and roast turkey.

Three huge pine trees faced [Gamache] at the far end of the green. Between him and them was a pond, a bunch of sweater-clad children circling it, hunting for frogs, he supposed. The village green sat, not surprisingly, in the center of the village, a road called The Commons circling it with homes, except behind him, which seemed to be the commercial district. It was a very short commercial. It consisted, as far as Gamache could see, of a depanneur whose Pepsi sign read ‘Beliveau’. Beside that was a boulangerie, the Bistro and a bookstore. Four roads led off The Commons, like the spokes of a wheel, or the directions of a compass.

As he sat quietly and let the village happen around him he was impressed by how beautiful it was, these old homes facing the green, with their mature perennial gardens and trees. By how natural everything looked, undesigned. And the pall of grief that settled on this little community was worn with dignity and sadness and a certain familiarity. This village was old, and you don’t get to be old without knowing grief. And loss.

Discussion on “Postcards from Three Pines: Still Life

  1. Charlotte Kolb says:

    I’m just going to read them all over again, I’m sure I missed something delicious!

  2. Kimberly Osborne says:

    After my cancer diagnosis I was given the book Still Life to read. I have continued to read each new one and developed an almost real connection with my group of new “friends” who have been with me on this journey. Thank you for something wonderful to come out of all this.

  3. Paula says:

    Ah to live in close proximity to a bitter poet, a brilliant book store owner and a salon-like group of amazing artists with a visiting detective crew to solve all the pesky murders . . . and, of course, beautiful scenery grouped around Three Pines. It’s possible just thought reading these novels.

  4. Sue Ann says:

    What! This isn’t a real place? I sooo wanted to visit there this fall and sit on the bench in the center of the village, watching what was going on around me and maybe meeting an ‘old friend’ or two.

  5. Dinah Hyslop says:

    I would love to be a part of this circle of friends. I always tell myself to make her new release last longer, but I just can’t help but to read them so quickly.
    I want to retire to Three Pines!

  6. Daryl Fay says:

    I’m in love with Three Pines and all the residents. Especially Gamache and his family. Thank you for writing these stories. I can hardly wait for your new books!!

  7. Ann Mitchell says:

    What a wonderful idea to be able to re visit a book via a postcard.

  8. Jennifer McLean says:

    My introduction to this delightful series was Glass Houses. Even though Thred Pines is ficticious, I sat with Google maps in one hand and the book in the other, finding all town, islands, and waterways that are real. Louise Penny’s magical writing transports you in such a vivid way! I finished Still Life last night and will work my way though the series, savoring the characters and culture so different from my West Texas surroundings.

  9. Beulah Schwartzentruber says:

    I want to live there, & I feel like I am when I’m reading the books. Have them all. Keep on writing Louise!

  10. We need a refuge like Three Pines in our lives right now to ground us to what is good and honest. I can’t wait for the new book. I pre-ordered it months ago!

  11. Lynn says:

    I think I love these books so much for a number of reasons:
    Gamache’s exceptionally strong moral compass. (I really want to believe that the world is full of others like him!)
    All the wonderfully flawed, creative and personable characters!
    The scenery, history and French language quips Ms. Penny describes so well.
    I learn something(s) from every novel.
    Each novel is so wonderfully different, but with a story that connects each.
    There’s always quite a bit of humor, as well as suspense.
    I really like Louise Penny too — she’s talented, smart, candid about her past, appreciative of: her fans, the life she had with her husband and his support, her employees and friends.
    Thank you for enriching my life!

  12. Karen Anderson says:

    Thank you so much, Louise, for the post card idea! I’m sure your legions of fans will enjoy them as much as I will. I’ve read all of Gamache, etc all, from Still Life on and agree with the many wishes that each wants to live in Three Pines. The characters are memorable a but I’d really love to meet Ruth waling her duck on the Commons. Enjoy everyone!!!

  13. Sharon Paddock says:

    I started borrowing these books from the library, but I could not get them all fast enough so my husband said “just order them from Amazon.” I did! I don’t have the first four, but do have all the rest. I, too, will re-read them before next one comes out in November. Many thanks Louise for this delightful series. I feel like each character is a friend, love the scenic descriptions and love, love, love Ruth and her duck!

  14. marilyn jones says:

    Perhaps this is what heaven is like—only with no murders, no issues from the past to face, forgive or eradicate and no fear. Lots of light let in. Forever and ever. One.

  15. Eva Teresa Rhode says:

    Post cards…seemingly an old fashioned way of keeping our family and friends abreast of our travels and adventures. Interestingly, “Duc de Lorraine”, a favourite patisserie on Cote des Neiges in Montreal, hands out post cards, and I picked some up. These were mailed to two very young friends who helped out with a “Friendship Tea”. You can’t write tomes on a post card…brevity is key. Louise, you summarized for us your thoughts beautifully!

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