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. Marie-Josee Pilon says:

    What a beautiful description of a typical small village in Quebec! What I enjoyed the most when I first started reading the Gamache series was Louise’s ability to mix the different cultures as she wrote always keeping the Quebec culture predominent. As you read, you identify the Quebec French, some Canadian English and then some British at times. Terms such as village green and commons where new to me (I may be the only one) . Then with every new book, I realize how talented Louise is in succesfully making relationships the essence of each of her phenomenal books…Reading Louise’s books become, for me, a life lesson/example. Example of kindness, tolerance and grace. As she so often says, “Three Pines exists when you chose to be kind”. Reading Louise Penny is comforting and inspiring.

  2. Beth says:

    I love this place and the people who live there. Can’t wait to visit again soon!!!

  3. Victoria Gurfolino says:

    I love Gamache and his appreciation of place settings and most all people
    When I visit Quebec or Montreal I look for him
    Many thanks for creating this family of character s that I have grown to love

  4. Anita BOULMETIS says:

    This is why I fell in love with Three Pines & read all your books in three month plus plan a trip next fall to Quebec

  5. Samille Jordan says:

    Louise Penny made me want to live in Three Pines and I am a little Southern girl who puts on her down jacket when it gets down to 60 degrees! Now that is amazing Power! Thank you, Louise!

  6. Judy Buchholz says:

    Have read this book so many times and given it as gifts. It’s the beginning of a wonderful journey.

  7. Joan Sobon says:

    I was introduced to you via the CBS Sunday Morning Show and read the series borrowing from the Library. The beautiful details made me yearn for Three Pines! I bought the books and read them once again! Thank you – this is wonderful!

  8. Ginette Clement says:

    Three Pines and it’s characters are the reasons I keep wanting to go back book after book. I long to find myself in the bistro with a croissant and a coffee near the fire place…

  9. Dorothy Robinson says:

    I love the series. I’ve read the books in order and after I finish each book I purchased the audible edition. Even though I know who committed the murder, I love catching the clues and listening to the characters. Louise Penny’s books are a treasure!

  10. Leigh says:

    There is so much wisdom in the last line of the excerpt: ‘This village was old, and you don’t get to be old without knowing grief. And loss.’

    How very true. And that line sets the tone for the whole story. Beautifully done.

  11. shelley ann cox says:

    One of my friends and I are always joking about vacationing in Three Pines.

  12. Lyne Dempsey says:

    What a vivid picture your words paint. Great books!

  13. Kathy Hanson says:

    Thank you thank you! This is a lovely idea! I too am starting to read the series again. Gamache and Three Pines are like old friends who welcome you in and you are safe even though there has been a MUTDER! I can’t wait for the next postcard.

  14. Patti says:

    A place to visit and then decide to move there

  15. Melissa says:

    Three Pines has become a second home for many of us — we can escape there when reality becomes a bit too much

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