LOUISE PENNY’S

Postcards from Three Pines: The Madness of Crowds

Postcards from Three Pines: The Madness of Crowds

The pandemic!! And the only good thing is that it’s allowing me to focus on writing. Not sure if I’ll include the pandemic or not. I think though I’ll call it The Madness of Crowds. It’s terrifying what otherwise rational, even kindly people can do when co-opted.
Ok. Back to experimenting with pan bakes!
Hope you’re doing ok. Keep safe.

Love,
Louise

AN EXCERPT FROM THE MADNESS OF CROWDS

Armand Gamache would never forget when the Premier of Québec, a personal friend, had called him with the news that they had a vaccine. The man was in tears, barely able to get the words out.
As he’d hung up, Armand had felt light-headed. He could feel a sort of hysteria welling up. It was like nothing he’d ever felt before. Not on this scale. It wasn’t just relief, it felt like a rebirth. Though not everyone, and not everything, would be resurrected.
When the pandemic was finally, officially, declared over, the little village of Three Pines where the Gamaches lived had gathered on the village green where the names of the dead had been read out. Loved ones had planted trees in the clearing above the chapel. It would be called, from that day on, the New Forest.
Then, to great ceremony, Myrna had unlocked her bookstore. And Sarah had opened the doors to her boulangerie. Monsieur Béliveau put the Ouvert sign in front of his general store, and a cheer rose up as Olivier and Gabri unlocked their bistro.
Banks of barbecues on the village green grilled burgers and hot dogs and steaks and a cedar-plank salmon. Sarah’s cakes and pies and butter tarts were placed on a long table while Billy Williams helped Clara Morrow lug over buckets of her homemade lemonade.
There were games for the children and, later, a bonfire and dancing on the village green.
Friends and neighbors hugged, and even kissed. Though it felt strange, and even slightly naughty. Some still preferred to bump elbows. Others continued to carry their masks. Like a rosary, or rabbit’s foot, or a St. Christopher medal, promising safe passage.
When Ruth coughed, everyone stepped away, though they probably would have anyway.

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