LOUISE PENNY’S

THE REAL PLACES OF THREE PINES: STILL LIFE

THE REAL PLACES OF THREE PINES: STILL LIFE

BROME COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY / ARTS WILLIAMSBURG

And so it was on the Friday before Thanksgiving the painting was lifted on to an easel in the gallery of Arts Williamsburg. (Still Life, page 7, Paperback Edition)

BromeCounty1A central “character” in Louise’s magnificent Still Life, Arts Williamsburg was inspired by the real life Brome County Historical Society. Located just south of Brome Lake in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, the Historical Society was established in 1898 with the mission “to acquire, preserve, research, exhibit, interpret, and publish items of historical interest encompassing all of the historic Brome County and its sites.”

Incorporating multiple buildings, the Historical Society’s museum is a visual and tactile celebration of the power of the past. From the Tibbet’s Hill Schoolhouse (built in 1844) to the Old County Courthouse (built in 1858) and right up to the Children’s Museum (inaugurated just last year), the museum is a must-see for those who identify with George Santayana’s famous quote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Not to be missed is the extensive archive which houses a bevy of material from the original pioneers of the area, including census and church records, founding family trees, and cemetery inscriptions. The Historical Society also hosts wonderful events. Upcoming happenings include a concert comprising local musicians, a picnic to celebrate the upcoming season, multiple antique and craft fairs, a Harvest Festival, and much, much more.

While not announced yet, keep an eye out for the remainder of the 2015 Lecture Series. Past topics have included “The King of Terrors:” Benedict Arnold’s Trek to Quebec Through the Eastern Townships and “A Beautiful and Picturesque sheet of water ensconced among the hills:” The Development of Tourism in the Lake Memphremagog Region, 1850 – 1900.

BromeCounty2Lastly, any visit to the Historical Society should include a stop at the War Museum which houses, among many important artifacts, a WW1 Fokker DVII aircraft. Manfred von Richthofen, a.k.a. the Red Baron flew one of the first experimental versions of this plane and complained bitterly about its performance. As one would expect, his words did not fall on deaf ears. The engineers went back to the drawing board and modified it to the Baron’s liking. History tells us that von Richthofen was “highly” pleased with the new design although he never got to fly the DVII in combat as he was killed just 2 weeks prior to the plane’s introduction to squadron service.

For more information about the Brome County Historical Society, please visit: www.lacbromemuseum.ca.

Has anyone here been to the Historical Society or the Eastern Townships?

How do you feel the Arts Williamsburg/Historical Society fits into the overall theme of Still Life?

Discussion on “THE REAL PLACES OF THREE PINES: STILL LIFE”

I recently provided an article for Copp’s Ferry Museum in Georgeville. I’d dare suggest that others look around you, and I am sure you can find something worthwhile to share with those in your community.

I so appreciate your books. I’ve taught in theological seminaries for over 50 years, Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, CA), Oral Roberts Graduate School of Theology (Tulsa OK), Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (Northwestern University Evanston, IL) and for the last 25 years at Asbury Theological Seminary both in KY and FL. I am presently Emeritus Professor of World Christianity. I’ve written 20 or so books but every time I read one of yours I am amazed at your ability to tell a story (your prose is brilliant). Thank you for sharing such gifts with the world. I even catch myself praying for you on occasion. Bless you! Keep on writing!

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I think my ancestor James Rogers first settled in the Eastern Townships before getting a grant from England for an area near Kingston in Ontario as he was Scots Irish and served in the British Army during the French and Indian wars and was a Tory.

I was fascinated by the museum’s exhibit about the Home Children.
Perhaps this part of Canada’s history could provide the basis for another Inspector
Gamache mystery?

David knall I spent every summer of my life with my grandparents
Janet and wells Martin at argyle farm in Knowlton quebec.
From 5 or six years old continuously until I was about 14. The farm was in west Bolton.
I rode my bike into Knowlton. Also played golf at Knowlton g c
I have such great memories. Think about it all the time.
Live in the u s now. One of my sisters gave me 2 Louise penny books I am hooked

I have just been reading the May newsletter and realize that I totally missed out on the April addition….changed computers maybe? So I did not know about the new feature of places in the Gamache stories.
I traveled to the Eastern townships on a research trip in September 2011 via Newport, VT were I also was also on the trail of ancestors. We stayed at the Auberge Lakeview Inn at Knowlton and had a wonderful French meal there. I walked to the Brome Historical Society and spent a thrilling day with the staff there who had done some preliminary research for me. We toured the area for several days and I also met with Ms. Antle at the Missiquoi Museum and Historical Society.
Now, I did know that the Gamache series was set in this area and it was on my mind but it wasn’t until I heard Louise speak in South Hadley, MA the following September that it came home to me that I had totally missed the Brome Bookshop and how close I was to all the places that Louise holds so dear. There is nothing like the emotional ride one gets visiting the homeland of ancestors and I can not wait to go back. Louise’s characters and sense of place are so real and I have been drawn there since the first book and my family connections just make it all the more intense. I did the reread last year and enjoyed it even more than the 1st time. Will look forward to checking out the next location and can’t wait for August.

I had hoped that the building selected would be the one that inspired Jane’s house whose walls were covered with paintings of the people of Two Pines. I know I have seen this in a museum many years ago, but where?

I think locations are as important as the characters Diane and not just as set pieces. They contribute a spirit and a feeling. There was a creative vibrancy to the Arts Williamsburg but also the byplay of some politics involved in the choosing of the paintings. It gave another depth to the story.

People revolve around places and locations so I think this sort of tribute to their importance to the nature of the story is really interesting.

It’s funny Diane but depending upon how a location I know is portrayed in a story my reaction can range from excitement and extra interest to cringing. If the locality is woven naturally through the story then it’s fun, if it becomes a showcase of tourist spots then it is cringeworthy.

How do you feel the Arts Williamsburg/Historical Society fits into the overall theme of Still Life?

Apart for being about art, it was a more interesting way to help move the plot/story along. Since Jane’s painting was the means to help solve her death, it was the springboard early on in the story. The Arts Williamsburg was also a great way to introduce Peter and Claira’s characters.

Anna, great discussion question about reading a book that one is familiar with the local. I was born and raised in Trenton, NJ and Hamilton Twp (suburb of Trenton) and worked in Princeton and family living in Pennsylvania . I enjoyed David McCullough’s 1776 maybe more so because of knowing the area. Also, the Stephanie Plum series until they got ridiculous for my taste (when the ghost/spirit started). I now live in Los Angeles for the past 22 years and enjoy the local mystery writers who set their books here.

Whether a real place or made up, I appreciated when the author/publisher includes a map to follow along.

My local library just started a mystery book club this past Jan (Burbank’s Buena Vista Branch in California). I introduced them to Louise Penny’s series with our Feb book. I just checked out their mystery blog and found this very interesting website. Will let the group know about it, too. What a great idea!

Thank You to all who are sharing your knowledge, experiences and love of the Eastern Townships. Louise Penny makes many of us wish we could visit the area.
Thank you Paul, for providing a site where those who are familiar with the locations can share.

We visited the area last fall and had a wonderful time hunting for the inspirations for Three Pines.
The Historical Society also displays the Still Life painting that was done for the TV show.

My mother was born in Clarenceville, Quebec. I grew up just south of the border in Alburgh, VT (1950s, 1960s) and made many trips to my grandparents’ farm in Clarenceville and later to the small home in Bedford where my Grandmother lived until her death at age 90. I stumbled onto the Gamache novels and am now working my way through in order. I listen on my iPod while walking and driving and love hearing familiar names like Cowansville where I used to drive to with grandfather. I always smile at the references to “Anglos” which my family was. I hope Louise Penny keeps the books coming for many years.

This is so exciting! It will be lovely to see places I probably never saw when I lived in the Eastern Townships in my youth. I also went to Bishop’s University, in the 1950’s. I loved the E.T., and I do know one place fairly well, which we will come to later. I had wondered if Williamsburg was real or fictional, but the Brome County Museum is such a treasure!

Hi Sylvia, miss you at ‘The Bistro”. If anyone here is unfamiliar with “The Bistro”, our hero Paul, set that up for those of us who wanted to continue discussions after TLWH, or just stay in touch. Last night a gentleman posted how much he adored Louise for creating ‘a true old fashioned gentleman’. It may seem daunting at first, this morning there were 800 comments! But its a magical a place to just sit for a while or jumping in with questions outside the confines of a specific topic. If anyone here is unfamiliar with the site, the link is on the right, above the list of links to the book series. Please pop back and forth.

My husband and I go to Manoir Hovey (Bellechasse!) for our anniversary in late September. Celebrating our 40th this year. We want to explore the Tibbits Schoolhouse in Brome as my maiden name is Tibbits and my grandfather, Will Tibbits, came from this area!

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