The Annotated Three Pines: A Great Reckoning

The Annotated Three Pines: A Great Reckoning

Reckoning two

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From Pg. 26
Professor Leduc moved his left arm, so that his wrist felt the butt of the handgun through his jacket. As he did that, he lifted his right hand and shook Gamache’s. Holding the man’s hand and his eyes. Both of which were steady, and displayed neither anger nor challenge. It was, Leduc realized, far more threatening than any overt show of force could ever be.

Louise’s Thoughts:
I really liked taking Gamache out of his regular job and placing him in the Academy. Who better to clean it up than someone who is by nature a teacher? I was lucky to have a few teachers, and professors, as I bumbled my way through school, who were thoughtful and patient. Who saw the big picture, the whole person. I also had some bullies, and that was equally instructive.


From Pg. 53
The poetry book had joined the others hidden under there. Books in Latin and Greek. Poetry books and philosophy books. She’d taught herself the dead languages, and memorized poetry. Among the filth. Shutting out the sounds of sex, the mutterings and shouts and screams of other boarders. The flushing toilets and obscenities and stench. All erased by poetry.

Louise’s Thoughts:
We all, I think, have something we cling to when times get tough. Prayers. Songs. Mantras. For me it’s a combination of prayer and poetry. Both calming. Centering. I wanted to write Amelia as a soul who’d lost her bearings, but not her way. She’s still looking for the path. The way “home”. The books she loves, the works she loves, are a sort of compass. I also wanted her to be an autodidact. Someone who clings to beauty, who doesn’t give in to the despair all around her. And yet is cynical, self-destructive, angry, bitter. But who, when a hand is stretched out, takes it. Now this is a person to be reckoned with. As Gamache recognizes.


From Pg. 31
Gamache had laughed. “I wish it was a mountain. At least they’re majestic. Conquering them brings some sense of triumph. The Sûreté Academy is more like a great big hole filled with merde. And I’ve fallen into it.”
“Fallen, patron? As I remember it, you jumped.”

Louise’s Thoughts:
Ha…it was so fun writing Gamache in the Academy. Seeing him in academae. Surrounded by students. Not all of them well-adjusted. And needing to have a firm grip on the professors. Gamache thinks he knows what, as Beauvoir put it, he’s jumped into. But he actually has no idea. I’d like to say I knew exactly what he would do, how he’d handle it, when he found out. But the fact is, I didn’t. What I knew was the man’s character, but I wanted to just see…. by this point in the series, while I know the characters (actually I think of them as people, not characters), well, I can still be surprised. I wanted to see what would happen when the full horror of what he’d gotten himself into began to dawn on him. And when it did, what he would do about it. Merde does not begin to describe the tragedy that was the Surete breeding ground.


From Pg. 161
The village had lulled him, however briefly, into forgetting that terrible things happened. He wondered if it was a gift, to forget however briefly, or a curse.

Louise’s Thoughts:
Three Pines will always be a refuge, for Gamache. For all the villagers. Not from pain, as long as we’re human that is inevitable. And few are more human than Gamache. But it’s a refuge from despair. Because as bad as things get, the villagers know they’re not alone. That’s the key, isn’t it? Having a place of peace. A quiet place in the bright sunshine. However briefly. Before it’s back to the trenches of life. But they take Three Pines with them in their hearts. As do I. As do you.


From Pg. 40
Yes, a snowman, however jolly, must have worry in his heart. As did the work of art. Or map. Or whatever it was they’d found in the wall.
Love and worry. They went hand in hand. Fellow travelers.

Louise’s Thoughts:
I don’t know about you, but I worry about the people I love. All the time. It’s not front and centre, more like a hum in the background. Spiking now and then, and never completely off. The wages of love. The cost of caring. The map in the wall aches with that. With love and worry. The cheerful snowman on the map, who nevertheless knows the sun will come out. Spring will arrive. What Gabri and Olivier found in the wall of the bistro was a map home. So that whoever had it would know, there was a way back. To a place where they were safe. And where they could forget, however briefly, the horrors of the outside world.


28 replies on “The Annotated Three Pines: A Great Reckoning”

It’s made my “stay at home time “ alone ,so much easier and rich. I love looking up every verse and historical point and imagining what the characters look like. I’m on book 13. Getting the newsletter joining the book club and loving the website now the T-shirt because I’m fine!!

A safe, funny, witty, human Companion who continually reminds me that “ Goodness exists“ and I am never alone as long as I have Louise and Audible!!

Thank you so very much!

I would like to know that also. I am about halfway through the series. Maybe we haven’t been told yet.

I’m about halfway through rereading the Gamache series. I love the balance of his job with his love of poetry and art. He is an example of how a wide range of experiences can temper our reactions. His emphasis on listening his key to success. I love Gamache and all of the characters in the Three Pines orbit!

I lost my husband in 2018 and I read and re-read Gamache to fill the lonely hours. Ms. Penny’s books bring great comfort. Thank you so much. My husband and I visited Montreal and Quebec City and I can picture the places to which she refers. Heartache, but joy that we were there.

I can’t think of anyone in Three Pins as imaginary characters, but life and blood friends who care about each other!

I love this little series and the next book can’t come soon enough for me! I’m at the point where I don’t care that much who did the murders – I’m more interested in how the normal characters are evolving.

Louise –
I can’t thank you enough. You have added such a beautiful dimension to my life with your books. I love the characters and can’t wait to see what they’ll say or do next. I thoroughly love your books and eagerly await each new release!

I too am working my way through the series again- I miss the people ( no longer characters) when I stop reading! I’ve ordered the next book in hardback, couldn’t wait for another year!

Thank you for these insights. I have just finished reading (and often re-reading) the whole series in order. I love the way the main characters stay in character even when having to make difficult choices. I also love the way their dialog sometimes makes me laugh out loud. Such good writing!

I just finished this book again. Each time I reread a book, I think “How did I miss that?” You develop your characters so well. I learn something exciting about my Three Pines friends each time I reread. Thank you for the fun!

Each time I read one of your annotations, I become more, not less inquisitive, of that particular novel. Truly out of a sense of wonder at your “ written”word .. your style. And I grow to love “Three Pines” more. All of the Eastern Townships are beloved by my family … has been thus since we discovered it in our young married days. We continue to drive thru various areas as we travel roads from Montreal to Maine. As I age, your novels make it a refuge of sorts, peopled by your characters. Out of your imagination into mine has been a glorious experience. Oddly in the vast world that we have lived and traveled in, Three Pines is as real and exotic as any place I know.

When I can’t get to my refuge- Long Island Sound (southern CT), my second most favorite place is Three Pines. This is where I get lost in whatever story is spinning out in front of me and find peace in the people having breakfast or a glass of wine at the Bistro. Thank you for the best and most rewarding reading I have ever devoured in 70 some years of reading… just realized the only other author I liked was Willa Cather!

Your books were a comfort as I moved to a small town in Maine. Living on a peaceful lake brings me that “Three Pines” experience when I come back from being away.
Similarly, our unique neighbors and little village commons, never change too much.
Your writing has captured that feeling of being “home” perfectly. Thank You!

I really like the thoughts that go with the quotes and how the stories unfold A map home is something we all hold in our inner self.

This has been a really enlightening journey with Louise and her thoughts behind each novel.
We all need a place of peace, refuge, that place – real or unreal – where we feel safe and secure. Reading this book, we really saw how Three Pines was that place of refuge for Armand.

As I sit looking out on a beautiful lake, I’m reflecting on Louise’s comment that we all need a place of peace in the quiet sunshine. This is mine, with my own three pine trees standing sentinel in front of me. I’m in Montana, a long way from Louise’s three pines but happy in my own. Thanks be to God! Looking forward to A Better Man.

I, too, think of the people in your books as real, not characters! And, I had teachers who inspired me to become a teacher! Some also “taught” me what I wanted to avoid as a teacher. I did have the pleasure of meeting you, and felt the warmth that comes through in your books!

THANK YOU for this series of your thoughts and feelings as you wrote. You have the gift of enabling us to feel as family- as a dear friend.
I doubt I shall ever meet you (drat) and yet I sense we do know one another
For me it’s the similarity of our husbands. Two Michaels, both Doctors, and both having suffered a ALZ. That’s just me. Think of the thousands of others who feel close to you WHAT A BLESSED GIFT.
This series brought you closer to us. THANK YOU.

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