LOUISE PENNY’S

The Bistro

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Join us here in The Bistro for a discussion on the entire Gamache series. Feel free to ask or answer any questions about any of the books or the series as a whole.

Discussion on “The Bistro”

Yes – to everyone, here in the Bistro, and out and about – enjoy a calm and peaceful holiday. I know as I get a little older, I want to do less of the “hustle and bustle” and more of the reflecting on my blessings. I still decorate a tree, but it’s a small one. Every night, last thing, I sit in the darkened room with just the tree lights on and “think a little think”. I love that peaceful, calm. I’ve done this ever since I was really little (only it used to be first thing in the morning, while it was still dark, as I was never the last one up as a child – strict bedtimes!). The glow of the Christmas lights is always something special to me. Something small that I can do no matter how little I manage for the holidays…

May you all be blessed with happiness and togetherness with all your loved ones.

Hi Julie, what lovely thoughts! I love to sit at the end of the day with just the pretty lights on. You thinking a little think made me think of dear Bert Finney doing his sums, i.e. counting his blessings. So far I haven’t got my little tabletop trees decorated, but I’ll get to it and enjoy doing it after all the gifts are wrapped.

We are expecting a major wet storm, heavy rains, and some freezing rain before it warms up, and very high winds. This is now due to start tomorrow night and be with us all day Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I go to my stepson’s about an hour and a half drive away, and I was talking to him this evening about the impending storm. If it’s too nasty to drive down Christmas Eve after the church service (in the dark, of course), I’ll wait and go Boxing Day when it is expected to be sunny. This will be the first Christmas I have been home in at least the last twelve years. I’ll open up the box with the Peter Robinson book and indulge! I’ve been saving it for Christmas.

Cathryne, I’m so glad to hear your husband is home again with you! I hope you have a special and blessed Christmas.

Sylvia do be safe. I saw there were storms. We are having some right now, although warm wet storms. Don’t drive until it is safe and if you do spend Christmas at home I can think of nothing better than curling up with a new book. Wonderful.

Hopefully we will all meet. It looks as though fate has us headed in the direction of North America in the next 12-24 months to live for a while so a trip to Hovey Manor is definitely on my agenda. A Bistro reunion seems perfect.

Well done Sylvia and thank you for thinking of my Mum. It’s been a bit tough there but everyone’s kindness keeps me going. I am sure you spread amazing good cheer with your shortbread. Put your feet up for a moment please!

Hi Cathryne. Best wishes to you and your husband and extended family. I hope it is a peaceful Christmas and I am glad you have your husband home with you. It is nice to pop in to the bistro and feel the calm. I have my Earl Grey beside me.

Storms are brewing again here again. It will be a wet and warm Christmas. Maybe we will have a white one in a year or too. My daughter is keen as am I!

Thinking of everyone. Take care.

Is everyone okay? Christmas is just around the corner and as wonderful as this time of year can be, it can also be very stressful.

Don’t let anything get too much. Take time to breathe and have a quiet moment. If the family are coming and its a pressure, plan some escape strategies. A walk outside. A long shower. Quiet time for everyone with a cup of tea.

Pop into the Bistro and rant with us if you need an outlet.

Above all remember to enjoy!

Thanks Anna. This time of year does get stressful, but I’m seeing the daylight at the end of the tunnel now! I have my shopping all done and a few days to wrap it all. I just finished baking my last batch of shortbread cookies for the season; I have made 11 batches this year. I make them on separate days because it’s too tiring to make more than batch in a day as I’m on my feet for several hours. But they are so good and everyone I give them to enjoys them so much that it’s worth the stress and tiredness.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and that your mother finds some peace and calmness and relaxes over the holidays.

I love your reflection on the lights Julie. What a good idea. There is a beautiful Christmas tree in the corner of this Bistro. The ornaments are antique and intricate, the glow from the fire reflected in each surface.

Take a seat by the fire and sup on the gingerbread nd Christmas cake. Sip your favourite beverage and relax.

Can you smell the pine and and the cinnamon, the chocolate and the ginger? That is scent of Christmas rest among the hustle and bustle.

I wish you all peace

Anna, that is so beautiful!! Yes, I can see it and smell it in my mind’s eye and nose! We really need to figure out a way to get together to meet one another. I’d love to meet in July or August at Hovey Manor in North Hatley, Quebec, as that delightful place was the base for Louise’s Manoir Bellechasse. Oh well, it’s the time of day for relaxing and dreaming sweet dreams!

Thank you, Anna, for your good wishes and wise suggestions. I’m going to make a cup of camomile tea right now! My husband is home from the hospital/skilled nursing facility, to our great relief. The medical staffs did their jobs amazingly well day after day for 4 1/2 weeks. We’re getting great pleasure from the joy of our children and grandchildren during the holidays and celebrating in easy, fun ways ourselves.
It made me smile to read your post. Many times in the last few weeks I have taken myself into the Bistro and felt myself relax with a cup of tea and friends. Thanks to all.

You could give her a photo of them and an IOU and get them on order Sylvia. I would wait for a great gift like the box set so maybe your recipient will. You can get them from Amazon and they probably shouldn’t arrive too long after Christmas! It’s a great thought though.

Thinking of all my new friends around the world. I hope you are safe and well and there are wonderful times surrounding you all.

Anna, after all, I got my friend something else. This year the Nobel Prize for Literature was won by a Canadian short story writer named Alice Munro, and they had a collection of her stories. I had already bought two copies for people, and I thought my friend would enjoy them too. I shall buy the boxed set when I can and have it for her for next year. I haven’t actually asked her if she has read any of Louise’s books, so I had better find out first – she may already have become a devotee just like me! Anyway, I’m all set for now.

Dear friends, did you receive the message that there is now a boxed set of Louise’s first three books? I got the message yesterday, and thought it would be ideal for a particular person on my list. However, the bookstores round here don’t have it in yet, so it will be too late for this Christmas. If I can get all of the first three books, I could get them singly and give them all together, but one bookstore has only the last three books and the other local one has various of the titles, so I may just purchase something else for now and buy the set to hold for next Christmas. Too bad, but I’m sure she’ll enjoy them as she comes from Quebec.

Happy Holidays to all …from our house to yours. With all that’s happening in the world I agree that we need more kindness.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, or whatever applies to all of you Three Pines friends! And may the spirit that reaches out to people who are hurting or afraid remain with us all throughout the year!

Dear Barbara, you may have to be more direct! I hope you get books too!

I like the information about Hanukkah. It is good to enjoy all the different cultures we are fortunate to be surrounded by.

I tried to shop yesterday for food and fast decided we would be eating what I had in the house as town was a mess! About to take daughter to the orthodontist so hopefully we can park!

Happy times to all!

Happy Hanukkah. A menorah was lit on the Augusta Common last night for the 18th year. Although a minor festival, Hanukkah has come to be celebrated more and more here in the US. Hanukkah trees are decorated by many families in our area although the sentiment, “There is no such thing as an Hanukkah tree” is sometimes heard. Parents say the constant ads featuring Santa and toys made Hebrew children feel left out. The trees decorated in blue and white lights are very pretty. I always enjoy my neighbor’s menorah burning in her living room window.
Must tackle the Mall today. UGH.
I hope Sam gives me books for Christmas. I left a list of books I want where he will come across it.

Thank you everyone for thinking of us.

I must say, the events in Sydney pale in comparison to the school massacre in Pakistan. I am in disbelief at how any group can treat children with such inhumanity.

I send love, prayers and hope for a safe Christmas for you all. You too Paul!

I can only repeat, every act of kindness is important. I am grateful for the amazing kindness shown here in the Bistro. I will endeavor to replicate that in real life every day.

Today’s paper carried the story of the social media campaign to aid those fearing reprisals yesterday. I was very touched by the thoughtfulness and caring that showed. I am sure the problems of the last few weeks here in the US are known to the world. I understand peaceful protests but do not understand violence. The violence frightens me and I feel fear of my fellow citizens. Good thoughts to those everywhere who seek peace and safety for all.

It was very sad to wake up this morning and see that two people had died. One was a Mum of three children known to my brother in law. The other was the store manager who died a hero saving lives.

The gunman was a madman who was well known for sending abusive mail to defence force personnel who served in the Middle East and then murdering his wife. He was seeking fame for himself. He was a criminal. We will win if we refuse to be divided and terrorized.

The best thing that came out of yesterday was a social media campaign in support of any Muslims who felt frightened by reprisals, that other Australians would ride with them on public transport or give them a ride. Sad that anyone would feel threatened by reprisals but so good to see kindness and caring come from a bad situation.

We must all remember that every act of kindness is a blow against terrorism.

I am always so saddened by these acts. We do seem to get a lot of them in the US, and in Seattle, we have more than our fair share. We are often only drawn to see them when there has been a death, either at their own or the police’s hands. By then, it’s far too late to stop anything from happening. We have an epidemic, I believe here in the US. Support for mental illness has been withdrawn over the past years – budgets lowered, and people left to fare for themselves instead of getting the help they need. We’ve had at least three deaths in the past year in Seattle which would have been avoided if the “perpetrator” had received the mental health care they were asking for. I believe they get desperate. It’s a very sad situation.

I know this person didn’t necessarily seek help, as the insane don’t always know what’s wrong. I do think it’s wonderful that people have responded by recognizing this was one sick individual and not a systemic thing.

Thank you Barbara for the kind thoughts.. It is an ongoing situation. Just arrived home from work to see three people have been released? Or escaped? A number of people at work know the shop well, they work in buildings next door but aren’t there today. We live a couple of hours away. My husband lives in the city during the week so hopefully he will get back home ok. It’s a bizarre situation. Hope everyone is safe!

Anna and Barbara, such a scary situation!! I have heard the news at 6 pm our time and it’s over, but three people were killed, including the gunman, and several injured including one of the policemen. Some hostages did manage to escape, and in the end he let them go, or else they got out at the end. There seems an awful lot of these sort of situations. Barbara, you’ve had a lot in the US. I don’t understand why people get the mindset to do something like that, or why seemingly ordinary young people get converted to this radical extremism. It’s getting so they don’t need to come over here from the Middle East to attack us, but just use home-grown converts. Then no one knows where or who they are until they strike. It’s a weird and scary world, but we can’t live our lives in constant fear – that lets them win – but we have to just carry on as usual.

Anna, Just heard about the hostage situation in Sydney on our 11PM news. So sorry. Our news station just interviewed a man about the situation. His name is Stephen Sander and he is locked in his office building across the street from the shop. His mother lives here in Augusta and she called one of our local TV stations. Modern communications are amazing. I hope the situation can be ended without loss of life or harm to the police or the hostages.

I so want to go back to Jane’s house and experience it again and anew. I hope Louise Penny is keeping it in her back pocket or has taken it out and included it in the new book.

Thank you all for the suggestions of other authors’ works to investigate during “the long wait”. Does anyone else wonder what happened to Jane’s house? I know that she willed it to Clara, but have I missed reference to it? I’m not sure that anyone would be comfortable staying in the living gallery, but I can’t imagine that it has been left sad and alone.

Hello there Kim! Yet another reading suggestion for you. Perhaps some of our LP fans may remember the classic Ellery Queen series. So refreshing to re-discover one of those books at our local library annual used book sales last month: Calamity Town. Rather delightful for someone who might enjoy how skillfully – and rather slyly- the authors weave in the clues for a thoughtful reader to untangle. Rather a fun read overall! (Because I succeeded on this one? – not bad for someone flirting with the approaching age of 80 -years young. Quite a challenge too.)

Prayers for the safety of all folks experiencing the terrible situation in Australia today.

Thanks Jan for the reminder of Ellery Queen. I’ll check the Library and see what they have. When is JP’s next book due? I don’t remember just now if a date has been announced. The sooner the better.

Sylvia, sounds like you have both done very well. I know Australia Post has invested heavily in parcel sorting and delivery services in the last couple of years. They are trying to wind back letter delivery as it is not cost effective but online shoppers are supporting parcels in a big way.

It is raining and 13 degrees today. It iAs been raining with big storms for two weeks but it was hot and the lady two days the temp has plummeted. I see there are big storms across various parts of America and England. Stay safe everyone.

Hi Barbara. I haven’t read any of Rhys Bowens work but will look. We have quite a few Iinspector Banks but haven’t read them for a while.

I am in no way ready for Christmas despite a couple of dedicated shopping trips. I did find a new cook book I was going to wrap and put under the tree for me but the recipes were too tasty. Made Honey roast chicken with spicy potatoes last night which was great. The cold weather means it is slow roasted lamb tonight. I just popped it in the oven. It’s a bit of prep with the spice rub and a mix of ingredients in the oven bag but house smells Christmassy. The cloves and cinnamon in the spice rub are a big contributor I think!

Good luck with the Christmas prep everyone!

Anna, we have just had a major storm that dumped about two feet of snow on northern New Brunswick and as much rain in the south as we normally get in the whole month of December, but in one day! Huge flooding problems! I’m on a hill and keeping warm and dry.

I’m on my way with Christmas preps now. I just packed up a box of gifts and shortbreads for one of my sons, but I still have three more to go. I have a meeting Saturday morning and we’re having a potluck supper with our congregation on Sunday evening, so it doesn’t leave me much time to get my packing and shipping done. After that, I have a lot to prepare for local family and friends, but at least I don’t have to cook Christmas dinner! I go to my stepson’s about an hour and a half away, and I don’t mind driving down there. It depends on the weather just how I time my trip. I usually go Christmas Eve and come home Boxing Day, but it varies. By that time, I’m quite ready to be pampered and well fed!!

Anna, there’s a new Peter Robinson Alan Banks book that came out in October. I pre-ordered it, but when it arrived I was busy with other stuff I had to read to discuss, so I didn’t dare open the box! Then I’ve got into Christmas work, so I’m saving the new book for Boxing Day! It’s called Abattoir Blues, but I have no idea what the title means. I have read them all up to this one. I think this one is about the 22nd. He’s been very prolific!

LP mentioned on Facebook that her friend Rhys Bowen has written a children’s book with her daughter. Bowen’s series about Lady Georgie, 34th in line to the English throne are a fun read. She also writes another series I have not read yet. They are on the ever growing list.
I read the second of Peter Robinson’s Inspector Banks novels, A Dedicated Man. Several scenes reminded me Gamache’s warmth and caring for the victim. I really enjoyed it and plan to read them all. None of the libraries in our system had a copy of the first book. I tried one of the Evan Evan novels but no go. I didn’t find the idea of almost everyone named Evan funny.
Started writing Christmas cards today, bought the ham and really must force myself to the Mall. My sister’s gift can come from only one store and it is in the mall. I order as much as I can on line or shop the smaller local businesses when possible.

Barbara, I have never heard of Rhys Bowen, but her books do sound fun – especially to an English girl like me! I’ll keep an eye out for them. And I have enjoyed the Peter Robinson books as I loved the Yorkshire Dales so much. He has some very dramatic endings! I really like Alan Banks, and in the later books he has a delightful Jamaican girl who is a lot of fun. She reminds me of Myrna, but she’s much younger. I hope you enjoy them.

Barbara, the idea of several characters with the name Evan reminded me of a hilarious piece by Dr. Seuss called “The 23 Daves”. It’s about a mother who had 23 sons and she named them all Dave, and then he goes into a wonderful list of all sorts of other names she could have called them. If you remember reading it to your kids, it was in the book The Sneetches and Other Stories. You can imagine what happened when Mom called them into supper. She just opened the door and yelled “Dave” and then they ran her over as they rushed into the house! That man had a marvellous sense of humour!

Oh Yes. Dr. Seuss. I’m going to the children’s section at the library and check it out. The Librarians joke about my choice of books. They say eclectic but they mean weird I think. They are a special group to me. They are animal lovers as well as readers so that gives us much in common.

Anna, on another topic, we were talking about parcels getting to and from Australia. My parcel got to my daughter in just over a week! It would take longer than that to get it across this country! Also her parcel to me arrived yesterday and she mailed it shortly after I mailed hers. I reckon we have both done well this year! Now I have to get ready to ship my parcels to the rest of my kids in Ontario and a granddaughter out west. Shortbreads are made and packed for them, so now it’s just wrapping the other gifts and finding the right box to ship them in. I send them on the bus and they get there very quickly. But there are so many things to do this time of year! I haven’t got cards done yet, except a few to relatives in England, and Christmas is only two weeks away!

We’ve been having a severe rain storm, probably flooding, but at least we don’t have to shovel it! I think it will be done by tomorrow.

I agree Julie. All good things take time. Louise has a very loyal following and it keeps growing as we introduce our friends to her fabulous books.

I too am grateful for this cozy space!

Looks like Louise came sixth in the Goodreads which was won by Mr Mercedes from Stephen King. That won narrowly from The Silkworm. It is simply a popularity contest. All it tells us is that more people have heard of these books. We need to keep spreading the word!

Anna – you are right! Of course, Louise (with the help of Paul and his crew) are doing a fine job. She told of the first book being published and thinking that she and Michael should be getting ready for a “book tour”. When her publisher (I think this was the English publisher) said that there was no point, as nobody knew about the book yet, she and Michael decided to do it on their own. She definitely said it was a “lesson in humility”. When you’ve just published this wonderful book, but nobody’s had a chance to read it and love it and want to meet you yet, nobody shows up to the book signings… It’s a very different story now – standing room only in really large venues – it’s not like she could go to a little tiny bookstore now – the place would be overrun! So it takes time… but Louise will soon be there – the books are too good to not give her her place in history!

Thank you, Paul, for always being there in the background! And thanks for setting up this cozy place where we can drop in whenever we get a chance. It’s something special to look forward to at the end of my day!

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