The Bistro

The Bistro

The Bistro Banner
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”

Julie, I didn’t even think that was Rosa! Good eyes. Yay.
Jean-Guy was at the blind where they put the satellite then ran cables to the school house. The blind was well into the woods and was quite a trek away from the school house when he ran after Gamache.

Your welcome. It amazes me the amount of times I’ve listened to Louise’s books while I cleaning, organizing, emptying boxes. My sons call me (lovingly) ‘a fountain of useless information’. They keep me company, especially when Mike is on travel…

Anna, your post with links to articles on the ‘based on fact’ part of the story finally showed up! Fourth from bottom up on page 49. I really like your caveat to look after finishing the book. Well done. 🙂

Julie, I think I know which one you’re talking about. It’s the first to the right of Old Stage Road. But I meant one of the not highlighted homes. From Myrna’s bookstore cross Du Moulin. It has two chimneys…

As for who lived in a tiny house… Ben Hadley moved to a little cottage and told everyone his mom had kicked him out. I see Hadley’s Mill, but is that the big house now turned inn and spa? At first I thought it might be the huge place one fist encounters coming down the right side of Du Mulin, but then, which is the school house? The next place going down the road which looks like is has a bell tower? So confused… 😉

Oh, I didn’t even look at that one, isn’t that odd? Yes, that’s definitely a glass conservatory, isn’t it? I think that the old Hadley House turned inn and spa is the one on Du Moulin – up on the hill, and looking directly into the Bistro, as you remember from The Brutal Telling. I feel very sure of that one, even though it doesn’t look remotely Victorian to me. I definitely think that the little one with the bell tower, a little further down Du Moulin is the schoolhouse, which surprises me, because I kind of pictured it further away from the town, having to go through woods to get there… Didn’t Beauvoir have to chase Gamache quite a way through deep snow to shoot him? I guess it IS cut off from the Village Green by some trees, but it’s so close to the town. Still, these are little details, and I just love the look of the village. I also love that Rosa is in the pond…

Just finished TNOTB ! All superlatives apply. It is my new favorite. The next book could go in so may directions. I’m fighting to not use an ! after every sentence. I just can’t say enough.
Must go to start re-read.
Have a great day to all.

Can’t wait. The book is so different from what I had expected it to be when we finished discussing TLWH. I’m making notes during my reread and I’ve a few questions from my first read. I read so fast that I probably missed many points. I just couldn’t wait to see what came next.
Back to reading.

Barbara – you read it so fast, I’m amazed! Good for you! It is amazing, isn’t it? I just love the sense of new beginnings coming out of it… So glad Millie thought to send it to you – thank you, Millie! I should have thought of that myself. Yipee!

I got a MAP in today’s mail!!!! 😀
The big envelope was face down on the porch glider, wouldn’t fit in the mailbox. When I saw it there I held my breath, not wanting to get my hopes up too much. But my eyes were as big as twin moons. When I saw the return address, I felt like a child seeing a gift under the Christmas tree and yes, relief, joy and gratitude! Over reaction? Nope! Validation of the power of keeping a positive attitude. I kept telling myself, “If I’m meant to have a map, I’ll get one.” Yay!

I see what people mean by wanting to photocopy the map. Frame the original and write notes on the copy and maybe add a little color for our mental health… lol

I’m still confused as to who lives where. At least with the aide of a magnifying glass I finally know the bookstore is on the left of the four. lol…

Julie, you raised a good question, who lives in the tiny houses. Ruth’s was described as tiny yet it’s still a two story. And Emily’s sounded huge enough to welcome the entire village over after midnight service on Christmas… The Gamache’s now have weekend BBQ’s for the villagers, as per previous book. But who has a glass conservatory At the back? I would have remembered that. I’d love one. Especially living in the land of big mosquitos that love me. 😉

I wondered about that glass conservatory, too – maybe it’s a reference to the game of Clue? But sometimes, when I look at it, it becomes a cement walkway… so maybe it’s not too far-fetched to think of it as the Gamache house. When Gamache and the Brunel’s needed a place in HTLGI, the house had bedrooms enough for them and Nicol. I figure in the living room/kitchen/dining room areas when Emilie had her parties, the whole village just crammed in – I feel the same about Clara’s – people just get closer… But I’ve probably been thinking of them all as smaller than they really are. I have had a couple of small houses, and so did my parents, but they weren’t as small as what I’ve been imagining.

Julie, I decided to go back one page to make sure I hadn’t missed a post and Voila! I found your post about your ball gown at the very end of the page. Oh do tell more! I’m so excited for you.

Oh, this is kind of funny, when I need to rest my back, I’ve started playing with an app called duolingo and I’m trying to learn a bit of French so I can understand what they are saying in French in Louise’s books! Bonne nuit. 😀 Good night.

I love that you are learning French just for Louise’s books!

I’ll be able to show pictures of my gown soon. My dressmaker first made a dress of muslin, then I had a fitting for that, so she really knew what she was doing before she cut into any of THE fabric. The underdress is a lovely gold silk, very light. Then we have the lace on top. We based it on this dress – http://tinyurl.com/qa75rpd – which is an antique. Mine will have long sleeves because I’m more comfortable with that, and no train, as I’m sure I’d trip on it. But it will have the asymmetrical cut and the scalloped edge though my fabric is more allover lace. Here is a picture of it: http://tinyurl.com/q4w4j6m In a week or so, I’ll have a final fitting of the dress, though she expects that there will be some adjustments from that. I have also bought a set of “short stays”, which is the proper undergarment for this kind of dress – it’s quite the contraption: http://tinyurl.com/n9vvvos Oddly enough, it’s very comfortable.

Julie, The fabric is stunning. What a beautiful dress it will be. The “short stays” would do wonders for my appearance I think. So would cutting out snacks, but ……
I haven’t read NOTB. It was supposed to be ordered by the Library system, but the truth was that no books were being ordered. GSAW was about the last book ordered. The Director has been fired and an interim appointed. There were many problems it seems.
I drop in the Bistro several times a day.
Millie, your post about doing the best we can was well put. I congratulate your plan to learn French. A few years ago, I was interested in learning German but got distracted from it. I have thought about trying again since I found my Vocabulary sheets while sorting books last week.
Good thoughts and peace to all.

Millie, I am speechless. I knew you were a generous and kind person, but I hardly know what to say.
I have a book and have read the second chapter (already read the first online). I’m enthralled.
Check your email. I’m writing you in a sec.
Hugs and thanks from the bottom of my heart. You have done much to cause me to think that good people really do exist and I know some.
Deep thanks to Louise and Paul for giving us The Bistro.
The best to all.

Barbara, have you seen/ listened to the video Jan posted? Louise says she doesn’t watch the news or read newspapers. She says she doesn’t need to fill her mind and heart with bad news… My mom used togive me a hard time I do the same till I told her I couldn’t stay positive and have a joyful heart if I watched the news because they seem to go out of their way to find and report only one side – the ugliest of the world around them. And if she needed to talk about it she needed to find someone else. After months of, “I don’t want to know,” she has stopped.
In meditation classes half a lifetime ago, I learned ‘we create our own universe’… It just depends on what we choose to focus on. Focus on the good and kind people of the Bistro, Barbara. It’s filled with good, kind people. Then you’ll start noticing it in others. We can’t change people, but we can set boundaries, like I did with my mom. And we can do what gives us joy. Be yourself! A bright, intelligent woman who didn’t have a long childhood. If you want to color, ignore your bear’s huffs and puffs and color anyway. Time for you to let your inner child out to play, no matter what others think.
I love this quote, “what other people think of you is non of your business!” Just know that at the Bistro, we think the world of you!
Imagine a big group hug from all of us to you. Much love too.

Thank you all for the kinds words about my gown… I admit that I am absolutely excited about this, hee hee! I’ve bought shoes – ballet flats in an ivory lace fabric, which I think will do nicely… so I am all ready. The dressmaker is also making me a turban-like cap, and since I have very, very short hair, I have bought some extensions so that I will have some tendrils of hair “escaping” from the turban very artfully… well, that’s the plan, anyway! 😀 Won’t be long now – the ball is in early October!

Cathryne, I remember reading you listened to TNOTB. Me too, several go arounds now. Just wondering how you liked the new narrator? I’ll admit it was wonderful to hear Gamache have a real British accent, but it took several listens to adjust my ears to the new voices of some of the other characters, especially Ruth, Myrna and Gabri. I miss how delightfully ‘gay’ Gabri sounded.

That said, I loved how Louise introduced Bathurst and his performance was incredible. Oh, and the music at the beginning was a great choice. Just like the music was perfect for The Beautiful Mystery.

(My hubby thinks it’s an original composition made to sound like it could be by Neil Young. Yes I made him listen. lol… I wasn’t living in the US when his music was popular so I had to YouTube Harvest.)

I like the idea Julie, it is “our Bistro”. I’m in (if Paul OK’s it…)
But please let’s discuss the entire book rather than only X number of chapters at a time. So many threads carry through to the end…

Sorry to bother you again, but just to be clear, do you mean each post must have SPOILER ALERT? Not just one post at the start of our discussion?

I think that’s a good idea. If we put SPOILER ALERT just once before the discussion, a newbie could wander in and not have seen that because it’s on a previous page…

Here’s something I propose – we are all so wanting to discuss the book, and we don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t yet read the book. How about if we put our own date on when we can start the discussion, with a huge SPOILER ALERT POST before we get going? I propose that we start discussing it Monday, September 14th… Gives people either enough time to finish, or enough notice that we will start the discussion, that they can avoid it until they’re ready! What do you think?

Just occurred to me this is somewhat uncharted territory. At the Bistro, we assume everyone has read all the books. But listening to the interview of Louise, which Jan so graciously posted for us, it is apparent there are new readers all the time and Louise doesn’t want people giving out spoilers of earlier books, which we might do in a separate TNOTB page… I’m very glad the very top of this discussion group mentions all books will be discussed. So if a separate page for TNOTB does appear, let’s be very aware of that. Perhaps even keep our discussions of the entire series here? We could pop in and out of both…

Kim B, I’ve wanted to respond to your post next to last on page 46 for a long time and well, life…
This is part of what you wrote:

“My pattern is to muddle along with a fairly even keel until there is too much stress in my life or something comes along that makes me question my talents, capabilities and values. At that point, it takes everything in me to sit on deep insecurities and fears around not being (good) enough and anger, resentment, envy and ugliness come out through the cracks.”

I think you’d be surprised at how very many people actually do just muddle along most of the time. Doing the best they can in the midst of sometimes unbearable stress. Be it their own physical problems, or being caregivers which is horrendously tiring, or work overload… Even pressure cookers need to let a bit of the steam out constantly or the pot explodes. Unfortunately, what seeps out when so very tired is our self confidence, our sence of value. It takes a lot of effort to quiet the critical mind’s constant chatter of insecurity. It can almost get paralyzing if we listen to it as well as similar comments from others.

My way to shut out the critical mind is to listen to books in audio. I used to meditate daily but these last four years have been challenging in so many ways I couldn’t always shut down the mental to do’s, to worry’s, to meditate. So I found something else that works for now to keep the wolves of worry away.
The other thing I’ve been trying to tell myself constantly is that all I can do is my best at any given moment. If it doesn’t seem like enough for others, well that’s their problem, not mine!
Sometimes I tend to think I must be the only one muddling along. Honestly, it’s been three years I’ve been tackling, avoiding, tackling again the boxes of books! “What’s wrong with me?” Turns out it wasn’t “me” but my body. I hope this helps you feel you aren’t alone. Let the ‘merde’ out of the cracks so the light can get in! <3

Julie, I re-listened to the section of Gamache & Jean-Guy’s locations. Yes, Jean-Guy is at Ruth’s house but Gamache is at the Bistro’s door looking at the grocery store then looking at Jane’s house before he runs up the hill, Jean-Guy right behind him.
I think the ‘little mistake’, if it is a mistake and I’m not sure it is a ‘mistake’ at all, is something altogether different.

Good for you, Millie – that makes sense… I couldn’t remember the reason he would have actually GONE to Jane’s house… silly me. So now I still have to worry about the mistake…

I agree Millie. Could that “tiny mistake ” possibly refer to a proper noun involving a location/historical event located far away geographically and in time from Three Pines? It sort of confused me when I read it….and I wondered if another hugely memorable reference might have been intended. (Hope this is vague enough, ha ha.)

Oh, I think I remember now – I think I have the same thing in mind and think I know what it is… I actually had to look it up to reassure myself that I was remembering it right.

Julie, I think we are on the same wave length on this! I have loaned my copy of the book to a friend but do have a recollection that that specific mention gave me pause enough to look it up as well. A choice was made…..don’t think I could ever call it a “mistake” though. Glad you’re back safely.

Jan, I really don’t know. And I’m starting to wonder if we’ve started looking for ‘mistakes’ – real or just our own interpretation of what we read. I know that during my first mad dash first read thru, I was confused about something. I mentioned it to Anna and when she explained her interpretation of the scene it made so much more sense!
I know we want desperately to discuss the book, but if I were Louise, my heart would be breaking thinking that my loyal fans were scouring the book for ‘mistakes’, so I personally am going to stop that and wait for the open discussion where we can ask, “How did you interpret this?” Otherwise, I’ll feel I’ve not learned anything about ‘a place where goodness exists’. That place is in my heart. But everyone, please understand I’m not standing in judgement of anyone who wishes to continue, it IS a topic that has even me wondering. I just can’t continue just yet. I’m just one little person (literally! :-), who has one little opinion so carry on, my friends.

Oh, I agree, Millie! And for me, if I’ve got the right thing in mind, it’s not a mistake, it’s a choice. But it’s so tiny, that it doesn’t matter at all… I think this was one of Louise’s most powerful books – again, trying hard not to produce any spoilers, but the struggle between good and evil was never more evident. Lately, I’ve been thinking about Armand – what direction would I be taking him in if he were “mine”… He is that most elusive of all things – a truly good person. When he meets up with someone who is the exact opposite – truly evil – it makes for a spine-tingling read!

Julie, there’s one scene which is so powerfully written I feel I’m in the room! Eek! I have to skip over it if I’m alone or its dark. Not much writing affects me that way. Shudder.

Millie – that’s true, isn’t it? I think I know the scene you mean, and it is amazing! I read it in a rush, because we were at an apex, and I just had to know… Crazy good writing!

Millie, I think you are a big spirit and your thoughts surely have enriched all discussions. I see myself as an ancient person but one who also has always been the “listener/observer” type. It is difficult to join in verbally a lot of the time but that feels very OK here, I am very grateful to have this welcoming site. And remember Millie , those who would try to shoot you down in life are perhaps only inwardly needing to build themselves up….sad but true.

Oh, Jan, thank you for such kind and supportive words.

This is such a marvelous ‘place’. You’ve found comfort knowing it’s perfectly OK to be a listener and I’ve found a place where I can blab on about books with kindred spirits.

Cathryne, you are so kind to think of me. Like Millie, I wouldn’t want to breach any copyright. Let’s see how it pans out. I have a map in my head!

I need to read the book again. I started but darn life just gets so busy. I can’t wait for a spare moment to check the link you posted Jan. How thoughtful.

I think this book is one of my favourites already. It’s like a new beginning. I can see a whole slew of threads Louise could follow. Curious to know what she will do in the next book, which strand she will pull.

I am very jealous of all those who have been able to get to one of Louise’s events. I can’t imagine she will get to Australia any time soon but hopefully I can get to one in North America next time.

Paul – please direct me if I’m about to do wrong… Because I went back in and submitted my name a second time (to make sure) I have two maps. May I mail one to Anna? I didn’t for a second think that could happen, so I didn’t worry about going back the second time – I just wanted to make absolutely sure I was on the list at least once. I thought there would be a program or something that would spit out a repeated name.

That’s an honest oops, Julie. And if it’s an original, I’m pretty sure there would be no copyright violations sending an original to Anna. If anyone deserves one, it’s her! 🙂

My beautiful map of Three Pines came today. My neighbor from across the street knocked on the door and handed the big envelope to me and said it was mistakenly delivered to his house a day or two ago. We don’t know each other at all so I was especially grateful. It was a nice way to meet a new neighbor, but made me wish I had introduced myself right away when they moved in!
Anyway, I’m thrilled, but I need help. I hope some smart, savvy people have identified more homes, places than I have so far. I’m going to make an extra copy so I can write on one.
Anna, have you found someone to mail a copy to you in Australia? If not, I can see how nice a copy I can have made and send one to you if you let me know an address.
I am presently listening to TNOTB for the third time; well, I read it first, next listened, now listening again. Each time, of course, I notice more and enjoy more. I’ve been thinking about all of the Louise Penny readers since I sat down the first night, a feeling of shared experience and community, though wide-ranging geographically. So fun!
Maybe we can start talking maps, I hope so!


Struggling with “technology” this a.m. but thought a try at posting this video would be so worth the effort and give much joy to all who could not make it to any of Louise’s NOTB book tour destinations in August. My granddaughter (of course, another LP fan) drove over 300 miles to attend the one in Seattle and surprised me later here in Oregon with not only a wonderful signed copy of the book, but a lovely photo of herself with Louise. What a thrilling experience! I remain deeply grateful to both of them as well as all of those dear (surviving ) souls in Three Pines. It’s a great book!

Glad you enjoyed it Millie. Honestly though, I really identify with Louise’s “result” on that magazine personality quiz she mentioned. 🙂 Seriously.

Jan, I giggled at that comment. Me too! I already zone out… She probably filled out those quiz questions right before writing A Rule Against Murder. She actually has Clara saying just that. LOL…

Oh, lovely. I was out of town for this, and sorely tempted to cancel my trip, though it would have actually cost me a lot of money, hahaha. I will savor this, as well.

One of ‘us’ has a map. That’s wonderful! (mumble, grumble, I don’t have one, 😉 I’d ask for a copy but we don’t really know if we can copy a limited edition. As much as I’d like one, I don’t want to break any intellectual property rights… Paul, I think we need guidance here.

I did print out for myself the little section Louise shared with everyone… My sense of direction is terrible so that helped a lot. But exactly who lives where is still a mystery to me. I’m not even sure which is the B&B! They aren’t identified on the map? (Sob!)

I did feel that sense of belonging, of community while reading / listening. Loved all the pictures of people holding up their copies during her tour. A little part of me cheered, and smiled every time she posted a picture of a new place feeling a part of something wonderful – a group of people who love goodness and kindness. Yay, us!

Cathryne – I’m with you – I am having a devil of a time figuring things out. A few houses are highlighted, but I think it’s to show the front of a house that has some importance, and that doesn’t show in the regular view… But there is one highlighted house that I can’t think whose it could be, and of course, some confusion as to which is exactly Clara’s, indisputably. I know it’s one of two… And the same for Gamache’s house – I know it’s one of two, but the other is also highlighted, and who lives next door to the Gamaches? I was sure it would come with labels. Once again, Paul – can you shed some light? We REALLY need to know!

From the previous book, Gamache is walking with Ruth, they stop in front of his (Emily’s) house and she goes into hers, next door…. It’s when she tells him the house has been empty for too long, ‘it’ wants company, even company as banal as you. Made me think Ruth wanted company more than the house…. 🙂

Oh – maybe that’s the mistake then… because I was thinking Ruth’s house was the one beside the B & B – because in TNOTB, Beauvoir is in Ruth’s house, and Gamache is in Jane’s house, and they look out the windows and can see each other directly across the green. But Jane’s house has to be beside Clara’s house, from Still Life… If Gamache was in Jane’s house and looking directly across the green, he wouldn’t be able to see Jane’s house if it’s beside Gamache’s…

I’ve also been looking at who definitely has two-story houses, and that’s Ruth, Jane and Gamache, but they’ve not said about Clara’s house, I think. I also think about who’s poor enough that they couldn’t afford a big house though I expect the prices on houses in a small village would be pretty affordable.

POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT What??? I read it as though Gamache was at the grocer’s looking at Jane’s house then his gaze travels up the hill to St. Thomas’s. Geez I need another re-read!?!

Doesn’t A Trick of the Light have Clara & Peter going upstairs and downstairs to and fro their bedroom?

I think it’s Beauvoir who looks at Jane’s house and then his gaze goes up the hill to the church. BUT, I could also have it wrong – there was a lot going on just then.

I didn’t remember an upstairs at Clara’s house – but again, it was probably mentioned in passing, and I just missed it. I’ve been trying to mark all information about where houses are in juxtaposition to other houses, but that doesn’t mean I remember them all!

Paul Hochman, any idea when the book discussion page will be available? Soon? Maybe? The wait is almost as hard as waiting for the book, which is extraordinary.

BTW, Bistro friends, if you haven’t checked out the latest ‘Real Places of Three Pines’ it’s ‘Myrna’s bookstore inspiration. The write up is terrific. It sounds just like what you’d find inThree Pines!

Thank you, Paul. The caveat is a tough one. Would it be better to just wait, since so much would be a potential spoiler?

Julie, are you back from your trip? I’ve missed you! I found something you might like while looking at a Diana Gabaldon post – a tee shirt printed with 40 thousand words of Pride and Prejudice: litographs.com
Search tees. I don’t wear tees or I’d get one. It’s beautiful.

Hi, Millie – sorry to keep you wondering… I got back on Monday as expected, but was so afraid of reading spoilers, or even being urged on to finish the book faster, that I stayed away. Finished it last night. OMG! It was powerful – I think we are now beginning to build toward another great suspenseful showdown…

I’m most intrigued by the “tiny mistake”. I certainly didn’t notice anything… and now I NEED TO KNOW!!!!!! Hahahahahaha.

Millie – those t-shirts are very cool – I might think about getting a tote – the Tees have too tight a neck for me – I need a boatneck, or I feel strangled. I love that idea, though!

Hi to all Three Piners! Had a great time listening to Louise in Pittsburgh! She was a delight and very appreciative of all her fans. My daughter and I sat front row,center! After speaking and answering questions, she signed books for all 600 of us! Louise and I had a lovely chat about Alzheimers and its far reaching effects. My life is richer for knowing her and her wonderful characters! I marathon read TNOTB Sunday, and now am going over it slowly, absorbing and savoring every word and emotion! I think I caught the mistake , Maday! The depth of emotions from Armand are heart wrenching!

Sounds like you had an amazing time Amy, how wonderful. Louise must have an amazing amount of energy to sign 600 books!
Alzheimers is a disease like a boulder in a pond….the ripples are large and spreading. I find the isolation aspect the hardest, both for the patient and those who love them. I so admire Louise and her ability to take her husband on holidays and still maintain her life. I am sure it isn’t easy.

Leave a Reply to Anna Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

Skip to content