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.

3,656 replies on “The Bistro”

SPOILER ALERT……………………………………………………………………………………………………

Antoinette believed the play was worthy of production. It was not a about praising or excusing evil. Though I have no experience in the theater, I have read of instances were plays have opened in spite of protests. The play was not evil but was written by an evil man. I would not have wanted to see it just as I would not want one of Hitler’s paintings. I would dwell too much on the evil of the man. At the same time, would I refuse medical treatment if a terrible person had developed it ? No, I would be thankful the treatment existed. Judgment of creations that carry the stain of an evil creator becomes very confusing and illogical.

Interesting what you say about medical treatment Barbara. There was a lot of medical knowledge gained by terrible experiments that the Nazis performed. So much debate about whether to use the knowledge. The information became tainted with how it was developed even though it was valuable.

As for your abilities Barbara….hard to explain them I am sure but accept. They are you and they are important. Actually quantum physics +/- string theory certainly has room to explain such things. Particle entanglement comes to mind. Your husband is just coping in the only way he knows how.

Anna, Nazi experiments came to mind as I was writing.
Being married to me has not been easy for my husband, I know. His life would have been much more ” on course” if he had married someone more like him and his. He knew we were very different but thought it would not matter so much. I really think he thought I would change or mellow. Love can conquer all but it doesn’t always.

Hey, you’re very right to be angry with Al. He DID do a horrible, unforgivable thing. I just see him as two completely different people in each of his circumstances. But I can understand being unable to find the good in him, no matter how hard he tried… And you’re very right – if he’d let Laurent know that he was right – if he’d followed him into the woods to “find” the gun, it might have saved a great number of lives. He is directly responsible for Laurent’s death in that case… yet another unforgivable act.

But at that point in time, nobody was aware that Brian was looking for the WOB and the plans. And Laurent blurted out his “find” to the villagers and only told his parents later. If Al wasn’t aware of the searchers, he wouldn’t have been on guard.
I don’t know Al’s age when he committed his worst evil. I pictured him as young and impressionable, believing in the intelligence of his commanders. He would have been taught (indoctrinated) that war calls for situational ethics. And he only thought it through after it was too late. What a horrible “too late” for all! Lambs to the slaughter. Laurent, the little lamb. Laurent to the slaughter. You can’t run away from mistakes…they show up again in choices or fate.


Millie, I agree absolutely that war is hell and can create a psychological environment that allows humans to do awful things. But, and it’s a big but….”just following orders” is never a defense. It didn’t work for the Nazis at Nuremburg and it doesn’t work in today’s military. Not following a lawful order in wartime can be punishable by death but there is such a thing as an unlawful order and killing innocent civilians would fall into that category. Carrying out an unlawful order is a crime in itself.

I didn’t feel sorry for Al really. He did a terrible thing and he ran away afterwards. If he truly felt he was doing what he had to do then he should have stood up and faced his accusers and given a defense. But he knew it was wrong. When he said “I was alone……..but I did it anyway I lost all feeling for him. He reminded me of Dleming at that point. And he was cowardly. He was cowardly then and he was cowardly when his son found what he found (I am still trying to be cryptic to avoid obvious spoilers which is really hard!). Why not tell his son that he was right? Why not say he wasn’t lying? If he had spoken up then his son wouldn’t have had to die.

It is much harder to be good than bad sometimes. Julie said that Gamache was a thoroughly good man and he is. No wonder he is tired and in need of the space of Three Pines. But he is too good to stay there.

SPOILER ALERT – we’ll be discussing the book as a whole, so go beyond this point at your own peril if you haven’t read the book. 😉 (I did a copy and paste. Thanks Julie.)

Anna, I thought about your question before the opening of discussion: how could someone do terrible things, yet live and love and not do monstrous things? What immediately came to mind were soldiers and the untold number of veterans that have PTSD! My sons have friends who served in either Iraq or Afganistan. They have a haunted look deep in their eyes. One can’t attend fireworks displays any longer. A car backfiring makes him jump out of his skin. Then he looks so embarrassed. Another can’t even bring himself to date. He’s afraid he will die soon. Another has developed OCD – her world must be ‘just so’… I’m very fortunate that these young men and women feel comfortable talking to me as if I were their own age. I’ve heard many a story of the anguish they feel for having to have ‘carried out orders’. For having to follow orders to kill or to have witnessed buddies die in their arms… The training is so ingrained to ‘follow orders’, and the stress level so high, that’s what they do – follow orders. Personally I felt sorry for Al at the end. He had already lost his son. Karma / justice? He lived through his personal hell and truly loved his son and wife. But was he as monsterous as Fleming? I don’t think so. I believed him when he told Jean-Guy, and company, he was following orders, they were the enemy… That said, I thought the exchange between him and Ruth at the very end was beautifully written. He cared about what would happen to his wife and asks Ruth to care for her. That does not come from an inherently evil heart.

Now, consider ‘secret’ or covert operatives. They are even more rigorously trained to ‘dispose of problems’. Semantics, but can you imagine a career where your job is to kill whomever you are ordered to? Because some organization or political persona finds them too difficult to work with? I can’t, but they exist. But are they themselves evil? I don’t think so.

I don’t remember if it’s in this book or another, but Gamache quotes something to the effect that no one is as evil as the worse thing they did – except Fleming perhaps. Gave me the willies!

Yes, Julie, the scene of Gamache interrogating him was the one I had to skip over if I was alone. Like someone here said before, Holy Moly! I think Fleming is a masterfully depicted embodiment of evil. One of the classic ‘stereotypes’ in literature. But we don’t live in a world of all or nothing. As for Gamache? Louise, up until this story has made a point of someone telling Gamache he wasn’t always right. He is a very good man, but flawed like the rest of us. I think we’ll find he made a very big mistake in thinking Rosenblatt is the ‘taproot’. Right from his introduction we are given many examples that he has a good heart. He hears a child is killed as says he’s sorry to hear that. And just for fun, I thought there would be no way Louise would give a ‘bad guy’ the name of her beloved Michael. Call me sentimental!

One thing that really bothered me (because it jarred me into ‘think out of my comfort zone’ mode) was Gamache saying “the creator and the created are one.” Ultimately, spiritually, I think so, yes. But that still doesn’t give anyone the right to judge others – either people or their creations – based on ‘the sins of the father’. I side with Reine-Marie on that one. Ergo, I don’t think Antoinette was intrinsically evil. Opportunistic? Absolutely. A pain in the derrière? Her neighbors thought so, but that’s a long way from ‘evil’.

But let’s take a look at Laurent for a moment. That was another ‘think outside my comfort zone’. Granted he’s another classic storytelling stereotype (the boy who cried wolf). [BTW: my use of stereotype is used in strictly literary terms and not meant as jugemental. Some of the best literature rely on stereotypes] But Myrna says most children grow out of their imaginary world. Do they naturally do so? Or are children taught what to believe is real or not? I’ve mentioned before that I have empathic abilities. In terms of physics, if we believe that everything is ultimately energy, I’m just more attuned to the energy of other people, places and things. It’s hereditary. I get it from my dad’s side. When my sons were toddlers I asked my mom to watch the boys a few hours but didn’t tell her why. It was so hubby and I could have a very serious discussion. I wanted to try for a third child, he did not. When we picked up the boys later, my mom told me that our elder son had started getting agitated telling her ‘Mommy’s crying’ and she told him not to be silly. I told my mom yes indeed I had been crying and why and to never discount what my sons felt again. Both my sons grew to trust their ‘gut feelings’ and has even saved their lives on several occasions. Like feeling they should wait a moment after the light turns green and lo and behold a car runs the red light.

I’m not saying someone like Laurent should be allowed to get away with flat out lies, like his parents’ house being on fire. No. But I do believe that creativity, imagination is stifled too much. Goodness, if a kid is just being a kid, label him ADD and drug him into placid compliance? That does not seem right to me either.

OK, I’ve been sitting here for more than my 20 minutes. So I bid you a good night for now. Let the discussions continue.


Is Antoinette’s stubborn refusal to adandon the play related to evil? Was she right or wrong? The play itself was not evil. Do we abandon the creations of evil people even if the creations are not. Is it like the sins of the fathers being visited upon their children?

To take this theme – is the creation a part of the creator, and therefore, if the creator is evil, does that make the creation evil… that’s a very difficult thing for me to say. I think back to (a much lesser example) Woody Allen and his taking up with a young woman who had been his stepdaughter in all practical senses. She was definitely his son’s sister. I had loved Woody’s films up til then, but after that, I couldn’t watch them anymore. His acts had tainted his work for me. So, to me, the artist and his art cannot be separated. Still, I know that many others disagree with this and feel that art stands on its own, apart from whoever created it. It’s a very interesting problem…

So, after all that – I don’t know what to talk about first – but I think what you’ve already touched on is good – the historical aspects. I was astonished to read what Anna put up (I think it was Anna) about the actual people involved, and Baby Babylon… that was incredible to me, as it seemed so far-fetched to be true! The description of Gerald Bull, as a super-salesman seems to be right-on, too. To be so cavalier about selling such things to the highest bidder seems shocking to me. Not, I guess, evil, so much as completely uncaring.

The struggle between good and evil was unbelievably well drawn, too. The interview between Gamache and John Fleming is heart-stopping! More and more, Gamache is, to me, a thoroughly good man. Even though he’s not perfect – he makes mistakes – but his heart is pure and he somehow always finds it in himself to look evil in the eye.


Where do you think John Fleming really comes into all of this. What depths are we going to trawl there?
There seemed to be a manifestation of different types of evil in this book.
Fleming definitely of the psychopathic kind
Bull of the arms dealer kind, of which there are many individuals and corporations for whom the business of war is precisely about profits. Hence the term profiteering from the war.
Then there is, shall I say, situational evil. Is that perhaps the kind ordinary people find themselves faced with in situations where evil is normal practice. Think ordinary Germans in Nazi death camps. Is the situation ever a reasonable excuse? There are many cases of atrocities in war. Are all the perpetrators evil or good people doing evil things and is there a difference? If you read my book you will guess that I ponder this not infrequently.

I am not long up Julie but our paths cross for several hours. Of course the exigencies of the day often interfer unfortunately in that time. I have been staying up later and getting up earlier so my time zones cross more with my daughter who is visiting NY. They are at the Statue of Liberty right now. Such a small world really.


I agree, Anna – there are gradations of evil in this book… Fleming at the very epitome of evil. I think, if anyone can be thought of as being as bad as their worst act, he is it (as is Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy and other so-called serial killers). Nobody else can be thought of this way, I don’t think. Bull is simply someone who doesn’t care about other people one way or another, as opposed to plotting to hurt as many people as possible in the worst way possible… and I don’t want to spend a lot of time down in these depths, because I do tend to get upset by it all. But I also have to think about Brian – how do you do what he has done – and especially to the person he has lived with all those years – just to try to find those plans? This floors me… the day in and the day out of it all… biding your time, waiting for the exact opportune moment, and then striking. Did Antoinette know all he had done at her end? Could she fathom the scale of it all? The betrayal is so hard for me to think of.

I often find people’s actions hard to understand, in real life, as well as in well-written books, so Antoinette’s behavior – her insistence on going on with the play, especially after everyone knew who wrote it, is mystifying to me, but I have not worried too much about figuring out why. I could accept any of several answers – it was a connection to her uncle, whom she loved – the play was very good on its face, no matter who wrote it – she didn’t believe any of them were as bad as people said… She doesn’t really bother me – there are so many mystifying people in the world, what’s one more? hahaha.

Al is someone I do feel had changed. I think he had done his worst deed, and after that, couldn’t face any more of that. He deliberately turned his back and started a new life – became a new person. I think he truly loved his son and wife and the loss of his son to him was so tragic it was beyond any kind of justice he needed to face. I think he was the gentle man he seemed to be – but one born out of despair and guilt. If that’s Karma, then people are right – Karma’s a bitch, hahaha.

Poor Laurent – he’s been adored by his parents his whole life. In a way, he’s been encouraged to use his imagination, and has not had that stifled. Do we all start out with that ability, and have it stamped out? I do think so. At least, I do think that traditional schools stamp it out as best they can. I expect that it’s not as bad today as it was when I was a child, but I remember so many left-handed children forced to write with their right hands – to be made to conform. Color inside the lines. Do it the right way. There is only one right way. It’s a wonder we get out of there with any of our true selves left intact.


Okay – we are beginning the discussion of The Nature of the Beast – and we’ll be discussing the book as a whole, not just the first four chapters, or anything like that, so go beyond this point at your own peril if you haven’t read the book. 😉

Hi, everyone – I think we should, indeed, start, and since this is just us, I think any one of us could have started the discussion. Waiting for me has proved foolhardy because I am such a late riser, and in the latest time zone possible in this group, I think… I’m getting up when Anna’s going to bed, I think, or something close to it…

When are we going to start the discussion? I have been checking every few hours. I didn’t know if we were using our local time or EDT. I don’t remember the hour we started previous discussions.
I don’t want to be first because it might not be time yet.

As a starter Barbara, how did you like the historical elements woven into the novel? Louise said in her video that the truth was so unbelievable she had to deal with that by having the characters disbelieve as she did when she first heard the tale. Truth is truly stranger than fiction.

There was a lot of history in this novel which I really enjoy. It grounds the story. But typical Louise, she takes the human face of history and makes it emotive and important. It isn’t just a filler for the story.

I knew nothing about the primary historical element until I researched it. I was shocked but yet again, learning from Louise. History is so exciting.
I was pleased that two of the characters had been among those Canadians who helped my countrymen during a soul wrenching time. Then shocked and disgusted to read the truth about the person they had aided. I remember that event too.
Louise’s background in news serves her well.
I think TNOTB is not just my favorite Gamache novel but my favorite of all the books I have read.

Interesting that Louise, like many here, does not watch, read, listen or follow the news now. She said her friends will tell her if it is important. I can understand that but I do admit a fascination for world events and how history can inform our current situation.

I thought a lot about the horrible things humans can do to each other Barbara and what I found hardest was finding a way to imagine how someone can do terrible things but still be a person who can love and live and not be monstrous at other times. I think it shows that given some circumstances the most difficult thing is not to be corrupted by the horror around us. I would hope I wouldn’t be but I don’t know. I have never been challenged that way.

Hi Millie – yes, I know I am not alone. I haven’t managed the time to meditate and journal, but I have a pre-teen daughter who has big feelings and puts a lot of pressure on herself to be perfect. Which leads to huge insecurities. I spend a lot of time with her, trying to make sure that she doesn’t beat herself up … trying to get her to be gentle with herself and become her own best friend. Working through issues with her is helpful for me too. Luckily, she is aware that her depths of despair and nothingness moments aren’t based in fact – which comes out in her choices of posters and thoughts of the day, from a simple “Happiness is a choice” to “Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.” If you are not careful, you become what you tell yourself that you are in your weakest and darkest moments. Such is the power of words.

I love that you are learning French for Gamache. (I am assuming it is for Gamache and not for Jean Guy. 🙂 ) Bravo! C’est fantastique!

‘Salut’, Kim. At least your daughter is going through that phase now, in her teens and not in her 60’s! I still need to tell myself the very same things. But here’s one I recently read which made me feel better: “It matters not so much when you bloom, but that you bloom!” 🙂

Merci beaucoup. Actually, I’m trying to learn French for me! So I can understand the words and phrases Louise graces us within her books. I need to change from sitting to standing to feet up every 20 minutes. If I started a creative project, I’d just sit with it for hours at a time. A little lesson fits in nicely within that time frame and satisfies my need to stretch my mental muscles too. (I switch from reading to audio.) Although, I must admit it’s driving me nuts that singular and plurals sound the same so far. It hasn’t helped that since TNOTB came out I haven’t been as diligent. C’est la vie!

Please join us when you can, for tomorrow we start informally discussing ‘le livre’ TNOTB here at The Bistro.

Millie, you are amazing. Your 20 minute routine must be so hard to follow. I sit for hours playing games and researching various topics. I keep telling myself how unhealthy it is but I continue to do it. I just thought…I’ll set the kitchen timer to remind. One doctor told me to walk around in the house during each commercial when I have the TV on too. Just moving in place was also suggested. In addition to the reasons everyone needs to move, I need to increase endorphins.
It felt like Fall here yesterday and will for several days. Maybe between the weather and you example, I’ll be motivated.

That 20-minute routine sounds so good for you, and would be so hard for me to do, too. I’m an “all in” kind of person, so if I’m reading, that’s it – I will be in the exact same position hours from now – even if I’m on the computer, or stitching… It’s all I can do it pull myself away to make dinner or whatever chore HAS to be done…

Millie – I think that reading French is not too hard, for me, but listening to it and understanding, is impossible. There’s the plural and singular issue, but also the elides, which run one word into another, and a lot of words that sound very similar, even though they are spelled very differently. Add to that, the fact that so many French people speak very, very quickly, and I am lost!

Luckily, with Louise, I am only having to deal with the written word, and then just short phrases that can be guessed at if necessary, from context.

Millie, si tu veux practique le francais (sans accents, tant pis), je peux assister de temps en temps. Le francais etait ma specialisation secondaire a l’universite. Je n’ai pas beaucoup d’occasion de l’utilise maintenant.
OK – my phrases for the day. 🙂 It’s too bad that this format doesn’t seem to allow accents…unless I’m just missing it.
I will check on the discussion of TNOTB when I can. Now, back to work. 🙁

Kim, I found the only way to add accents or anything from a special font was to keep open a word document, write the word I wanted in that, and then cut and paste it into the comment section here. Sometimes, I really wanted to write a word correctly, and would do that… other times, I was lazy and knew everyone would know what I meant, hahaha.

I did one year of French at University and I can read what Kim wrote but I can’t compose a response. It is enough to get by with Louise but not enough in everyday conversation. I would love to do what Louise did and spend time in Quebec and be forced to learn more. I find speech too quick to follow but that is practise I am sure.

I studied two years of French in college, but can not follow a conversation. I have no ear for languages. I can not even understand heavily accented English. I used to read Latin and French but very poorly now. I understood what Kim wrote too but would not have if it had been spoken.

Ugh – my fingers aren’t hitting the keys hard enough….lots of missed “r”s in words that don’t need accents at all. Sigh. I may need a new keyboard.

I can empathise Kim. I have a just teen daughter. Yours is lucky to have an understanding mum who is sensitive to her needs and fears. Growing up is tough…I am still working on it.
Have you seen James Webb’s book Searching for Meaning.
There are some great resources on perfectionism if you are interested. Positive self talk is a great tool and one we should all use more often.

Doing great with your French Millie. Tres Bon! Louise talked about learning French in the video, which I only just watched but it was absolutely a good time to see it. It has motivated my writing in a big way.

Finished the reread and have questions and observations ready. Today I’m reading The Chimney Sweepers come to Dust by Alan Bradley. A Flavia de Luce novel. She has been sent to “school” in Canada from England. I have enjoyed this series.
I had some how failed to read some of the posts on the 2 previous pages…..can’t think how. LOL
Monday is going to be so much fun. Can’t wait to see everyone’s thoughts.
I am not watching TV today as I don’t want to do 9/11 again. My observance was a prayer this AM, with tears of course.
Once when the pain of Viet Nam was so bad, I could only read the comic section and the obit section of the paper. No War news or editorials. No TV News.
Books have always been my refuge.
Have a good weekend with peace and safety for all.

No TV for me either. Just remembering the time everyone was the same color, ash grey, and police and first responders were our heros and we were all Americans… Praying for some of that unity to return from within people’s own heart, not because of another catastrophic event…
Have a great weekend all. I’m back to putting books in shelves with TNOTB on audio. I see more floor!

Beautifully put. I think the feeling from those days was much like the feeling that was prevalent in the US during WWII. All in it together. I have read and heard of such wonderful togetherness. I, too, wish we could have that again but as you said, without the catastrophic event.
There was some of that feeling after Hugo destroyed much of the South Carolina Coast. Augusta and Charleston are closely related and we rallied to the cause. Many trucks left for Charleston filled with relief supplies. Then people from Churches and civic groups started taking goods in Vans and SUVs. Sam went later with workers from Church to help with the cleanup.

TV news has always been an up and down thing with me, too. During Viet Nam, the news was always on during dinner, and I would feel my throat close up and not be able to eat because the news was so distressing. I stopped watching the news for a long time, but my hubby likes to watch the news, and the last few years, I’ve joined him. I am very interested in whatever I can learn about politics, as not being born in this country, I need lots of information to vote. Of course, the info you get on the news is not always the best, and it needs to be supplemented with plenty more. I think 9/11 is a day like November 22, 1963. That was the first time I experienced being glued to the TV for days at a time. On 9/11 I was embroidering a project that was supposed to last me the whole time I was visiting my mother, but since we just sat and watched tv all day, I sat and stitched all day, and finished it. I dated it so I’d never forget, though it has not been needed as a reminder. :-/

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…

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