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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”

Anna, so glad to hear your night was enjoyable. At first I imagined you in a summery dress, then remembered that you are in the midst of winter. It was certainly time for an evening out in a new dress; I hope you found a dress you loved wearing. I also hope you didn’t have to slip a secret message to the U. S. Ambassador, a la Audrey Villeneuve in HTLGI, such a distraction.

Thanks for your kind thoughts Barbara and Julie. We had a nice night but it did get a bit cool. Met the U.S. Ambassador. Nice fellow.
I am keen to get to Georgia and see the history. And Julie, stay safe. Been watching the fires and they have been awful. Spoke to a fellow from Washington State last night and talked to him about it. Whole West Coast is so dry. Just at airport as husband flying to San Diego. Not so bad down there I think.

I hope San Diego is a bit better – it’s a very moderate climate, usually – probably the most perfect climate in the US, as it seems to vary something like 10 degrees between 65 and 75 as average temps through the year. I loved San Diego when I visited there, because of that. The extreme heat and almost any cold is hard for me. The heat is worse, I think, as you get to a point where you can’t take any more clothes off, hahaha.

Happy Independence Day for tomorrow to all those in the US. Off to Fourth of July party tonight. New dress for the occasion and first time I have been “out” in a long time

Hope you had a great time, Anna. You deserve it.

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY ! Our morning paper was filled with articles about the Revolution and especially Georgia’s participation. We have many monuments honoring the patriots and the graves of revolutionary leaders are found in our oldest cemetery.
Peace and comforting thoughts to the Bistro.

Hope you had fun, Anna! I expect your fourth is over and ours is just starting, at least for those of us who try to get up around noon, haha. We are in one of the few places in the US suffering from severe drought conditions, so people have been asked not to set off fireworks. Of course, the city will still have a big fireworks display, but they are always done from a raft in the middle of a lake, so not much danger of fire there… I hope people pay attention – we have one out of control fire in the state now, and it’s destroyed a great many homes… it doesn’t take much right now. Meanwhile, about a third of the country seems to be under water, as torrential rains don’t show signs of letting up. I begin to think this is going to be the “end times”.

Barbara – I think you are the one who recommended Into the Woods to us…. I put it on my Netflix list and last night, we watched it. You were right – it was delightful! I feel like such musicals are all becoming a lot more like opera – taking their cue from Les Miz, no doubt. Such a wonderful cast and beautiful movie! Thank you!

Julie, I’m the one who kept talking about how much I love Into The Woods. I think they did a great adaptation of the play to film. So glad you enjoyed it.

Hi, Millie. I thought you were the source for Into the Woods info. I was going to check back but had no time yesterday. The day went well for us.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, GA recently approved the sale of fireworks and use by individuals. I very much enjoy Pubic Fireworks Demonstrations, however. I feel it is a much safer option. People have always shot off fireworks here but they had to be purchased across the river in SC and the police would respond if it got out of hand or continued too far into the AM hours. The ones I heard last night sounded like news reports from areas under bombing attacks. I was worried the sound would prompt an incident in the Vets with ptsd. The late local newscast reported Vets asking to be informed when people in their neighborhoods were
planning to shoot fireworks. Some had placed signs on their lawns requesting to be informed. One woman said that if she knows the noise is coming she can brace for it. I wasn’t aware knowing would help. Hope that works for all but I think not.
I wish we could share the rains we have been having with those who need it so much worse. We are thankful for what we have been receiving and are about to have.

Happy Canada Day! Happy day for the audio listeners too. A narrator has been chosen for NOTB. Relief, since I’m a fan of audio too.

I thought about my previous post and realized so many were a part of the entire re-read, it would probably be redundant for me to point out things in HTLGI regarding Ruth…

Barbara, the book I found is a biography, not fiction. And I too am excited the wait for the next book is narrowing.

Julie, love your description of the dress, cape and upcoming ball. What fun. Do keep us posted.

Nancy, I too find it easier to read than to ‘see’ on film…

Wishing the U.S. members of The Bistro a Happy Fourth of July, and a great weekend to all.

Happy Canada Day to my Bistro friends! I don’t throw parties these days, but in my heart, I still celebrate Canada Day! It’s funny – it still seems “new” to call it Canada Day instead of “Dominion Day”, even though that happened when I was a teenager. (I guess I’m still 17 at heart, hahaha) My first husband was a transplanted American, so we celebrated the 4th, instead of the 1st – and always with a big party – it was our one big party per year. Now that I’m living in the US, my husband and I don’t do anything to mark either. We do enjoy the fireworks, as we can see them from our upstairs windows, but other than that, it’s usually another quiet day around our household.

I was pleased to see who will be doing the audio books – he’s an actor I’ve seen a few times, and have enjoyed. I think he’ll bring the right “gravitas” to the reading, and do Louise proud! That said, I’ve never heard any of the other books in audio form, and am thinking I ought to get one, just so I have had that experience…

The map of Three Pines is very exciting to me – I’ve entered the drawing, and seeing that basically, they’re giving the maps to the first 5000 people (from North American, I think) who pre-order, I’m hoping that means I have a chance. I’m very much afraid that after the giveaway there won’t be maps for sale, so if I don’t win one, I won’t get one…. I do hope we at least get to see the whole map.

I was reading Louise’s newsletter last night, in which she enclosed a second picture from her wedding to Michael. They look so happy, and as always, Louise looks so elegant. I have such a hard time thinking that the way she writes Clara, with the wild hair with crumbs in it, is how she sees herself, as photos always show the most elegant of women. I love to get the news from her – she had mentioned that in one of the forewords from the British publishers, there was a very candid interview included for the re-release of Still Life for the 10th anniversary, and that she had been shocked when she saw in print how intimate it seemed. Then she seemed to accept it and say – “Well, in for a penny, in for a pound!” – and embraced that we know so much about her life and situation. I think I would not have to courage to be so open about the difficulties of life, but I have to say that I love her for it. It makes me feel as though I really know her, and something in the sign-off of the newsletter made me think that she gets something from the relationship – a place where there are people who are sympathetic and who don’t mind hearing all about it. A bistro!

I keep forgetting that Louise writes a newsletter the first of every month, so thanks for mentioning it, Julie.

I’d better step up my re-read if we’ve got only 2 months left, hahaha. Actually, I think I’ll skip to HTLGI and that will be it… I’m such a slow reader. I can’t wait to immerse myself again into the life at Three Pines…

Yesterday, my DR. mentioned his move is to Louisville. I had to ask if his wife (they married last month) was a Jane Austen fan and told him about the Society and fall meeting. He was delighted as she is a fan and would like dressing in period clothing. Julie, I’m glad you told us about your gown and the meeting and I could share with him.
Last night we watched a PBS show from Wed. night, I think. First Americans and First Africans.
Kennewick Man found near the Columbia River in Washington was discussed. Native Americans’ request for the skeleton was strengthened when DNA tests identified him with them. The story of a woman trying to find where in Africa her ancestors came from was amazing. DNA results can be used in so many ways.

Oh, that’s fun! I hope she joins up – I think their region is very active, so even if she can’t go to the General Meeting in the fall, they will have monthly or semi-monthly meetings, where all would be welcome. The General Meeting apparently, fills up very fast once registration is open, which it has been for about a month – so it’s possible that she’d try to get in but not be able to. But there’s another every year – the following year, it’s in Washington, DC, which I am very much looking forward to.

That book sounds interesting Nancy. I shall look out for it.

So funny to hear of the Governors Mansion in Hyde Park. The NSW Governors mansion in Sydney is not far from Hyde Park!

Don’t be sorry Barbara! I Lways just assumed it was the Nazis who did all the rounding up. I felt a bit weird to see the French treat their own citizens that way. But then it was a difficult time in France when it was occupied with the Vichy government. I do find history interesting don’t you.

We have been lucky not to have been occupied as a nation, although the Indigenous population have been. During the war there was a controversial idea called “the Brisbane Line” where the Defence of Australia would be withdrawn to to below a line through the middle of the country from Brisbane across if the country was invaded by the Japanese. I think there was denial that it would happen but General MacArthur mentioned it in a speech. That would have abandoned a lot of people to their fate. Mmmmm. There is a book in that. Actually there was a children’s series based on the invasion of Australia by an unidentified enemy by John Marsden.

Just looked it up. (Isn’t the internet amazing?) It’s the Governors House in Hyde Park. Take a look.

Oh, isn’t that fun? I didn’t know Vermont had a Hyde Park – I have been to the New York one, as I have a friend whose husband is a professor at Vassar, and have visited there a couple of times… a very beautiful area!

I’d love to do a weekend there. I’m very used to people from all the different books mingling together, hahaha. Sometimes, the minor characters trip me up, but for the most part, they’re pretty easy to keep straight. Where I have a hard time is trying to recall if my memory of something is actually from a book, or just a movie… And of course, sometimes, they leave characters completely out of movies, or add bits of dialog that never was.

Oops, I was called away and when I came back I forgot that I was going to tell you about an inn that we saw last year when attending a play across the street. It was in a small Vermont town (I’ll have to look it up and get back to you if anyone is interested). Our friend’s daughter was in the play and when we came out I noticed a gorgeous house with beautiful grounds across the street. Then I noticed a sign saying it was an inn so when we got home I looked it up and learned that in the summer they have a Jane Austen weekend where people can come and dress up as their favorite character. There are JA themed activities also (want to learn to drive a horse??). The strange thing (to me anyway) was that the characters could be from any of her books so you might have the Bennet sisters along with the Musgroves. I have enough trouble keeping them separate in the books without putting people from all the books together! Guess it would be fun to see.

Hi all! Have been hovering over the discussion and wonder if anyone has read The Man Who Saved London? I forget the author’s name but don’t think it ‘s hard to find…and it’s well worth reading to learn of someone who made such a huge contribution to ending the war. It’s an amazing read and something that will inspire you. I read it many years ago and could not forget it. My cousin met the man’s sister when they were both volunteering in a Wisconsin children’s hospital. I need to get another copy as I must have loaned mine out…and don’t remember who has it. I mention this because I find it so difficult to watch movies etc about that time.

Re the discussion of Jane Austen. We went to a play last year

I think the point the film was making Barbara, is that it was the French not the Germans who rounded up the Jews in France. They showed Mitterand making an apology for what happened in the past.

Julie, scarlet fever still happens here particularly among the Indigenous population, but in all lations. I was actually worried Erin may have had it after a bad strep throat and the skin peeled from her fingers and toes, a late sign of the infection. She had to have a cardiac echo anyway last year whivh was normal. One of my friends lived in Zimbabwe when she was young and had multiple bouts of scarlet fever. Nasty consequences. Sorry you had a rough trot with it and the rheumatic heart disease. Lots of people tick with mechanical valves so don’t worry.

Keep us informed on the dress. I wouldn’t be one to have a revealing neckline either. That wouldn’t spell comfort for me.

Thank you all for such nice words about my feelings on my scar. I’m actually so used to it that it doesn’t really bother me, but I’m aware that it bothers some others… My skin is very pale, so the scar looks newer than it might. I had the surgery quite young – 35 and again when I was 40 – as I am the last person in North America to have Scarlet Fever, I think. At any rate, a heart valve was damaged, and at 35, they repaired it. Not til after the surgery did they say to me that there was a 30% chance that the damage would continue to deteriorate the valve, and if that was the case, they’d replace it the next time. I wish they’d told me in the first place, as I’d have opted for replacement, which was finally necessary when I was 40. Since they needed it to last so long, my valve is made of carbon, which causes me to “tick” audibly at times. Always something to talk about with me, hahahaha.

I will probably still opt for a somewhat modest neckline, never mind what they really wore – I can’t really imagine that I will want things out “on display” like that, haha.

Barbara – isn’t the dancing fun looking? I would really love to be good at it, but I doubt I will, as I definitely have two left feet. Still, I’ll give it a go in the fall. I understand people are very understanding about taking your hand and helping you along…

It was SOP for the Jews to be rounded up and sent to concentration camps whenever Germany invaded a county.
Anna, you have evidently done an excellent job of rearing Erin. It is very disturbing to watch a movie like Sarah’s Key. I wasn’t aware of the movie or book until reading your post but read a synopsis at once. I admire Erin. Unfortunately, many her age, older teens and adults would have turned away from such a serious movie to do something that would be fun. The movies, documentaries and books based on the Holocaust are difficult but necessary so people will never forget.

Thanks for the history on the tickets Julie. I think Luna Park in Sydney must have had a similar system at one time. It just sounds familiar.

I love the sound of the dress and the cloak. Erin had a dress velvet cloak with a hood once. I do love hooded cloaks! Don’t worry at all about the scar on her chest…its a badge of survival and besides no one is going to comment even if they do see it. Have the dress made that makes you feel most comfortable and beautiful whatever that form is.

The history of France during the war is interesting and I think there is a lot that is unknown. Certainly the background history of the Jewish people being rounded up is true. The way humans turn on each other is so bizarre. It keeps happening because we seem to have the most amazing capacity for evil right there alongside our capacity to be kind and thoughtful.

Anna – I’m thinking some of red, though maybe something more in the dark burgundy area… the cloak will be a long, red riding hood style cloak with generous hood – and while I’d love red-red, I think it should “go with” the dress, so it probably will, hahaha. The dress will be silk, while the cloak will be velvet, and I already feel special just thinking about it, hahaha. My dressmaker doesn’t want to measure me til I have my corset, which I’ve ordered on the internet – as it apparently “changes everything”. I can’t decide if I’m looking forward to that, or not. I’ve normally gone for a higher neckline, as I had open heart surgery years ago and have a scar running down the center of my chest. As I’ve kind of “played with” how it will look with the corset, I realize that the scar disappears into the cleavage, so I might just be able to have an authentic neckline! That will be interesting for me, as I’m so used to the high necklines, hahaha. I’ll be sure to tell all about it, and perhaps show a picture when it’s all done.

The film sounds very difficult to watch. I had no idea that Jewish people were rounded up in France. I’ve seen so very much about the Holocaust, but nothing about that. It would, indeed, be difficult to see and think about. I’m usually the one in my house who is saying “We SHOULD watch this”, while my husband says he doesn’t feel comfortable… more and more, I do feel, that maybe watching these kinds of things as my “entertainment” isn’t quite right, but I also think it’s not good to turn a blind eye. I asked my parents once if they knew what was going on in Germany at the time. My mother said – “yes, everyone knew”. My father toed the company line, with “no – we had no idea”. If you knew my parents you’d see how that illustrates almost everything about them, hahaha. Good for you and your daughter for not looking away, Anna!

A silk gown and a velvet cloak! How elegant indeed. I can’t wait to see a picture of you in such finery.
Even if the scar doesn’t hide in the cleavage, wear the neckline you want.
Talk of a scar from open heart surgery reminds me of when Daddy had his in 1981. A group of his friends and friends of friends( all male) arrived and immediately surrounded his bed and opened their shirts. Everyone had the scar ! I had no idea the surgery was so prevalent. Given the history of men smoking heavily and our diet it was no wonder. I know surgery can be needed even in people who are nonsmokers and don’t eat a diet heavy in fried meat, but I do think that those factors contributed to such a large number from such a small area.
Like Anna said, the scar is a sign of survival.

I hope you are feeling better Barbara. Asthma can be really messed up in the stormy season. Be careful.

Julie, the ball gown idea sounds fabulous! If it was me it would be a deep red….or would that make me a scarlet woman!! Love to hear more as you progress the plan. I think I remember tickets at Disneyland….would they have still been the case in 1989? It just rang a bell when you talked about A and E tickets. It’s always a challenge to avoid looking too hard at the Magic. It’s like when you see how movies are made and the next movie all you can see are the effects. Ugh.

I watched a very confronting film with my daughter last night called Sarah’s Key about the rounding up of Jewish people by the French in WW 2. I didn’t wAnt to keep watching but Erin made me. It was well made and we are still talking about it today while she makes waffles with strawberries. But it was challenging!

Anna – I understand the tickets were no longer used after 1982, and really, were being phased out in the late 70’s as they also sold an “unlimited ticket”. The phrase “E-ticket ride” crept into the lexicon, though, and you still hear it used once in awhile. It refers to something really special. In 1989, you would have heard a lot about the old ticket books, though, I’m sure.

The Asthma is much better today. I have what will be the last appointment with the pulmonologist who has done so much to improve my quality of life. He is taking a teaching position in another state. I had so much confidence in him. My previous pulmonologist really did very little to help me or try different methods of treatment.

It’s so hard to lose a good doctor. I’ve had that happen to me twice – docs I really had a lot of confidence in, moved on to other things. Especially my cardiologist, was so helpful to me and so empathetic. The “new” guy (five years now) turned out to actually be a better doctor, though he has zero “bedside manner”. You take the good with the bad, and in the end, it all works out, I guess.

How very interesting about the theatre experience, and “they bcome the character” and it “IS real”… the comment about the price you pay for getting too close resonated with me because of an experience I had one of the first times I went to Disneyland. I was an adult – just married for the first time, and my then-husband’s family lived in San Diego, so it was an easy trip to Disneyland for the day, and we took it often the first few years, whenever we visited them. I loved everything about Disneyland – back then, you still had books of tickets, with very few “E” tickets, and lots and lots of A’s and B’s. The E tickets were precious and needed for the top level rides and attractions. The Pirates of the Caribbean (long before Johnny Depp thought about donning the eye-liner) was a favorite of mine – I was completely enchanted in it all – from the first boat ride through the bayou outside the Blue Bayou restaurant, to the cannon-fire between the ships. The second time I went through, I paid close attention – I wanted to see “how they did it” for some of the things, and of course, when I did, I saw. It ruined it for me. I immediately wished I’d been able to suspend disbelief throughout the ride. I still do. But it taught me a valuable lesson about letting magic be magic… leave it alone, and don’t look too closely.

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