STITCH LINES...... Ramblings on life as a quilter, stitcher, traveler, photographer, gardener and lover of books, cats and fine chocolate....

Sunday, January 22, 2017

On My Bookshelf

Are you getting tired of hearing me profess my love for Louise Penny and her writing? I finished the tenth and eleventh books in her series, The Long Way Home and The Nature of the Beast shortly before Christmas, so all that I have left now is her latest, The Great Reckoning. I am taking a break and reading some others on my long list before I get to this one.
The Long Way Home leaves Three Pines for Toronto, Paris, Scotland and finally a remote stretch of  the St. Lawrence River where the search is on for Clara's missing husband, artist Peter Morrow. I found the plotline in this one a little weak, it didn't hold my interest as strongly as some of the others did... regardless, still worth the read. Although Gamache has now retired from active duty and has moved to Three Pines to enjoy a quieter life, he obviously has not fully given up his "former life and love" and is willing to help out Beauvoir and the others solve the mysterious disappearance. Penny obviously has a great understanding of the art world, as she conveys how art is created and how various people react to it. (I am still contemplating the upside down photo on the cover..,am I missing something?)
The Nature of the Beast returns to Three Pines where there is a dark cloud of evil lurking. In fact this is likely the "darkest" story in the series, with not only the murder of a child but what seems to be a serial killer, not to mention draft dodgers and war criminals, arms dealers and government corruption. I was surprised to learn at the end that the character Gerald Bull (an engineer who developed long range artillery) and "the beast" were real. I don't want to give away too much of this superbly crafted storyline, suffice it to say this is likely some of Penny's best writing. This story will no doubt lead you to reading further on the My Lai massacre (South Vietnam, 1968) as it did me, for I was too young at the time to understand much of what was happening with the Vietnam war.
photo from book jacket
There's not much that I haven't already said (in previous posts here, here and here) about Ms. Penny and her wonderful writing, other than I wish I had discovered her earlier. Not that several friends hadn't recommended her, yes, more than once! The only advice I can give if you are "new" to this series (and you've heard me say this previously) is to start with the first book. Don't diminish your reading pleasure by jumping in anywhere, even though each is fine as a "stand alone" read. The characterizations of  Gamache and his Sûreté staff, and the residents of the idyllic village of Three Pines build from book one. Each novel adds to the detailed personalities and I'm sure I'm not the only Penny fan to feel that I know these characters as well as many of my own friends. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this series and look forward to returning to it in the future to read The Great Reckoning.


The worst part about finishing a book is having to find another that is just as good or better than the last.


Dolores said...

I listen to Penny's novels and love the narrator. Just finished How the light Gets in and had 'read' Long Way Home just before it. I know it was backwards but I didn't care. Just wonderful books for sewing along to.

Jennifer said...

Aren't they wonderful books......I would love to visit 'Three Pines', even though I know it doesn't exist!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

You know I LOVE this author and these wonderful books...oh and Inspector Gamache! heehee! I keep my books recorded in Goodreads and noticed that I had missed one in the series...don't know how. But anyway, I am reading A Rule Against Murder, I think it's #4. I was really kind of glad to see there was one I hadn't read. I am enjoying it...taking it nice and slow. Hubby and I love the Jacqueline Winspear series too but there's nothing else as good as these authors! Enjoy your day! Happy reading!

HollyM said...

My husband and I have read them all. I look forward to a new one.
I've just read the Minimalist and The Improbability of Love. Both good.

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