Saturday, September 16, 2017

Oh, dear...

Last week we had dark and stormy nights, days too, here in Nashville with record cool temps. Perfect for reading Louise Penny's newest book, Glass Houses featuring Armand Gamache, now promoted to the Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Québec. 

I am a longtime Louise Penny fan. So what did I like about Glass Houses?

I loved the last chapter.

It was exactly as I wished last chapters to be, the essence of Penny's core characters that I love dearly, even those I am beginning to like--Ruth and her duck Rosa. Ruth is beginning to grow on me but I still have reservations about the duck.

In the last chapter the core Three Pines villagers are safe, including my literary crush Armand who is in Montreal attending to...well, I won't reveal that.

In Olivier's bistro in Three Pines, the villagers are gathered to view Clara's newest odd paintings of...well, I won't reveal that. Suffice it to say that I cried in the last chapter with love for Clara and Myrna and Ruth, maybe even a little for the duck.

What didn't I like about Glass Houses?

I'm sorry to say that the last few Penny books have let me down. To me it seems that they don't have the rich character development of the early books. This was an action driven book, which I guess is what sells to a wider demographic as this author has only grown in popularity with the majority of fans. Penny's style seems to have changed, many more sentences become choppier. Maybe this is on purpose? What readers want now? Or how the author wants to write now? So who am I to question that?

Still, let me show you a passage from Penny's Trick of the Light as this is an example of what I've missed in the last few books:

As far back as she could remember Clara wanted only one thing, even more than she'd wanted the solo show. It wasn't riches, it wasn't power, it wasn't even love. Clara Morrow wanted to belong. And now, at almost fifty, she did.

And from A Rule Against Murder:

Was there an invisible world, Gamache wondered. A place where diminished people met, where they recognized each other? Because if he knew one thing about Julia Martin it was that she too was invisible. The sort others cut off in conversation, cut in front of in grocery lines, overlook for jobs though their hand might be raised and waiting.

And from A Fatal Grace:

Saul Petrov sipped his beer and took a bite of his roast beef sandwich on a baguette with melting Stilton cheese and arugula. Beside it on his plate was a diminishing pile of shoestring fries, lightly seasoned.
It was perfect.
For the first time in years Saul felt human. He wasn't quite up to approaching these friendly people but he knew when he did they'd ask him to join them. They just seemed that sort. Already a few had smiled in his direction and lifted their drinks, mouthing 'Santé' and Joyeux Noel'.
 They seemed kind.
No wonder CC loathed them.
See what I mean?

Will I buy next year's Louise Penny mystery? I will. I remain ready to pack my luggage for a trip to Three Pines, hidden away in the Quebec countryside near the Vermont border. 

While I'm there, if I'm lucky, a near-perfect murder will take place and I will gather at the Bistro with Armand and Reine-Marie, Olivier and Gabri, Ruth and the duck, and Clara.

And with Myrna:
Three Pines had what she craved. It had croissants and café au lait. It had peace and stillness and laughter. It had great joy and great sadness and the ability to accept both and be content. It had companionship and kindness.
And it had an empty store with a loft above. Waiting. For her. Myrna never left.
In just over an hour Myrna had gone from a world of complaint to a world of contentment. That had been six years ago. Now she dispensed new and used books and well-worn advice to her friends.
                               From A Fatal Grace

Indeed I will return to Three Pines. But oh, dear...please Ms. Penny, please give me more of Myrna's story along with the action.

Are any of my visitors here at the Window Louise Penny fans? Have you read Glass Houses yet? Want to know who the bad guys are?

Now you know I'm not going to reveal that!


  1. It seems like a lot of times after an author has written a few books, they kind of run out of steam.

  2. Dewena, I have another blog friend who lives in Tennessee, and she told me about the storms they're having. Take care, my dear, and stay warm. A good book and a cup of tea is just perfect for the rainy cold days. Thinking of you on this September weekend. : )

    love, ~Sheri

  3. oh darn! I wish I had read this before going to the library this morning. I checked out two elizabeth berg books and one by marion chesney (mc beaton's pen name also)
    and I WOULD HAVE checked on louise penny.
    I never DID read her! I can't believe that. but I just neglected it. now I see once again I MUST! she seems wonderful. at least the earlier ones as you say. but that would be plenty to keep me busy. now I have new resolve.
    I wish you could send us some of your cool and rain.
    we're back to drought and high temps. ah well.
    autumn is a dream. but one I still cling to!

  4. I am not a big fiction reader, but yes I agree that I have read series where the first books are much better, more developed than later ones. It's great to have a go to author though!

  5. Sounds like a great read. Glad you are enjoying these wonderful books. Happy Weekend.

  6. I've been wanting to read Louise Penny, as she has been highly recommended by many bloggers. I wonder if I should start at the beginning of the Armand Gamache series? Now I think I might do that. Maybe reviews will help guide her back to what was appealing years ago. Thanks for your thoughts, Dewena.

    I'm so very glad you are okay in Tennessee. I have followed the path of Irma and was astounded to hear that it could affect as far Northwest as Tennessee. But even Chicago has had some wind and rain unusual for us this time of year. August is way too soon for Hurricane season. I'm doing some landscaping and my professional has told me that autumn is coming quite fast for us here in the Midwest. Disturbing changes.

    Jane xxxx

  7. Thank you for telling us about these books, as I have never read this author, isn't it neat how we learn so much through blogging? On the subject of books--what other authors do you enjoy? Hope you are having a real nice weekend!--and wow, we would love some of your cooler weather!

  8. I have not read any Louise Penny books, perhaps I should.
    My good wishes to you.

    All the best Jan

  9. I've only read the first Louise Penny book and I really liked it. I was going to get some on tape for a trip this summer but they didn't have the 2nd or 3rd and someone told me to read them in order.
    Maybe I can sympathize with Ms. Penny. I don't feel my blog posts are always as good as they once were! But nobody's paying me, haha!

  10. I finished Glass Houses last weekend, and like you, felt it was much different than the earlier books. It didn't feel warm. I agree that it was very plot and action driven. I still enjoyed it very much, but it was different. I wonder if losing her husband in the midst of writing it affected the story.

  11. Hi Dewena ~ I know who Louise Penny is from reading about her books from Claudia (Mockingbird Hill Cottage), but I'm afraid that genre of books is one I don't read. That's too bad that her style of writing is changing though. I loved the writing of the excerpts that you shared with us.

  12. I am on the waiting list to get this one from my library. I read them all...and love catching up with my favorite characters. Right now I'm reading Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy series and loving it! Happy reading!

  13. I have not read any of her work. I will have to look into it. I am reading,
    Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman. I love it so far.

  14. I'm new to Three Pines, but loving the place. Savoring the books slowly.

  15. I've been a Penny fan since book 1 but didn't realize her latest was published...must ask the library if they have it. I like the duck because it makes Ruth more human -lol- and have enjoyed all her books...perhaps especially the one set in the monastery. Being a poor servant, memory cannot recall the title. A world of contentment...a state of blessed grace.

  16. Like Melanie, I, too, am not fond of the detective oriented type of novel. I am finding that I have been reading more non-fiction than fiction the last few years.

    From what I can gather, your snippets of Louise Penny's earlier books are quite appealing to me, as I enjoy attention to detail since it shows immense creativity and imagination on the author's part.

    Hope you are pleased with her next book and I commend you for expressing your true feelings about her current one.



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