I was privileged to hear and meet Louise Penny at BookExpo in May. Unlike most of the reading world, especially those fond of chief inspector, Armand Gamache mysteries, I was unfamiliar with her work. That’s no longer true.
Penny’s 12th novel, A GREAT RECKONING (Minotaur) was published August 30th and its #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. The mystery series is set in the Canadian province of Quebec, centered on the work of Armand Gamache, who had been the chief inspector of the Surete du Quebec, but is now retired.
An old map is found stuffed into the walls of a bistro in Three Pines. At first it seems no more than a curiosity, but soon people are wondering what secrets it contains.
After hearing stories about cadets from the academy being untrainable and lazy, Gamache comes out of retirement to take a new position as commander of the Surete Academy. The map finds its way into his hands and it’s Gamache’s goal to use the map to engage the minds of the impressionable cadets. Young, teachable minds are precious and as Penny points out in her novels, evil lurks, eager for a chance to strike. But at the same time, Penny is also hopeful, which is a driving force throughout her novels.
This brings me back to the breakfast at which Louise Penny spoke. I remember the profundity of it, and when I read the acknowledgements in her novel, A GREAT RECKONING, I kept hearing some of what was written. She shares from her life that her husband, Michael has dementia. “There’s clarity, the simplicity of living in the moment and knowing what really matters.”
“I have never met a braver man. When diagnosed he told me he wanted to be open about it. To tell people. Not to hide away, ashamed. Afraid of being judged or shunned or embarrassed.”
Louise spoke of how brave Michael is, but I don’t believe it was lost on anyone in the auditorium how brave Louise Penny is. It’s a situation that many of us are facing with family members today. Louise’s words are so honest and from the heart, that we all come away knowing her a bit better, and as a more aware individual.
“I wrote A GREAT RECKONING with the peace of mind that comes with knowing I too am safe and loved. And not alone.”
For all things LOUISE PENNY, check her out on Facebook or on her website http://www.louisepenny.com
We have one copy of A GREAT RECKONING to giveaway. Just tell us which of Louise’s 12 novels is your favorite. We’ll announce a winner next Friday, the 16th.
Have a lovely weekend.