Feeling bored and despondent, I decided a good way to get out of that rut was to try something new, something different. Although, given our current circumstances, it’s difficult to do much of anything. I figured ‘something different’ didn’t have to be some big thing – it could be as simple as a book. In my case, I’m fortunate to work at the library surrounded by all sorts of books! By all sorts of authors!! On all sorts of topics!!! In all sorts of genres!!!! (She faints).
As a reader of the classics I felt somewhat apprehensive about delving into other genres. What if I didn’t like it? Where would I even start? I felt overwhelmed. (She dramatically slumps onto her mid-century fainting couch). Wanting to avoid another overly dramatic fainting spell I sought the guidance of a co-worker. Her advice was simple, “I think you’d like Louise Penny”. Taking her advice, I took the plunge! I dove in! I jumped in with both feet! (She couldn’t think of any more diving metaphors).
If I was going to do this, I was going to do this right. I was going to start with her first book Still Life, featuring the dashing and daring Chief Inspector Gamache. Coincidentally, I started reading the book thanksgiving weekend, when the events of Still Life also take place. My physical surroundings allowed the autumn imagery to come to life three dimensionally – leaping off the pages and into my world. The line between story and reality was no longer there. I was hooked!
The story begins right away with the mysterious death of Jane Neal, a beloved elderly woman in the small town of Three Pines in the province of Quebec. Quickly, the mysterious death becomes a mysterious murder! (dun dun dunn!) Characters slowly emerge and come forth as witnesses or possible suspects. Clearly, there’s more to this picturesque town. (How exciting!)
The characters are well developed and complex, each with their own quirks and back stories. And any of them could be the murderer! We’ll surely find out ‘whodunnit’ with the help of the capable Chief Inspector Gamache, a well respected, observant and intelligent man with a sense of style and love of good food. (Perhaps she’s developed a slight crush).
What really struck me in this story was the town. Three Pines comes to life, almost like a character itself, revealing the lives and secrets of its inhabitants. Louise Penny describes Three Pines in such a way as to transport the reader. I lived there! I ate at the bistro, slept at the B&B (Bed and Brunch), shopped at the bookstore and joined the archery club! It was a great escape. I liked it so much I’ve put her second book, Dead Cold, on hold and can’t wait to see what town in Quebec I’ll travel to next. (As long as Chief Inspector Gamache is there, amirite?!)
Reading a different genre than I’m used to has proven to be fun and rewarding. I highly recommend trying something different. Perhaps a fantasy novel? Science fiction? Dare I say, romance? (Ooh la la). Better yet, you can let us surprise you with a Surprise Me Bundle. We’ll put together 5 new books just for you! There’s nothing to lose and a new adventure to gain.
— Shaye R.