The Long Way Home (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #10)
Happily retired in the village of Three Pines, Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, has found a peace he’d only imagined possible. On warm summer mornings he sits on a bench holding a small book, The Balm in Gilead, in his large hands. "There is a balm in Gilead," his neighbor Clara Morrow reads from the dust jacket, "to make the wounded whole."While Gamache doesn’t talk about his wounds and his balm, Clara tells him about hers. Peter, her artist husband, has failed to come home. Failed to show up as promised on the first anniversary of their separation. She wants Gamache’s help to find him. Having finally found sanctuary, Gamache feels a near revulsion at the thought of leaving Three Pines. "There’s power enough in Heaven," he finishes the quote as he contemplates the quiet village, "to cure a sin-sick soul." And then he gets up. And joins her.Together with his former second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and Myrna Landers, they journey deeper and deeper into Québec. And deeper and deeper into the soul of Peter Morrow. A man so desperate to recapture his fame as an artist, he would sell that soul. And may have. The journey takes them further and further from Three Pines, to the very mouth of the great St. Lawrence river. To an area so desolate, so damned, the first mariners called it The land God gave to Cain. And there they discover the terrible damage done by a sin-sick soul.

The Long Way Home (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #10) Details

TitleThe Long Way Home (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #10)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 26th, 2014
PublisherMinotaur Books
ISBN-139781250022066
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Cultural, Canada, Audiobook

The Long Way Home (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #10) Review

  • Kaye
    January 1, 1970
    I've read an advance copy of Louise Penny's THE LONG WAY HOME.Then I sat down to write my own pitiful version of a review.But instead, I did what I sometimes do. But only with books that have touched me deeply. I turned back to page one and read it a second time.But I'm still having a very difficult time writing a review for this book.Mostly, I think, because I'm so lacking in review writing skills, but also because many of you might find my words empty and false. I think I have said every sing I've read an advance copy of Louise Penny's THE LONG WAY HOME.Then I sat down to write my own pitiful version of a review.But instead, I did what I sometimes do. But only with books that have touched me deeply. I turned back to page one and read it a second time.But I'm still having a very difficult time writing a review for this book.Mostly, I think, because I'm so lacking in review writing skills, but also because many of you might find my words empty and false. I think I have said every single one of Ms. Penny's books are "exquisite." I think I have said each leaves me "breathless" and that I always wonder how she could continue to surpass herself with each addition to the Three Pines series. Well, guess what - I'm saying it again.She has taken us on a journey that was quite difficult for our beloved Three Pines residents, and therefore difficult for the readers who love them.Taken us to places of beauty and of beautiful desolation -both geographically and emotionally. Like no one else can, in my opinion.Heartbreaking, but still sprinkled with subtle humor. She always finds a way to make us laugh out loud in the midst of pain. The conversations ring real and true - and could only happen among dear and close friends sharing outrageous and irreverent quips, teasing and taunts with those they love enough to feel safe in doing.And a perfect ending. I always feel magic in Louise Penny's words and I love being able to allow them to caress my heart, while at the same time poke my mind into seeing and feeling all the things I'm not observant enough on my own to see and feel. She is, without a doubt, a master of observation and has an understanding of peoples' psyches that is simply amazing. This series, is, I believe, a long long way from running its course. I hope it lasts forever.
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  • MJ
    January 1, 1970
    Louise , you've let us down! What a weak excuse for a book. There is no mystery here, there is just blathering on, and then uncovering something in the last pages. I have LOVED Armand and Jean-guy, and they were UNDER UTILIZED. I am no light weight when it comes to this author. I have read the entire series at least 2x. This book is in an entirely different category from the past mysteries. There was a lot of fluff and filler in this book, all the stuff that I put up with in the other books beca Louise , you've let us down! What a weak excuse for a book. There is no mystery here, there is just blathering on, and then uncovering something in the last pages. I have LOVED Armand and Jean-guy, and they were UNDER UTILIZED. I am no light weight when it comes to this author. I have read the entire series at least 2x. This book is in an entirely different category from the past mysteries. There was a lot of fluff and filler in this book, all the stuff that I put up with in the other books because Gamache is so fantastic and smart. This is like a backwards mystery. It starts off w no obvious crime, and then there is a crime at the end. Not a great model, nor one I want repeated. Pah. I am very disappointed.
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  • Penny Watson
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not sure how to rate this. It has Penny's wonderful writing, colorful characters, insightful comments about human nature, and awesome humor. However, the storyline just dragged, especially in the middle of the book.Let's look at some paintings.Let's look at them again.Let's turn them upside down and look at them.Let's tack them to the wall and look at them.Let's look some more.This just went on and on...oy. And the ending...I can't even. It was so predictable and cheesy, I don't know what to I'm not sure how to rate this. It has Penny's wonderful writing, colorful characters, insightful comments about human nature, and awesome humor. However, the storyline just dragged, especially in the middle of the book.Let's look at some paintings.Let's look at them again.Let's turn them upside down and look at them.Let's tack them to the wall and look at them.Let's look some more.This just went on and on...oy. And the ending...I can't even. It was so predictable and cheesy, I don't know what to say.I still adore this author, but this book was a big disappointment for me. Easily the least favorite of the series.
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  • Kaceey - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    With a heavy heart I have to admit that this was not my favorite Louise Penny book. I've read other reviews that said the same thing. I just hoped that I would see it differently, that I would love it as much as her prior books that essentially took my breath away. But alas, I have to agree with everyone, it was just wasn't the same. Let's start with the positive.... Louise Penny introduces each character with such depth that you feel that you know them, no matter how small a role that character With a heavy heart I have to admit that this was not my favorite Louise Penny book. I've read other reviews that said the same thing. I just hoped that I would see it differently, that I would love it as much as her prior books that essentially took my breath away. But alas, I have to agree with everyone, it was just wasn't the same. Let's start with the positive.... Louise Penny introduces each character with such depth that you feel that you know them, no matter how small a role that character has in the book. Many times a book can have so many characters that you start to having difficulty remembering who they are and how they fit into the story. It's because they are brought in as one dimensional. Here the author gives every person no matter how small a role, depth. You remember them because you feel like you know them. As I read the book, each character came alive. I could see them, feel their pain, their fears. They were real! Clara Morrow, a brilliant artist looks to Armand Gamache to help her locate her estranged husband, Peter. Who, for some reason didn't show up for their scheduled rendezvous to determine if they would remain married or move on in different directions. Armand Gamache, is the retired chief inspector of homicide from the Surete du Quebec. He moved to Three Pines with his wife Rene Marie to heal physically and spirituality. With the help of Jean-Guy Beauvoir, his former protégé, they attempt to retrace Peter's steps as he moved across the globe. The whole group of friends from Three Pines get involved in the search, including Ruth and her sidekick Rosa the duck. The down side... A bit of a sleeper at times. I felt it was a little too deep into the art world for me. I found myself skipping ahead as they continued to look at Peter's art from all different directions to find a clue hidden within the sketch. It felt like it was missing something, that magic spark. I know not every book from Louise Penny can be a home run, nonetheless I was somewhat disappointed. Believe me...that won't slow me down from reaching for the next in the series!
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    Oh Louise, you are a sly one. You begin your latest Gamache novel in the rural, serene setting of Three Pines. Humor is liberally sprinkled along with mouthwatering descriptions of the frequent meals enjoyed by all. I soon felt like I was hanging out with good friends, having a great time, sitting around and shooting the breeze. But wait, there’s more! This is a mystery novel, one written by you, crafty Louise Penny. So it is not long before dark undercurrents are felt. A sense of unease surface Oh Louise, you are a sly one. You begin your latest Gamache novel in the rural, serene setting of Three Pines. Humor is liberally sprinkled along with mouthwatering descriptions of the frequent meals enjoyed by all. I soon felt like I was hanging out with good friends, having a great time, sitting around and shooting the breeze. But wait, there’s more! This is a mystery novel, one written by you, crafty Louise Penny. So it is not long before dark undercurrents are felt. A sense of unease surfaces and before I can finish longing for my own fresh croissant and café au lait I find myself pondering big moral questions. In this case, it’s whether there is anyone I would kill if I could do it from a distance, without having to face them. If it was as simple as pushing a button, are there any circumstances in which I could see myself reaching out and pressing down? I’m not going to summarize the plot, because I don’t want to give away too much and I’m too lazy to do it after reading about all that good food. I wish Louise Penny and Donna Leon (who also writes great mysteries studded with great descriptions of food) would become best friends, and offer food tours of Montreal and Venice to which they invited loyal fans such as moi. I’ll just conclude by saying this is vintage Louise Penny, at the top of her game.
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  • Phrynne
    January 1, 1970
    This is definitely not a book to read unless you have already read the preceding books and have come to know and love all the main characters. Without that attachment to the people in the story I think things might prove very slow and perhaps a bit too technical. My knowledge of art is slim and I did not warm to the endless discussion of the meanings of paintings at all!However I was gripped by the comings and goings of all of our favourites. There was lots of Ruth which is always a plus. Oh and This is definitely not a book to read unless you have already read the preceding books and have come to know and love all the main characters. Without that attachment to the people in the story I think things might prove very slow and perhaps a bit too technical. My knowledge of art is slim and I did not warm to the endless discussion of the meanings of paintings at all!However I was gripped by the comings and goings of all of our favourites. There was lots of Ruth which is always a plus. Oh and Rosa of course although she doesn't say very much. Just one word really which I cannot include here:) I was happy that Reine-Marie was allowed to play an individual role as we usually only see her as an attachment to Armand. The mystery was very mysterious indeed especially as no one knew who had done what to who until very near the end. And then what an unexpected ending! I was left stunned and a bit sad too.
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  • Christina
    January 1, 1970
    I love Louise Penny's novels but I didn't think this one was as good as some of the others. The plot seemed thin because it lacked, I felt, the more layered plots of her previous novels. Since Gamache is retired we don't have the added tensions of his fight within the Surete while trying to solve a murder or the complications of the characters who work for him.I found Penny's writing style started to grate on me a bit: the fragmented sentences, repetition and alliteration plus her habit of sayin I love Louise Penny's novels but I didn't think this one was as good as some of the others. The plot seemed thin because it lacked, I felt, the more layered plots of her previous novels. Since Gamache is retired we don't have the added tensions of his fight within the Surete while trying to solve a murder or the complications of the characters who work for him.I found Penny's writing style started to grate on me a bit: the fragmented sentences, repetition and alliteration plus her habit of saying one idea followed by it's direct opposite for impact; perhaps because the bones of the writing weren't as well fleshed with plot and were therefore more noticeable? I also thought there was too much listing of food choices, witty banter and repetition of tiresome and, to my mind, somewhat silly themes, like the Tenth Muse. At one point it is suggested the Tenth Muse represents inspiration (for the visual arts) but the other nine muses also represent inspiration for their respective disciplines. A small quibble, there are a couple of typos in book. Also, knowing the character of Clara it is hard to believe that the whole village (or at least Myrna) wasn't aware of her pact with Peter and wasn't asking her how's Peter, why isn't he back yet?I still love the world of Three Pines and I am looking forward to the next one, maybe this one was just a lump in the throat?
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  • Margitte
    January 1, 1970
    A perfectly appropriate title!I am not sure why Clara's relationship with her husband, Peter, has been kept as one of the final moments of this series. While Three Pines are back in the picture, my honest impression was that the author ran out of steam. The tedious, extremely slow moving plot, encompassing the inner-workings of the art world, was presented more like a never-ending travel journal of a group of friends, promoting tourism in Canada. It lost me within the first ten chapters of the b A perfectly appropriate title!I am not sure why Clara's relationship with her husband, Peter, has been kept as one of the final moments of this series. While Three Pines are back in the picture, my honest impression was that the author ran out of steam. The tedious, extremely slow moving plot, encompassing the inner-workings of the art world, was presented more like a never-ending travel journal of a group of friends, promoting tourism in Canada. It lost me within the first ten chapters of the book. I couldn't help but jump-read most of the next chapters, which, for a devoted series-reader, were filled with never-ending repeats, repeats, repeats. The author introduces the theme of the book as follows: "And, as always, I have been inspired by the setting, by the history and geography and nature of Québec. And, specifically, by memories of my travels along the glorious St. Lawrence River. By the haunting coastline of the Lower North Shore. And the villages and villagers there. I have traveled a lot in my life, as a journalist and as a private person, but I have never, ever met kindness so profound, and integrity so deep, as I did in kitchens and porches and front rooms along that coast....I won’t discuss the themes here, or the reasons I wrote this book in this way, but I do want to mention a few influences, including Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Homer’s Odyssey. And the remarkable Marilynne Robinson’s book Gilead. As well as the old spiritual “Balm in Gilead.”" Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, and his wife were happily retired in Three Pines, battling his own past. "…Armand Gamache had sat on the bench and watched the same people do the same thing. The village had the rhythm, the cadence, of a piece of music. Perhaps that’s what Henri heard. The music of Three Pines. It was like a hum, a hymn, a comforting ritual." He is trying to find healing in a book that his dad left behind when the latter passed away. (From the blurb)"On warm summer mornings he sits on a bench holding a small book, The Balm in Gilead, in his large hands. "There is a balm in Gilead," his neighbor Clara Morrow reads from the dust jacket, "to make the wounded whole.""Armand struggled to read passed the bookmark his dad has left in the book. It was as though he could not leave his father behind and therefor could not pass the bookmark. Clara was concerned about her husband who left the previous year as part of their agreement to a trial separation, and did not return on the decided anniversary date to discuss the future of their marriage. She calls in Armand's help. They leave on a journey to follow Pete's trail and become entwined with the dark side of the art world.(From the blurb):"Together with his former second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and Myrna Landers, they journey deeper and deeper into Québec. And deeper and deeper into the soul of Peter Morrow. A man so desperate to recapture his fame as an artist, he would sell that soul. And may have. The journey takes them further and further from Three Pines, to the very mouth of the great St. Lawrence river. To an area so desolate, so damned, the first mariners called it The land God gave to Cain. And there they discover the terrible damage done by a sin-sick soul."I might be wrong, but my impression was that the book centered around the journey of every human being to find the muse in their lives and conclude with inner peace after a long battle with the demons and mistakes of the past. A philosophical journey becomes the focus of the tale. Chapters and chapters and chapters filled with it. And right at the end, as a sort of consolation, a murder is hastily thrown in and solved on the spot, to guarantee the murder mystery readers a thrill. The story is atmospheric, dramatic (in the last few chapters), and filled with the results of vigorous research into the art world with the philosophies surrounding it. The endless discussions simply just did not capture me! A confession: I was bored to death! Peter's journey to find himself, becomes Gamache's inner journey to find peace. Like with all the other books in the series, there is a dual purpose and multi-layered plot to vanish into. Well, now for the last book, no.11. I am going to make it my last book anyway. The ninth book in the series, How The Light Gets In, was definitely my favorite so far to conclude this entertaining, informative, thrilling series. The eight book, The Beautiful Mystery, was the highlight of the series, for me, at least.However, Louise Penny remains my all-time favorite murder mystery author. This series explored more than just the life of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. The reader experiences the full spectrum of humanity in all its ups and downs. What a journey for us all, and how colorful our memories will be. It was indeed a long way home!I am still in love with Three Pines. The ending was sad, but beautiful. We have come full circle through lyrical prose.
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    A Love Letter to Louise (No Spoilers)I want to thank you for yet another thrilling, engaging, thoughtful, and moving book. I found your prose so graceful (certainly not breathy as one reviewer labeled it-Really, tsk tsk) that on many occasions I stopped to re-read paragraphs, just for the sheer beauty of the work.I was moved by the love you have for your country. It shines so brightly in this work. I only wish all readers could feel it as deeply as some of us do.Most of all, I wish I had the wor A Love Letter to Louise (No Spoilers)I want to thank you for yet another thrilling, engaging, thoughtful, and moving book. I found your prose so graceful (certainly not breathy as one reviewer labeled it-Really, tsk tsk) that on many occasions I stopped to re-read paragraphs, just for the sheer beauty of the work.I was moved by the love you have for your country. It shines so brightly in this work. I only wish all readers could feel it as deeply as some of us do.Most of all, I wish I had the words to tell you how, as I have grown to know you, and know your characters, how lovingly you create their story and include us, your readers into your story-I appreciate it all. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us, Louise. This story of Gamache, and Clara, and Ruth all tied together so neatly, and yet, not. You have created another brilliant storyline. And once again, given us a small glimpse into your heart as well.How brave you are. How useful.Thank you.Your friend,Kathy
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  • DL
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not sure what has happened to this series. It's gone from being an engaging mystery series with a great deal of hidden insight to false insight being crammed in at every other line. This book made me tired. I finished it but without any pleasure. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and an ugly painting is ugly no matter how many hundreds of times you turn it over.
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  • Dona
    January 1, 1970
    Hurry up August 26, 2014! Can't wait to read it. Finally! It's here and I'm starting it today. Can't wait to start it, but already hate that it will have to end.I finished reading it and was not disappointed. A great story. Now I have to wait for number 11 to be written and published. I hope it's not too long of wait!
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  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    The previous book in this series How the Light Gets In was such a good finale to Chief Inspector Armand Gamache's career as Quebec's Head of Homicide, ending with his retirement to the little village of Three Pines that he has come to love so much where he can start to recover his physical and mental health. I couldn't imagine that a sequel featuring Gamache in retirement could be as good and postponed reading this book for a long time and unfortunately it does not live up to the rest of the ser The previous book in this series How the Light Gets In was such a good finale to Chief Inspector Armand Gamache's career as Quebec's Head of Homicide, ending with his retirement to the little village of Three Pines that he has come to love so much where he can start to recover his physical and mental health. I couldn't imagine that a sequel featuring Gamache in retirement could be as good and postponed reading this book for a long time and unfortunately it does not live up to the rest of the series.The picturesque, perfect village of Three Pines where everyone is friendly and clever seems too good to be true, except that we know from previous books that there have been dark currents running through the town and everyone harbours a secret or something in their past they are not proud of. In this novel, Clara the recently celebrated artist is distressed because her husband Peter, also an artist and jealous of her success, has failed to make contact as promised after 12 months of a trial separation. She asks Gamache to help her find her missing husband, roping in his former colleague and son-in-law Jean-Guy Beauvoir and her friend Myrna and so begins a journey to trace the missing Peter Morrow's wanderings over the last year.While Louise penny's writing was as good as usual, sharp and often wry and the characters leap from the pages, the plot was slow to get going. The cosiness of Three Pines is almost cloying and I wanted Gamache to escape that and return to what he does best, hunting down criminals. Eventually he does escape in the closing chapters of the book and the plot starts to move at a good pace as Clara and Gamache start to close in on Peter and uncover a great crime committed years ago, but it was too late to save the book as a whole. I will probably give this series another chance because it has been so brilliant up to now and read the next book, but I will be really disappointed if this series starts to turn out to be more cosy-crime than thriller.
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  • Barbara Hathaway
    January 1, 1970
    I had eagerly awaited this title but found myself disappointed and underwhelmed. Penny delivered her usual beautifully descriptive prose but without the tightly woven plotting that usually makes her novels so compelling. The coincidences and artistic "insights"that advanced the plot felt forced and ludicrous at times. Sigh....
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    In this 10th book in the series, former police detective Armand Gamache helps search for a 'lost' husband. The book can be read as a standalone.*****Clara and Peter Morrow are residents of the lovely village of Three Pines near Montreal along with a cadre of other interesting and eccentric characters, including former Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec (Quebec Homicide Bureau). Both Clara and Peter are artists, but Peter became jealous of his wife's increasing success and imp In this 10th book in the series, former police detective Armand Gamache helps search for a 'lost' husband. The book can be read as a standalone.*****Clara and Peter Morrow are residents of the lovely village of Three Pines near Montreal along with a cadre of other interesting and eccentric characters, including former Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec (Quebec Homicide Bureau). Both Clara and Peter are artists, but Peter became jealous of his wife's increasing success and impossible to live with, so Clara asked him to leave for a year. After that time Peter was supposed to return so they could re-evaluate their marriage. Peter didn't come back (or communicate in any fashion) so Clara asks Gamache to help her find out what, if anything, happened to her husband. It's a promising beginning that doesn't pan out. The story wanders much too far from a detective novel, being mostly a treatise on art and muses. Even visiting with familiar, well-liked characters was unsatisfying because they mostly just blabbed on and on about art. I like and appreciate art but I wanted to read a mystery, not an art book - and this book didn't deliver. I don't recommend it.You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
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  • ☮Karen
    January 1, 1970
    3.5The ending is a bit of a stunner. Without giving too much away, Peter and Clara's relationship is examined; but along the way so is the art world in depth, Gamache himself, the nine muses of Greek mythology, and the best scenery to be found in Canada. I always learn something from these books. The ending does open up the possibility for a change to come to Three Pines. Not the best in the series, but I'm hooked.
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  • LJ
    January 1, 1970
    First Sentence: As Clara Morrow approached, she wondered if he’d repeat the same small gesture he’d done every morning. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache has retired and moved, with his wife Reine-Marie, to the village of Three Pines. There he is seeking peace and recovery from recent events. However, he can’t ignore the plea from one of his neighbors and friends. Clara and her husband Peter decided to separate for one year. That year has now passed, but Peter has neither returned nor contacted Cla First Sentence: As Clara Morrow approached, she wondered if he’d repeat the same small gesture he’d done every morning. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache has retired and moved, with his wife Reine-Marie, to the village of Three Pines. There he is seeking peace and recovery from recent events. However, he can’t ignore the plea from one of his neighbors and friends. Clara and her husband Peter decided to separate for one year. That year has now passed, but Peter has neither returned nor contacted Clara. The search for Peter sends Gamache, his former second-in-command, Jean-Guy, and other residents, to Montreal and into isolated regions of Quebec.From the very first, we are as intrigued by the actions of one of the characters as are other characters in the story. We, too, want an explanation. At the same time, we are brought into the beauty and seeming tranquility of the Village of Three Pines…”The village had the rhythm, the cadence, of a piece of music. Perhaps that’s what Henri heard. The music of Three Pines. It was like a hum, a hymn, a comforting ritual.” The reader learns of the characters through their personalities, rather than their backstories. It is particularly clear how close are Gamache and Reine-Marie, and how solid is their marriage. One of the many wonderful things about Penny’s writing is that she makes you stop and think, even when it’s a simple phrase easily passed over; ”Surprised by joy.” There are so many small truths in Penny’s writing; lines and passages that make you stop, think and read again and again. They don’t interrupt the flow of the story, but enhance it and cause one to savour it. Yet only Penny could so effectively use a German Shepherd as a vehicle to convey loss and healing. She puts emotions into words. And then, she throw you a plot twist.Penny’s descriptions are so evocative, one can not only envision the scene, place or object, but you yearn to physically be there. She takes you places you’ve never been and of which you’ve never heard. This is a story that makes you want to travel; to see and experience places for yourself. But, at the very least, you find yourself running to the internet.The characters are wonderful. They are people you want to know; what to have as friends and neighbors. You find yourself both wanting to know these people and, in some cases, wanting to be them. The dialogue is so well done, with an easy, natural flow and, occasionally, delightful humour.Ms. Penny is an intelligent author who includes poetry, literature, art, mythology and psychology into the story, yet she doesn’t, in any way, write above her readers or seek to demean them.To say “The Long Way Home” is an excellent book is almost an understatement. The book certainly has all the elements of a mystery are there, including a plot which is unusual in its structure, but it is also so much more than that that. It is a journey that keeps drawing us down the road. If you've not read any of the books in this series, please do start at the beginning with "Still Life." It is hard for me to restrain myself when talking about the quality of Ms. Penny's writing. She is an author whose work will stand the test of time.THE LONG WAY HOME (Trad Mys-Armand Gamache-Canada-Contemp) – ExPenny, Louise – 10th in seriesMinotaur Books, 2014
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  • Obsidian
    January 1, 1970
    Long story short, I forgot to post a review about this book when I read it right after book #9. I was too irritated to do much besides be super aggravated by the nonsense going on in the Armand Gamache series and this latest was just more of the same it seemed to me. The story was way too long and drawn out for the terrible payoff we get in the end. I was wondering about reading the next book in the series, and a friend said she thinks I will like that much better, so I will. But, I wanted to po Long story short, I forgot to post a review about this book when I read it right after book #9. I was too irritated to do much besides be super aggravated by the nonsense going on in the Armand Gamache series and this latest was just more of the same it seemed to me. The story was way too long and drawn out for the terrible payoff we get in the end. I was wondering about reading the next book in the series, and a friend said she thinks I will like that much better, so I will. But, I wanted to post my review of book #10 before I totally forgot about it."The Long Way Home" has Chief Inspector Armand Gamache retired and living in Three Pines. I still don't get why he and his wife relocated there after all of the insanity that seems to befall people in this village, but they do. Gamache goes to a bench everyday and reads a book (until a certain point) and seems to be waiting for someone or something to come along. Eventually, the someone does come along, Clara Marrow finally talks to Gamache about the promise that she and her estranged husband Peter made back in "A Trick of the Light" when she finally realized that for all of the lip service he was making, Peter wanted to see her do badly. The couple agrees to go their separate ways for a year, with Peter returning at the end of that year to see if they could move forward or not. Now it's more than a year and Clara believes that something truly awful had to have befallen Peter for him not to keep his promise. "The Long Way Home" has Gamache team up with his former protege Jean Guy Beauvoir in trying to track down Peter's movements. Gamache's wife is concerned about him being pulled back into anything resembling an investigation that will leave him injured after the events in "How the Light Gets In." I really don't get why Gamache even agrees to help Clara with this besides his own curiosity. The reveal of what was going on with Peter was pretty much a letdown. Jean Guy is blissful as anything cause he finally has capture, er married Gamache's daughter. I have already said repeatedly I don't care a bit about this romance and that still holds true here. I ended up not liking Clara much throughout this book. She was aggressive and didn't listen one bit to what Gamache was saying. And honestly if she had listened, the events that transpired at the end of the book would not have occurred. We do get to see Peter's messed up family a bit in this one, but I thought Penny did a disservice not showing them in the ending of the book. The writing was typical Penny, but honestly I was bored. I just didn't care to read the symbolism behind everything that Peter was doing. The insights that everyone had while looking at Peter's artwork and figuring out his cold trail made me laugh. I don't know if maybe Penny had included drawings of "Peter's work" or something that would have helped us readers see what everyone else was looking at. But it's hard to read about what other characters are seeing when you don't see the artwork in question. I started skipping over stuff like that in this book just to get through this. I would think a look back at Clara and Peter's history and the art world in general would have been way more intriguing than this, but honestly after reading "A Trick of the Light" I just cannot anymore with the art world in Canada. I had a hard time with the overall mystery that was solved here and how Peter was worked into that plot. It didn't make a lot of sense and the villain reveal in this one was done really badly. I liked what another reviewer said about this being a backwards mystery and honestly it was a backwards mystery. I wish that Penny had just decided to not loop in two mysteries for the price of one in this book since neither one of them were carried off very well.The flow was not that great either. We have Clara, Mryna, Armand, and Jean Guy bouncing from location to location and meeting tertiary characters who I am sure will appear in future books. I just didn't care enough to pay that much attention to them. The setting of this one is a little bit of Three Pines and other locations. None of them really stayed with me at the end of this book. The ending was such a slap in the face though. I don't know how I feel about it besides cheated. I did feel like I wasted all of my time to just get this ending that pretty much thumbed its noses at the readers. I would say that this book is pretty much filler and you can skim it to get the bare bones of the story and can skip to the next book in the series.
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    I stopped at exactly halfway done. I lost patience with slow plot progression despite appreciating the excellent attention of the author to nuances of emotion and motivations of her characters.Those who have come to love Inspector Gamache of the Montreal detective force may not be able to resist following him here, now retired to his beloved rural community of Three Pines. But it’s a bit of an early retirement. He is damaged goods, still recovering from physical and mental injuries from a treac I stopped at exactly halfway done. I lost patience with slow plot progression despite appreciating the excellent attention of the author to nuances of emotion and motivations of her characters.Those who have come to love Inspector Gamache of the Montreal detective force may not be able to resist following him here, now retired to his beloved rural community of Three Pines. But it’s a bit of an early retirement. He is damaged goods, still recovering from physical and mental injuries from a treacheries within his own force and a bloodbath near home. He is dwelling on a book called “The Balm of Gilead”. But an artist friend, Clara Morrow, asks his advice on what to do about her missing husband, now late for a planned return from a one-year sabbatical from their troubled marriage. He can’t resist helping out in activating his former acolyte on the force, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, to do the obvious tracking credit card charges to pull out his itinerary of travel and residence from his year away. And soon he is involved in the quest to resolve both his and Clara’s worry over Peter.Penny is pretty engaging in presenting Gamache through behavior and speech but not the details of logical processes. Readers are left to make their conclusions about what Gamache is really thinking in terms of reasons behind his plans and actions. Knowing Peter as a successful painter, Gamache works with friends to try to understand how the stops on his journey may relate to people in the art world and to his development as a painter. How might he be driven by pain and jealousy over Clara’s recent big success as an artist to do something that put him in trouble or danger? Interesting as this is about human psychology and the fragile beauties of the artistic soul, the reader (this reader) is still in the dark whether Peter is in danger by the mid-point of the book. Too slow for my jaded patience.The most fulfilling spot for me was how Gamache could come to understand the greatness in one of Clara’s portrait was in capturing the instant of transformation from despair to hope while Peter’s work reflects creations of one on the transition from hope to despair. Nice illusion for the reader in seeing these things through a non-visual medium, but I needed more of the fun or mystery intrigue to keep me on the trail to book completion.
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  • Leslie
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, I love this series; it's all I can do to not just go back to the beginning and read every book straight through.I should mention that this is the first time I've ever been ahead of the curve with a book. It will not be released until 26 August, but an Advanced Reader's Copy came my way and I snatched it up eagerly.Anyway, the plot has to do with a missing husband, the search for him, various eccentrics in a village, and art...lots and lots of art. In fact, reading this book has made me think Oh, I love this series; it's all I can do to not just go back to the beginning and read every book straight through.I should mention that this is the first time I've ever been ahead of the curve with a book. It will not be released until 26 August, but an Advanced Reader's Copy came my way and I snatched it up eagerly.Anyway, the plot has to do with a missing husband, the search for him, various eccentrics in a village, and art...lots and lots of art. In fact, reading this book has made me think more about art and how it expresses emotion, whether joy or sorrow or whatever...or not. Aside from the "art" in the book, though, there are people whose company I really enjoy and look forward to joining again. Maybe from the beginning....
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  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    Some spoilers in this review, but the ending is not revealed. I'm a longtime devotee of Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache/Three Pines mysteries. I loved previous novels because the characters were interesting and believable, the narrative lines were complex, strong, and, well, MYSTERIOUS! But I'm now wondering if a book a year isn't an awful lot to ask of a quality writer like Ms. Penny. I listen to the audio versions of the books. In this tenth Three Pines mystery, Ralph Cosham's wonderful audio Some spoilers in this review, but the ending is not revealed. I'm a longtime devotee of Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache/Three Pines mysteries. I loved previous novels because the characters were interesting and believable, the narrative lines were complex, strong, and, well, MYSTERIOUS! But I'm now wondering if a book a year isn't an awful lot to ask of a quality writer like Ms. Penny. I listen to the audio versions of the books. In this tenth Three Pines mystery, Ralph Cosham's wonderful audiobook narration remains pitch-perfect. Ms Penny's Gamache mysteries and Ralph Cosham's voice remain, for me, a match made in heaven. But the story itself, not so much. It is hard to admit that "The Long Way Home" disappointed me. I wanted to be enchanted once again, but I was not. Missing, for me: a more complex narrative structure, through which Ms. Penny introduces at least two totally unrelated story lines, compelling character development, and a variety of different people, and, gradually, expertly, pulls these strands tighter, and weaves them into a page-turner of a yarn. I think that part of the issue is the project itself. There is no murder, no beastly crime to solve, but the rather less interesting task of finding out what happened to Peter, among the least appealing of Three Pines residents. I found it hard to suspend my disbelief that experienced police investigators (one retired, one on active duty) and Myrna (a business woman with her own life and troubles) would agree to be led by Peter's estranged wife, Clara, on a seek-and-find expedition just because he failed to keep a dinner date. For one thing, Clara is known as an untidy and somewhat bumbling artistic genius. She is not by the longest shot a leader. Few artists are. For another, it's a false sense of urgency. In this day and age, if you can't trace a living adult who left you using telecommunications, then, best let them be. The single-threaded narrative was dosed out at such a slow pace that I found myself wishing Gamache and Jean-Guy would just take charge and get it done the right way, and let Clara be annoyed with them! Besides, that is at least partly why I read these books, to see Gamache at work, to watch a real leader using principles and kindness and reserving judgment, even when others are behaving in a vile, evil way. Best part: Ruth flying. Very funny. Ms Penny's books tend to feel meditative, almost like lullabies for the mind. And this book is no exception. I love the ideas. But narrative matters, too. I understand that mysteries are a kind of piling on of details, some matter, some do not, but usually Ms Penny achieves this by drawing us into the world, not keeping us outside the story. One more thing: I recommend Penny Watson's review of this book.
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  • ✨Susan✨
    January 1, 1970
    In this addition to the Inspector Gamache series, he and his wife Reine-Marie have retired to the little town of Three Pines, something they have dreamed about for quite some time. After Louise Penny reacquaints us with the wonderful characters and witty banter, that is always a hoot amongst the crazy inmates of Three Pines, Gamache and Reine are delighted to have a visit from their daughter Annie and his protege, Jean Beauvoir. So most of the loose ends from the last book are tied up except, Pe In this addition to the Inspector Gamache series, he and his wife Reine-Marie have retired to the little town of Three Pines, something they have dreamed about for quite some time. After Louise Penny reacquaints us with the wonderful characters and witty banter, that is always a hoot amongst the crazy inmates of Three Pines, Gamache and Reine are delighted to have a visit from their daughter Annie and his protege, Jean Beauvoir. So most of the loose ends from the last book are tied up except, Peter Morrow has not returned from the one year sabbatical he and Clara had decided to take in their marriage.Clara, Gamache, Beauvoir and Myrna set off on a quest to find out why Peter has not returned. For me, I think this is where the story starts to lag a bit and things become very convoluted. Gamache is determined to let Clara head up the investigation which made no sense to me or Beauvoir. This is one of my favorite series but by far not my favorite books in the saga of Three Pines. 3.5*. I just finished reading, How the Light Gets In, and absolutely loved it. I was expecting more but it has not deterred me from looking forward to her next book.
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  • Ivonne Rovira
    January 1, 1970
    The last we saw of Peter Morrow, in A Trick of the Light, his long-suffering wife Clara Morrow was insisting on a year-long trial separation. Clara, long used to living in the more famous Peter’s shadow as an artist, had finally discovered how he had been sabotaging her for years, too emotionally insecure to bear his wife’s beautiful paintings to eclipse his. Now, after the harrowing events of The Beautiful Mystery and How the Light Gets In (can it only be a year?), Clara is awaiting Peter’s hom The last we saw of Peter Morrow, in A Trick of the Light, his long-suffering wife Clara Morrow was insisting on a year-long trial separation. Clara, long used to living in the more famous Peter’s shadow as an artist, had finally discovered how he had been sabotaging her for years, too emotionally insecure to bear his wife’s beautiful paintings to eclipse his. Now, after the harrowing events of The Beautiful Mystery and How the Light Gets In (can it only be a year?), Clara is awaiting Peter’s homecoming. Only it never happens. What has become of the charming, incredibly handsome if emotionally crippled abstract artist? In this 10th Three Pines mystery, Armand Gamache has begun a well-deserved retirement in the beautiful but tiny village in Canada’s Eastern Townships, with his clever wife Reine-Marie at his side. But Gamache cannot ignore Clara’s pain and worry over Peter. So, aided by his longtime second-in-command and now son-in-law Jean-Guy Beauvoir and by another protégée, Isabelle Lacoste, now the new Chief Inspector of Homicide in the Sûreté du Québec, Gamache starts to painstakingly track what Peter Morrow has been up to for the last year. He finds that Morrow has crossed Europe — Paris, Florence, Venice; Dumphries, Scotland — before returning to Canada. But Peter’s trail vanished completely four months ago when he left Québec City after withdrawing $3,000. Where did he go? And why? Clara, Gamache, Jean-Guy, and Clara’s best friend, the psychiatrist-turned-bookstore owner Myrna Landers, collaborate in finding out.The Long Way Home differs from the roller-coaster ride that was How the Light Gets In, its immediate predecessor, as much as can be; that The Long Way Home unfurls more slowly, but still no less mesmerizingly, is yet more evidence of Louise Penny’s gift as an author. However, toward the end, The Long Way Home packs as many twists and surprises as any of Penny’s novels. The harrowing ending will catch readers completely by surprise — especially considering the slower-paced narration that precedes the reversal. The ending packs quite a punch! Readers won’t be sorry to take The Long Way Home.One last bit: Midway through the book, Penny includes an extended reference to a magical garden in Dumphries, Scotland: the Garden of Cosmic Speculation. As you can see here, the garden, which is only open one day a year for five hours, looks like an Alice-in-Wonderland vision — if the mushroom that young Alice nibbled had been a psilocybin one. Checkerboards alternate with double helixes worthy of DNA and an assortment of three-dimensional spirals. As with A Rule Against Murder, Penny has issued an invitation to another one-of-a-kind tourist spot to add to my bucket list.
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  • Ankur
    January 1, 1970
    the book contains the usual hallmarks of Louise penny's writing.....but where the book fails is the plot.The premise didn't justify the painstakingly long investigation into the disappearance of Peter Morrow.it failed to engage me and hold my interest. I think penny must really think about the future course the series needs to take.coz, it might just happen that Gamache is investigating the disappearance of Rosa in her next.
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  • Jim
    January 1, 1970
    This is not a standard whodunit. Rather this appears to be an exploration of people dealing with complex emotional issues. A story of damage and healing, envy and jealousy, "a sin-sick soul". Louise Penny's writing style is so wonderful that you feel as though you know each character. All of their strengths as well as their weaknesses and flaws. They come alive in the story. And of course there is the sense of place. When reading any of the books in this series you feel as though you are there. This is not a standard whodunit. Rather this appears to be an exploration of people dealing with complex emotional issues. A story of damage and healing, envy and jealousy, "a sin-sick soul". Louise Penny's writing style is so wonderful that you feel as though you know each character. All of their strengths as well as their weaknesses and flaws. They come alive in the story. And of course there is the sense of place. When reading any of the books in this series you feel as though you are there. Enjoying fine food in a bistro, sitting in front of a fireplace, or maybe taking a trip on the St. Lawrence river.Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, is happily retired in the village of Three Pines. He spends his mornings sitting on a bench reading from a small book, "The Balm in Gilead""There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole."Armand is still recovering, physically and emotionally. He doesn't talk about his wounds ... except occasional visits with Myrna Landers, the former psychologist who now runs the used bookstore in Three Pines. His friend, and neighbor, Clara Morrow knows he is still recovering and she is hesitant at first but eventually turns to him to help her with her wounds. She and her husband, Peter, separated. It was supposed to be a trial separation for one year. But Peter failed to come home when the year was over. She wants his help. The Peter Morrow we met in previous novels was a desperate man, desperate to recapture his fame as an artist, so desperate he would sabotage his wife's success as an artist. Together with his former second-in-command Jean-Guy Beauvoir, Myrna Landers, and Clara they journey to the mouth of the St. Lawrence river. To an area so desolate, so damned, the first mariners called it The land God gave to Cain. This was not the best book in the series and dragged in places. There was a lot of time spent discussing and examining Peter Morrow's paintings. Maybe too much in my opinion. But I once again found myself contemplating a visit to Quebec. And I was introduced to a new place ... "The Garden of Cosmic Speculation" in Scotland.While this was not a great whodunit Louise Penny's writing style makes for an enjoyable story.
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  • Grey853
    January 1, 1970
    Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide, is asked by his friend Clara to find her husband. She sent him away a year ago for a trial separation, but they agreed he'd return in a year and they'd review their marriage. He never showed up and now she's worried that something horrible has happened.So, the next however many pages are spent going over in minute detail what it takes to find someone who's gone missing. There's a lot of jabber about art and genius, about Peter's family and arti Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide, is asked by his friend Clara to find her husband. She sent him away a year ago for a trial separation, but they agreed he'd return in a year and they'd review their marriage. He never showed up and now she's worried that something horrible has happened.So, the next however many pages are spent going over in minute detail what it takes to find someone who's gone missing. There's a lot of jabber about art and genius, about Peter's family and artistic journey.Then, when they finally find the man, he gets killed saving his wife from some mad artist who's just killed another hermit artist where Peter's been living while looking for his muse.There's no mystery to speak of. It's all philosophical filler. This was certainly not up to par with the other books in the series, not even close. This was beyond disappointing. I'm sure glad I got the book from the library and didn't spend money on it. Even so I felt cheated. I'll never get those hours back that I spent reading it.
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  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    The Long Way Home – Stylish ThrillerThe Long Way Home by Louise Penny is the tenth Chief Inspector Armand Gamashe thriller that she has written. This is a stylish and evocative story the prose is outstanding and makes the imagery seem crystal clear. If you like a crime thriller to have a high octane plot and dead bodies filling the morgue then this book is not for you. If you want well developed characters complete with a full back story given time in the thriller to add depth then this is the b The Long Way Home – Stylish ThrillerThe Long Way Home by Louise Penny is the tenth Chief Inspector Armand Gamashe thriller that she has written. This is a stylish and evocative story the prose is outstanding and makes the imagery seem crystal clear. If you like a crime thriller to have a high octane plot and dead bodies filling the morgue then this book is not for you. If you want well developed characters complete with a full back story given time in the thriller to add depth then this is the book for you.Chief Inspector Armand Gamashe of the Sûreté du Québec has taken to retirement and get over his injuries in the village of Three Pines not far from Montreal. His daughter and son in law were able to visit he was able to walk further everyday taking Henri the inheritated German Shepherd dog from his new house’s previous owner. Clara Morrow has made a pact with her husband Peter a successful but fading artist to a trail separation of one year, and they would get together on that particular date whatever they felt should happen. Over a year has passed and Peter has not come home and Cara is worried. She approaches Armand and asks for his help in finding her husband.Armand begins his search to find what has happened to Peter Morrow and where he is means that he has to find where Peter has been over the year. It follows that Peter has been to Europe and inparticular seems to have had a cosmic intervention and he has worked out who his muse is. Even though Peter is now back in Québec but nobody knows where.With the trail getting cold they go back to looking at four pictures that he has painted and sent on. These pictures are the clues that are required to move them forward and will help to give them the answers that they are looking for. In part we also get a travelogue of Québec and some of the stunning scenery that have inspired generations of artists.This is a wonderful story which is a pleasure to read and easy to enjoy at a leisurely pace with the characters developing in every chapter. Louise Penny writes brilliantly the imagery that comes through is stunning. This may not be everyone’s type of crime thriller, this is more Agatha Christie where the pace is gentle and everything comes together neatly with no loose ends.
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  • Miriam
    January 1, 1970
    I was thrilled when I got an email from MacMillan offering me the chance to read an advance readers copy of The Long Way Home. I start missing Gamache and Three Pines and its inhabitants the moment I turn the last page of each book, so it's pure delight when the next book falls into my hands (or ears, as the case may be, since I love to listen to the audiobooks as well). I'm not going to write a synopsis of the book, since others will do it better than I would. I'll just say that it was comforti I was thrilled when I got an email from MacMillan offering me the chance to read an advance readers copy of The Long Way Home. I start missing Gamache and Three Pines and its inhabitants the moment I turn the last page of each book, so it's pure delight when the next book falls into my hands (or ears, as the case may be, since I love to listen to the audiobooks as well). I'm not going to write a synopsis of the book, since others will do it better than I would. I'll just say that it was comforting to open the book and find that Gamache and Jean-Guy are well on their way to recovery, both physically and emotionally, from the events of the previous book(s). I read these books as much, perhaps more, for the relationships than for the mystery, so I was relieved and satisfied to see that their relationship has also healed. But Clara and Peter's relationship has not, and that's the starting point for this book. It leads Clara, Myrna, Gamache, and Jean-Guy (and Ruth too!) to various places in a quest to find Peter and bring him home, whether it be for one final parting or a loving rapprochement. As they search, we learn more about Peter and who he was, as well as who he may be becoming.Peter's arc in this series has been quite surprising to me. Our first introduction to him gives a very different impression than what we discover about him in subsequent books, and it took me a while to adjust to that. I found it rather fascinating to hear what his friends, teachers, and relatives really think about him, and although I wanted to resist some of what they had to say, Penny has been establishing those characteristics since (if not before) A Rule Against Murder, so they are hard to refute. Writing that sentence has made me realize just how carefully plotted this story arc is. She laid the seeds so many books ago, and they sprouted throughout the culmination of the machinations to bring down Gamache. I hadn't fully recognized the significance of what she was doing until I finished this book and contemplated the journey she'd taken us on (in more ways than one).I'll try to stop rambling now and just add a few more general notes. I highlighted several sections of this book, often writing little more than Ha! or Hmmm. As always, there is much to laugh at/with in this book. I want to visit Myrna's bookstore and sit by her fire and get the benefit of her warmth and wisdom. I want to eat at the bistro (Olivier and Gabri are mostly walk-ons in this book, but it's good to see them even fleetingly). I'm not sure I actually want to do anything with Ruth, but I adore reading about her. Many of my Ha! moments were due to her, but she also led me to several of the Hmmmm...moments. It was deeply satisfying to see another fleeting glimpse of the person she would be if only she weren't so FINE. This book does not end as I wished it to, but it certainly leaves the path open for some future interesting turns of events, so perhaps sometime down the road I'll be able to forgive Penny for her transgressions against me ;) as Gamache has forgiven Jean-Guy. In the meantime, is it too soon to be champing at the bit waiting for the next Louise Penny masterpiece?
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    THE LONG WAY HOME is a book for those of us who are long time readers of the series; in it, we are rewarded with new views on some of our most beloved (or despised) characters as well as a love story to the quest for peace, forgiveness, and new beginnings. As in earlier entries in the series, Quebec shines as a character in its own right. Not to be missed.
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  • Sue Kraft
    January 1, 1970
    Different but goodI enjoyed this as I have all the Gamache novels. I actually liked it a lot and would have given it a 5 but I didn't like the ending. I won't go into why as that would spoil it for others. I just saw no good reason to end it the way it did.
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  • Kristina
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, Louise Penny. I’m sorry, but this book is ridiculous. I hate to say this, but I’m done with Chief Inspector Gamache and his pals in Three Pines. The early books are good, but the two previous novels (The Beautiful Mystery and How the Light Gets In) displayed Penny’s irritating new writing style and began my disenchantment with the characters. A Long Way Home, her tenth in the series, is my breaking point. I don’t want to read about these irritatingly charming characters who live in the delig Oh, Louise Penny. I’m sorry, but this book is ridiculous. I hate to say this, but I’m done with Chief Inspector Gamache and his pals in Three Pines. The early books are good, but the two previous novels (The Beautiful Mystery and How the Light Gets In) displayed Penny’s irritating new writing style and began my disenchantment with the characters. A Long Way Home, her tenth in the series, is my breaking point. I don’t want to read about these irritatingly charming characters who live in the delightfully irritating village of Three Pines again. Their carefully created idiosyncratic personalities and their occasional lapses into profanity—only shocking to a very genteel crowd—are wearing thin. The story driving this book had me rolling my eyes non-stop. Chief Inspector Gamache has retired from the Sûreté du Québec and he and his wife and their dog Henri moved to Three Pines. He was enjoying his peaceful life until one day Clara Morrow, the resident genius painter, came to him with a worry. Over a year ago, she’d asked her husband Peter to leave their house. They both needed space to see if their marriage could survive her rise to fame and his jealousy because of that. They agreed that one year later to the day of their separation, he would return and they would have dinner and discuss the situation. However, Peter is late by several months and Clara is worried. Gamache does not want to leave behind his safe, peaceful existence to search for Peter, but he does. The rest of the book is Gamache, his trusty companion Jean-Guy Beauvoir, Myrna the Three Pines bookstore owner, Clara the painter, and (for a bit) Ruth the demented profane poet tracking Peter’s journey across Scotland and Canada by looking at his paintings. If you’ve never read any of the Inspector Gamache books, this is not the book with which to start. Penny assumes the reader is familiar with the characters and the complex relationships they have with one another. Which I don’t fault her for. If you’re going to start reading a new series with the tenth book, you deserve to be confused. If you are familiar with her characters, then at this point you either look forward to being with them or you find their lovable and quirky complexities grating and predictable. I am the latter. I’m sick of the bunch of them, particularly Gamache with his serious kind intelligent brown eyes and the Canadian Jesus aura he gives off, and Ruth and her duck Rosa. Ruth who is rude and antagonistic but really loves everyone and everyone loves her for crusty exterior which hides a heart of gold and whose duck Rosa quacks fuck fuck fuck instead of just quacking like a normal duck and everyone still finds this hilarious. Ruth, the genius poet who quotes her own poetry (which is really the poetry of Canadian poet, author and literary genius Margaret Atwood) and swaps lines with Gamache, who apparently knows all her poetry by heart. Everyone in Three Pines is so sensitive and intelligent and loving and philosophic. It’s just so….blech. The village of Three Pines itself is grating on my nerves. It’s like a fabled city that only certain people can enter because it’s still not on any maps and doesn’t have good broadband or cable connections. Why would the villagers need it? That’d take away from the time they spend sitting in Gabri and Olivier’s famous bistro, eating their delicious (and always described in detail) food, baring their souls to each other. Aside from the annoying characters, the plot is less than compelling. Penny always has the action of her novels develop from her characters; it’s always more about character development than a suspenseful plot. In the past, she’s managed to do both very well. This book, not so much. Much of the novel is the Three Pine main characters looking at Peter’s bad paintings and trying to find a hidden message in the paintings. They look at them side-ways. They look at them upside-down. The look at them on the floor. They look at them pinned to the wall. Then they have some wine and cheese and look at them again. While looking at these bad paintings, there are many conversations about “sin-sick souls” and seeking redemption and finding your spiritual path. Then there’s a ridiculous tangent about Peter running around trying to find the tenth Muse because apparently the ancient Greeks had a Muse for all the art forms except painting. So maybe, muses Gamache and Clara and Myrna, Peter is out looking for the Tenth Muse. Like it’s an actual person. Many conversations about what inspires art now take place. It’s so tedious. So Gamache and Clara and Myrna and Jean-Guy and an art dealer named Chartrand travel up (or down—Penny didn’t clearly describe where they were going and I’m not familiar with the area) the St. Lawrence River, first on a turbo-prop plane and then a boat—all to find Peter. They have no evidence he needs found or is in danger. They just go after him because Clara is worried. And she’s the one who kicked him out of the house in the first place. So, after tracking Peter to the Garden of Cosmic Speculation in Scotland (this sounds ridiculous but it really does exist), to Paris, back to Toronto they do eventually find him. Of course, they can’t just find him happy and painting bad pictures of the St. Lawrence river. Oh, no. There has to be a crime and death and a moral lesson on the Troubles of the Human Soul. It’s very heavy-handed, and I think that’s my problem with all of it. If all these glimpses into the troubled souls of humanity were subtextual, I could swallow it easier. But the author spreads her philosophical musings and moral lessons on with a generous hand and they become the entire story. There’s no plot, really, and if you don’t give a shit about Peter and Clara, reading this book is slow-going, annoying, and painful. Louise Penny’s writing style has changed from her earlier novels and not for the good. She now writes in halting, choppy sentences which point out the obvious…then expand on it. Here is a passage describing an area near the St. Lawrence river: It was here, on this very spot, that a meteor had hurtled to earth. Had hit the earth. Three hundred million years ago. It had struck with such force that it killed everything beneath it, and for miles and miles around. It struck with such violence that even now the impact site could be seen from space. Earth, thrown up in waves, had petrified there, forming smooth mountains and a deep crater. Nothing lived. All life was extinguished. The earth laid to waste. For thousands of years. Hundreds of thousands of years. Millions of years. Barren. Empty. Nothing. (195) Dammit. I think we get the picture. Most of the book is like this. And the characters talk like this too, which is very unrealistic. Who. Talks. Like. That? This next sentence is particularly bad and if I read it out loud I laugh: “But the boat didn’t heave. It didn’t ho” (333). How did her editor not read this sentence and laugh too? The dramatic conclusion to this book is entirely predictable. (view spoiler)[ Of course Peter dies. Of course he does. It’s necessary because that’s part of his journey of self-discovery. The former Peter was selfish and smug and jealous of Clara’s talent. This new Peter cured his sin-sick soul by caring for a dying man and painting bad paintings and letting go of his ego and it was destined that he be killed saving Clara, the love of his life, from the evil man with the big knife. There’s so much foreshadowing about meeting your fate that it was obvious someone was, and that someone had to be Peter. (hide spoiler)]If you enjoy Penny’s constant exploration of the sensitive troubled soul of humanity and don’t mind that she practically drowns the reader in it, then you’ll love this book. I do not. I prefer my morality lessons and philosophical blathering to be subtextual. The Long Way Home takes itself way too seriously, is boring, and written in a choppy, annoying style. The characters are tedious in their charming quirkiness, Three Pines sounds like a French-Canadian Disney village, and I hope freaking Gamache finally reads the whole damn Balm of Gilead book. More words were devoted to his habit of reading this book than developing the less-than-compelling non-plot. I’ve very much enjoyed Louise Penny’s earlier novels and I found her charming and delightful in person, but I cannot read any more of these books.
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