Fiction as Self-Help – Vive Gramache!

Louise Penny is a beautiful writer… even if it’s murder.

The setting of my favorite (er, I should say “favourite” since she’s Canadian) series is called “Three Pines” and even though it’s a fictional town, there is speculation. Penny is, after all, from that part of the country and might have based her town on one or two surrounding Quebec? C’est correct?

Penny’s writing is lyrical, psychological and artistic. It’s also deeply moving. You care about this town and the people it inhabits… and yes, I said it that way on purpose. The town, you see, has a personality all its own.

Penny admits that she wanted the town to be a place she would like to live… and the townsfolk the kind of people she would want to be surrounded by. In fact, she says, some are based on real people. I love that honesty! As a fledgling writer, I almost always base characters on people I know… an amalgamation, possibly.

There’s something etherial about Penny that translates to the page. She has a depth of understanding that will wait for you to catch up, if needed. She assumes nothing. Her writing invites… encourages… and honest-to-god, uplifts and lends credence to policing, the arts and life. I know, it’s saying a lot. It sounds maudlin. But it’s true.

She has gone through her share of heartbreak… her husband’s lingering illness and death took up the last few years. And yet, even her article for AARP ((linked above and also here) is beautifully written. Heartbreaking, yet… filled with gratitude. She is incredibly respectful of her husband Michael… and herself.

That’s the reason I’m bringing up Penny’s books here. Her respect for life translates into these books… along with so much more. There are many gifts to be found. I promise!

The Gramache/Three Pines books… 13 books in all… are worth your time if you love reading, as I do, love good writing, as I do, love good food, art, and story-telling, as I do, and especially if you love a good murder mystery without all the gruesome bells and whistles, as I do. It’s not fluffy AT ALL. It’s just… I’m not sure how to say it… honoring, life-affirming… but also respectful of the shadow side of things… and people.

This woman is an inspiration to me. Truly.



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