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Carpe Librum

Bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.


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Historical Novel Society

The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny

The Cruelest Month - Louise Penny

This series is habit forming. I have quickly devoured the first three books and have the fourth downloading right now. The characters are eccentric to an unrealistic extreme, and no town with this many people dying would be termed idyllic, as Three Pines often is. But somehow as you read this beautifully written series, you are convinced to buy into it.


By this book, one begins to feel like they personally know some of the main characters, though I still wonder why some of them are friends. I mean, really, in real life no one is going near Ruth Zardo. In this book, her rough edges do get a little smoothing, but I still can't see wanting to invite her to dinner. Peter is kind of a creep, but nobody, least of all his sunny & optimistic wife, can see it. And how do Gabri and Olivier run a B&B without advertising in a town that supposedly isn't on any maps?


All these qualms aside, I ended up being captivated by this story even though I'm waiting for Beauvoir to suddenly wake up and realize that he's in a mental institution and he's been making it all up in his head, inserting other patients for Three Pines residents and a doctor for Gamache.


The mystery in this installment is weak, from the motive to the method, but there is much more going on to make up for it. Namely, we learn much more about Gamache, his past, and the conspiracies going on within the Sûreté du Québec. This book felt sort of like a bridge from the introduction of the series to the drama that is to come, with some characters revealed as flawed while others (at least partially) redeemed themselves.


While none of the books in this series have wowed me enough to rate them 5 stars, they are very solid 4 star reads that appeal to me even though they take place in a contemporary setting. Looks like book 4 is ready to go . . . . .