This is such a powerful, triumphant book... and yet, it's not an easy book to read. It grips you from the first page and doesRe-read 8/29/12 4.5 stars!
This is such a powerful, triumphant book... and yet, it's not an easy book to read. It grips you from the first page and doesn't let go until the last page. And finally, you breathe that sigh of relief - it's done. The resolution has come, and now we all can get on with our lives, as we learn to live with what's happened.
This book really has 3 stories: 1. The incident that happened, where Gamache, Beauvoir, and several of his team were either injured/shot or killed. This incident happened approximately 6 months or so before the book opens, but it informs the entire story. We hear the plaintive voice of Paul Morin, a young sergeant who previously worked with Inspector Gamache's team on the previous book's mystery, "The Brutal Telling".
Paul was lent out to another arm of the Surete, and while on duty, he and his partner came across a truck that seemed suspicious. In the fray, Paul's partner was shot, and Paul was taken hostage. Now, Paul's captor has forced Paul and Inspector Gamache to talk on the phone until a team locates and frees Paul from a bomb, set to go off in 16 hours. But the bomb will also go off if Paul or Gamache stop talking for more than just a few seconds.
And so, this story slowly unfolds throughout the book... the dread and suspicion of what really happened during this incident - an incident that forever changed not only Inspector Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir, but many others' lives. Ms. Penny holds us in suspense until the very last few minutes of the book as to what happened. But we explore the event through the eyes of both Gamache and Beauvoir.
2. In the aftermath of the incident, Gamache is spending time with his old mentor in Old Quebec City. He's trying to heal his emotional and mental wounds... trying to find a solution for the immense guilt he feels, and hoping to still Paul Morin's voice in his mind - a voice that won't quit.
While here, Gamache takes refuge in the Literary and Historical Library - an Anglophile (English) library in the heart of a mostly Francophile (French) city and province. Gamache is researching the last battle in the French and Indian War (or the Seven Year's War). He sees a mystery involving Bouganville and possibly Captain Cook. And he's discovered this delightful English library filled with unknown and little known tomes. Because the English won that war, Gamache thinks his answers might be found there.
But, of course, there is a murder - at the Lit and His. A notorious Frenchman, intent on discovering the body and/or final burial site of Samuel de Champlain, the Father of Quebec. Why was this obsessed historian in the sub-basement of the Lit and His - a place that was once the cellar underneath a hanging prison? An ENGLISH building? And who killed him for what reason?
Gamache is still on leave and hesitant to be drawn in. But he's asked to join the investigation as a consultant, by both sides - the French and English. Because there are definitely sides... French separatists and Anglo elitists. While those involved don't necessarily fit in either group, they're aware that this situation (a French man murdered in an English library) could be the match that rekindles the flame. And so, Gamache is drawn in... and brings his mentor in, too.
3. As Gamache is pondering whodunnit at the Lit and His, he's bothered by the daily letters from Gabri. Gabri is always unfailingly polite and asks after Gamache, but he always ends with "Why would he move the body?", meaning his partner, Olivier, who was arrested, convicted, and in prison for the murder of the Old Hermit/Jakob from The Brutal Telling. Gamache is bothered just enough that he sends Beauvoir back to Three Pines. He asks Jean-Guy to assume that Olivier didn't commit the murder. If not Olivier, than who and why?
As Jean-Guy investigates, he starts to realize why Gamache spends time getting to know the people in Three Pines. But it's the unlikely alliance with Ruth that helps Jean-Guy address his own wounds and fears in his life and from the incident.
Bury Your Dead sounds depressing... about death. But in reality it's about life. It's about burying your past... the ghosts and regrets that haunt you... learning to live with what was or to accept it - whether you had a real part or not, and getting on with life. It's about laying emotional, physical, and psychological hurts and ghosts to rest. That's why it's such a powerful book. That's why it's so difficult to read. But within the difficult is the hilarious, the touching, the tender, and the real.
*sigh* It's so easy to forget the beauty of a story and its characters... it's so easy to shut the book, lay it down, and forget the iRe-read Aug 2012
*sigh* It's so easy to forget the beauty of a story and its characters... it's so easy to shut the book, lay it down, and forget the intricacies of its exploration of the human mind, will, and emotions.
I re-read this book in preparation for reading Ms. Penny's newly released book in the Chief Inspector Gamache series, "A Beautiful Mystery". And I'm so glad that I did! So many tiny details that I'm sure play a role in the next book, because I can't believe she'd leave us hanging about Jean Guy Beauvoir and Annie or Peter and Clara. And Gamache is still healing from The Big Incident and still trying to find out, as quietly as possible, who released the video of The Big Incident to the internet, where it went viral.
I learned quite a bit about art, too - as seen through Ms. Penny's eyes. But she seems to have a deep appreciation for art and artists. Re-reading this book makes me want to spend more time in art galleries and museums!
-------------- 1st read - Sept 7, 2011 Love, love, love this book!
I adore that Louise Penny took us back to Three Pines! Even though quite a few folks are murdered there, there is something peaceful and renewing about Three Pines and its citizens.
Clara finally has her solo show, but not with Denis Fortin, whom she quarreled with in the last book. Denis had the gall to use a horrid slur when referring to Gabri, and Clara not only told Denis off, but she told him where to go.
Clara's solo showing is at the Musee -- far more prestigious and far more daunting for Clara. Among the guests are famous art gallery owners, agents, friends, other painters, press, and Inspector Gamache and his trusty 2nd in command, Beauvoir.
After the grand showing, the party moves to Three Pines for a whole-town celebration: BBQ, dancing, and general merry-making. It's not until the next morning, as Clara sits in her refuge, her garden, to prepare herself for the critics' reviews of her showing... and as Peter and Olivier bring the papers with said reviews, that they discover a body. In Clara's refuge -- her garden. Just legs with red shows sticking out from the plants, reminding everyone who sees it of the Wicked Witch of the East's end in "The Wizard of Oz".
Except this is no stranger... tied deeply to Clara's past, Peter's past, and to many bitter secrets, this murder isn't about to go away easily....more
2nd read: 2013 Re-reading 'cuz of a True Love buddy read...
The book is still very slow and seems to take forever to really ge3.5 stars (revised rating)
2nd read: 2013 Re-reading 'cuz of a True Love buddy read...
The book is still very slow and seems to take forever to really get going. It felt as if we got lost in Lady Julia's head for quite awhile without adding anything to the plot or characters. That's my main complaint, and why I can't give it 4 stars.
Once we get to it, the mystery starts to fall into place, and the revelations are somewhat shocking, because we haven't been prepared for them, IMO. That's not a bad thing. But the actual whodunnit is impossible to discover, because the clues are so sparse. It's not until Lady Julia stumbles on the truth that we, the readers, are able to figure it out.
Some authors employ this method - of forcing the readers to see only through the main character's eyes, and therefore, not being able to jump too far ahead. Only because I enjoyed the history of the time and period and because I wanted to know more about Lady Julia and what's going on with Nicholas Brisbane did I keep reading.
Very interesting ending. I just wish we could have been spared much of the unimportant and unrevealing middle and simply jumped quicker into the actual case and info about Nicholas B.
================= 1st read: Aug 24, 2011 Cozy Victorian mystery... takes a bit for the story to get going, though.
I'm an AVID MYSTERY FAN - have been since I picked up my first Trixie Belden book at age 9.
At first glance, this book looks... well, large - lots of pages. But in reality, it's a fast read. I did it in one evening. I enjoyed the book: while Lady Julia might seem a bit too "modern" for an aristocratic Englishwoman, she is a March and the time period is the late 1800s, creeping up on 1900. Nicholas Brisbane is an interesting mix -- at times I thought perhaps too many things mixed up in this wild, dark man... But he's intriguing.
However, as others have noted, the mystery isn't really about Whodunnit. That's fairly obvious. But I must admit, I didn't catch the WHY -- I had an entirely different scenario playing in my head. Like Lady Julia, I found myself a bit shocked, but not for the same reasons. I was simply taken aback -- did I miss something? IMO, the author intended for the reader to feel Lady Julia's shock on more than one level -- shock, betrayal, and hurt. We knew this marriage wasn't a love story for the ages, and while the "whoring" and even the Hellfire Club could be expected, I, frankly, didn't expect the homosexual angle. And that twist to the plot, characters, and the why caught me by surprise - enough so that I will read book #2 to see if Nicholas Brisbane and Lady Julia can hold my attention through another murder....more
The title was so intriguing, I couldn't help myself! This is the first book I've read by this author. I'm not certain if I'd like any of his other serThe title was so intriguing, I couldn't help myself! This is the first book I've read by this author. I'm not certain if I'd like any of his other series, but I do like this one.
Lady Trent is no ordinary heroine. Yes, she's plucky and smart and independent. But she's also a scientist in her own right -- she can even perform autopsies! Yes, there is a "secret" that has made her keep her emotions in check, to the point of being icy to everyone but her beloved son, David. She is a rational woman. And she becomes the strength and sense for her family when her younger brother, Clive, is arrested and throw in jail for murdering the actress who publicly humiliated him just the night before.
Because the circumstantial evidence is so strong against him, Lady Trent decides to do her own investigating. Because her brother's alibi is only drunken memories of being in unsavory places with unsavory people, Lady Trent has to team up not only with someone who can protect her, but who can also navigate the seamier side of London. That man, of course, is very handsome. And an actor. And most surprisingly, a Christian man, who lives and breathes his faith.
Will these two people from such different worlds be able to find the evidence needed to prevent Clive from hanging? Will they find friendship or even love along the way? And if they do, how will they overcome their differences in backgrounds and faith, or lack of it?
I did enjoy the book, and I found the mystery to be well-written. The whodunnit seemed obvious to me in the last 1/3rd of the book, but it was played well, with plenty of red herrings.
As I was reading, it struck me that this book reminded me of The Lady Julia series by Deanna Raybourn. Or rather, a version of Lady Julia that integrates faith and Christianity. There are many similarities between the two stories and the two heroines.
What I wasn't so sure that I enjoyed is that the actor, Dylan, has such an easy faith, and yet he has no problem breaking and entering to find clues for Lady Trent -- and more than once! Dylan didn't hesitate, nor did he talk about feeling guilty or asking for forgiveness. That seemed odd to me for a character that is so obviously a man of God.
And I wondered at the characterizations of Lady Trent's family. Her father and mother seem so... out of it. They're virtually useless in solving or resolving the matter with Clive. I'd thought, at least, that her father (a noted scientist and doctor) would be able to provide an important clue.
I also see a very "American" sensibility in a Victorian book. The class boundaries are clearly crossed with associations, friendships, and romance. Love over-rules all....
But I'm intrigued enough to venture into Book #2....more
LOVE this book - a fun romp into English & French spies in Napoleon's time, and the historian (Eloise) who's trying to prove that it wasn't just tLOVE this book - a fun romp into English & French spies in Napoleon's time, and the historian (Eloise) who's trying to prove that it wasn't just the gentlemen doing all the spying. Sometimes the back-and-forth between time periods seems to get in the way, but the story is worth it....more
OK, so this book seems to get better each time I read it. Maybe I'm not such an anti-Lord John kinda gal anymore? OrJan 31, 2013: 3rd read - 4+ stars
OK, so this book seems to get better each time I read it. Maybe I'm not such an anti-Lord John kinda gal anymore? Or maybe I've since read many other books with actual steam, I've realized that LJ's love scenes, such as they are, are rather tame and not as explicit as I first thought. (Hmmm... what does that say about me and some of the books I've read? LOL!)
Anyway, so much meat in this book. And IMO, since Lord John is important to Diana G, she's gonna make him important to Outlander, especially Jamie & Claire. We saw LJ play a bigger role in books 6 & 7, so it's obvious he'll play one of the starring subplots in book 8. Percy and Hal are also going to be featured in book 8. So for me, understanding what happened between LJ and Percy in this book is key to understanding Percy in books 7 & 8.
Is Percy a distant relative to Claire? The way he's described physically with curly dark hair and the color of his eyes... although there's not been mention so far that Percy fathered any children, he did take the surname of Beauchamp in France when he married his heiress. And they have a satisfactory arrangement for open affairs with whomever they please... I'm hoping DG will clue us in more if there's really a relationship to Claire in book 8.
In the meantime, in book 7, Percy was trying to locate Fergus Fraser with a connection to the Comte St. Germain - his heir, in fact. What connection does Percy have to Fergus or the Comte? We know that at some point both LJ and Percy got into the "intelligence" portion of their respective military branches - LJ for England and Percy for France (apparently). Percy's motives are quite suspect.
I can only cross my fingers that DG will illuminate us in future books...
Feb 24, 2012: 2nd read - 4 stars
Yes, I changed my mind about this book - it got even better with the 2nd reading. I still winced a bit at the scenes with Percy and LJ, but this time more because I knew what was coming. I have come to appreciate Lord John as a major character, and I don't see him as such a threat to Claire any longer... not that Jamie would ever choose LJ over Claire, but still.
I wrestled with the angry encounter between Jamie and LJ in this book, and finally, this time because of the wonderful Outlander group here at Goodreads, I finally feel as if I understand the full nuances of this particular scene and how it likely affected and guided Jamie's and LJ's relationship from here on out. (Which The Scottish Prisoner, which follows this in the LJ series seemed to confirm to me.)
So many wonderful characters in this book! So many reprehensible! But of the LJ series, this and The Scottish Prisoner are definitely my favorites.
August 26, 2011: 1st read - 3+ stars
Of the 3 in the series so far, I found this book to be the most compelling. And it explained much more about Lord John and who he's become by Outlander book #7.
My ONLY nit is that I wasn't prepared to explore Lord John's sex life. I don't think of myself as a prude, I was just taken aback by the detail and frequency. It felt as though I accidentally walked into some extremely private moments. BUT, to be fair, the Outlander series provides similar levels of detailed scenes between Jamie & Claire and Roger & Bree. So LJ's getting equal time, as it were. But it's not everyone's cup of tea, so if that type of scene isn't yours, be prepared to stumble into a few and be prepared to skim a few pages. Just make sure to catch the "afterglow" moments, because there's a lot of discussion that reveals not only Lord John's secret thoughts (he actually becomes vulnerable), but also plot bits that are important to this book and to the later Outlander books.
It was nice to see LJ vulnerable. It was nice to learn more about his mother and his brother Hal. It was fascinating to find out more about his father's death and his father's character.
We also return to the Lake district and drop in on the Dunsany's and Jamie. There are some particularly difficult scenes between LJ and Jamie, where each is trying to work out his feelings about the other, especially in regards to LJ's affection for Jamie. And we see Jamie just after Geneva's death... a rare glimpse into something we could only fill in the spaces with before.
At times, the book felt over-long, because I didn't understand why a particular event or series of events was important. And the importance wasn't made clear until late in the book. But the events DO make sense as part of the whole.
I appreciated the historical detail, especially in the battle scenes. Not being a soldier myself, it can be difficult to imagine what it might be like. And Ms. Gabaldon shows us, through Lord John's eyes, just what battle in those days looks like. ...more
This book WANTS to be a Daphne du Maurier novel like "Rebecca"... but it wants it so desperately, that it overreaches.
I just couldn't get past the mecThis book WANTS to be a Daphne du Maurier novel like "Rebecca"... but it wants it so desperately, that it overreaches.
I just couldn't get past the mechanism of having 2 different voices - one "modern", one past... Because it's almost impossible to figure out who the past voice is until well into the book. And because the 2nd voice has been introduced to us in third-person, and the narrative for that 2nd voice goes back and forth between third person and 1st person for so long...
The "devices" of the book just don't keep me reading: multiple narratives (past and present) and switching voices every other chapter. Each chapter is, maybe, 5-10 pages long. The mystery isn't much of a mystery. And there seems to be excessive cruelty.
I literally began reading every-other-chapter to keep with the same "voice" until I skimmed my way through the book. And then I realized that I really wasn't that interested or invested and that I truly didn't care. So I pulled a Dorothy Parker, threw the book across the room, and decided not to read any more.
A fun romp of a mystery though Scotland, complete with all the kitsch an American gal sold on Scotland and the Highlands could want - including a heroA fun romp of a mystery though Scotland, complete with all the kitsch an American gal sold on Scotland and the Highlands could want - including a hero who looks like a member of the Royal family without his beard! (view spoiler)[Interesting that someone so enamored of Scotland should be so attracted to someone who looks like Prince Charles! That Prince Charles has never been very attractive, IMO, so I looked up pictures of him in that era; I still don't see the attraction. Too bad, I had much higher hopes for our hero, Jamie. (hide spoiler)]
The story starts with a good, solid introduction to our heroine, Susan. Scotland is her passion, and she knows all things Scotland, including it's history, it's poets, and it's poetry. Susan's imaginary friends and later, imaginary boyfriends, included Bonnie Prince Charlie, not the pop stars of her day. So when Susan gets the chance to join an archaeological dig in the middle-of-nowhere Scotland, she saves her pennies and heads off. But first, a quick stop in Edinburgh for some sight seeing.
Except a madman/poet Tammas slips part of an old Scots poem into her purse during one of his ranting, wild-eyed public monologues... and despite the locals thinking of him as only "color", Susan is quickly whirled into dangerous intrigue. A good-looking American who calls himself Jackson joins her tour the next day, and he seems to be interested in all things Susan. Until he lures her off into the nearby scrub and violently kisses her - yes, violently; she's bruised in the encounter, and her purse is spilled (deliberately?). And when she returns to her hotel room, Susan discovers it in shambles. Why? Over a scrap of old poetry?
When Susan sees Tammas again the next evening, he runs from her, and she follows him through the streets and back alleys of Edinburgh. At one point, she's pelted with rocks and falls, skinning her knees; to escape the rock onslaught, she rushes up the stairs to fall into the arms of.... a masked man in full Highland dress - the dress of Bonnie Prince Charlie. This masked man, James (or Jamie), takes her to the party he was just heading out for, where she tries to tell him her story, but Susan doesn't think Jamie believes her. Until he takes her to Tammas' house... where they find Tammas dead - stabbed. With his last breaths, Tammas struggled to get near a hammer and a stone. Why? What message was he trying to send?
Soon Jamie & Susan are on the run, fugitives accused of murdering Tammas. There's a lot of camping in caves, talk about food, eating of food, some cuddling... Jamie ends up in a kilt and shaves his bushy beard and mustache, where Susan discovers that Jamie looks like a member of the Royal family and uses it to their advantage to get first-aid, food, shelter, and even a motorcycle.
But what the heck is going on? Why is the dig site so important? What is this mystery about? ------------------- It does take awhile for the pieces to fall into place. And there are a couple of shocking moments when Susan is literally slapped or punched by a man. I truly didn't expect those moments in an otherwise fluffy and "fun" adventure.
Although I must say that via Susan, the author delivers a succinct summary of the fuss about why the Stuarts claimed the thrones of Scotland and England. There's some good history in here, if you don't skip it to get to the action. Again, through Susan, the history is good "color" and well-told.
But the overall "mystery" and all the falderal surrounding it... reminded me of a Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew story with kissing, some slapping of the heroine, and some mild violence.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more