I recently read A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny. My good friend Emily insisted I read the first in the Armand Gamache series, Still Life, back in October and I loved it. Then for my birthday in November, Emily gifted me this second book in the Gamache series, and I’m already looking forward to the next.
This story is one of mystery, deep friendships, and the ongoing lives of a quiet village in Canada; Three Pines. Penny’s description of this village is everything. I want to live in Three Pines – the beautiful homes in surrounding the main square, the local B&B and bistro sound delightful, and I can certainly imagine myself curled up in Myrna’s book store.
I wouldn’t say the mysteries are fully predictable, but I was able to figure out the whodunnit in both murders in this book fairy quickly. Regardless, I still enjoyed watching Gamache work and the respect he has from his team. This group of characters is really growing on me. There is a great little twist in the sub-plot that was enjoyable and I didn’t see coming.
However I did have two major problems with the book that took me out of the magic.
1 – the author spends way WAY too much time on the cruel descriptors of the overweight women in this book. It wasn’t the characters thinking or speaking that these painful words came from – it was the author herself. Describing an overweight 12 year old girl as grotesque, one of the beloved characters Myrna as huge and doubly huge in her parka, and even much later again calling the 12 year old immense. Look Louise – we got it the first time. These are big ladies. The cruel descriptions happen repeatedly and well past the point of need and purpose of the story.
2 – I really hate the Yvette Nichol character. I thought we might be done with her after the first book but no, this crazy ass bitch is back again. This is a story line we could do without.
Despite these two things, I really enjoyed A Fatal Grace and can’t wait to read the next book in the series to see what happens to our little crew of investigators and residents of Three Pines. In fact I might need to start researching to find out if there is a quaint village like this I might be able to travel to! I gave this 4/5 stars on Goodreads.