One person found this helpful. This was one of those books that you didn't want to end. Beginning with a frightening kidnapping by Indians, to the end of "Bear's" story, is a remarkable journey. I don't want to go into detail, but if you like Native American tales, that are very historically correct, you will enjoy this one. This was a Kindle book. This talented writer has accurately brought to life a piece of American and Indian history, in a plot entwined with faith and true human character. A real page turner.
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Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon. I love that my Kindle has opened my eyes to so many new authors. Thank you Susan it's well worth its Amazon value. Rachel Case rated it really liked it Jun 10, Bluejay44 rated it it was amazing Jan 29, Pat marked it as to-read Jan 07, There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Other books in the series. A Garden Walled Around 3 books. Books by Susan McGeown. Then he threw a few clothes into an overnight bag. Even for a woman who cherished reality, this was far too real. She laughed, and he was glad. At the door he stopped and lowered his case to the ground.
Once he was gone and she could no longer see the back of his car, Annie Gamache closed the door and held her hand to her chest. She wondered if this was how her mother had felt, for all those years. How her mother felt at that very moment. Was she too leaning against the door, having watched her heart leave? Having let it go. Then Annie walked over to the bookcases lining her living room. After a few minutes she found what she was looking for. She and Jean-Guy would present them with their own white bibles, with their names and baptism dates inscribed.
She looked at the thick first page. Sure enough, there was her name. But instead of a cross underneath her name her parents had drawn two little hearts. Copyright by Three Pines Creations, Inc. She could see shadows, shapes, like wraiths moving back and forth, back and forth across the frosted glass. Distorted, but still human. Still the dead one lay moaning. The words had been going through her head all day, appearing and disappearing. A poem, half remembered. Words floating to the surface, then going under. The body of the poem beyond her grasp.
The blurred figures at the far end of the long corridor seemed almost liquid, or smoke. The end of the journey. How often had they come to the MAC to marvel at some new exhibition? To support a friend, a fellow artist? Or to just sit quietly in the middle of the sleek gallery, in the middle of a weekday, when the rest of the city was at work? Art was their work. But it was more than that. It had to be.
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Otherwise, why put up with all those years of solitude? Of silence from a baffled and even bemused art world? She and Peter had worked away, every day, in their small studios in their small village, leading their tiny lives. But still yearning for more. Clara took a few more steps down the long, long, white marble hallway. Her first dream as a child, her last dream that morning, almost fifty years later, was at the far end of the hard white hallway. He was by far the more successful artist, with his exquisite studies of life in close-up.
So detailed, and so close that a piece of the natural world appeared distorted and abstract. Peter took what was natural and made it appear unnatural. People ate it up. It kept food on the table and the wolves, while constantly circling their little home in Three Pines, were kept from the door.
Thanks to Peter and his art. Clara glanced at him walking slightly ahead of her, a smile on his handsome face. She knew most people, on first meeting them, never took her for his wife. Instead they assumed some slim executive with a white wine in her elegant hand was his mate. An example of natural selection. Of like moving to like. The distinguished artist with the head of graying hair and noble features could not possibly have chosen the woman with the beer in her boxing glove hands.
And the studio full of sculptures made out of old tractor parts and paintings of cabbages with wings. Peter Morrow could not have chosen her. That would have been unnatural. Clara would have smiled had she not been fairly certain she was about to throw up. Oh, no no no, she thought again as she watched Peter march purposefully toward the closed door and the art wraiths waiting to pass judgment.
But mostly she wanted to turn and flee, to hide. To stumble back down the long, long, light-filled, art-filled, marble-filled hallway. And this is where it led. She walked down this corridor. Into the waiting arms of an adoring world. There was no terror. No creatures glimpsed through the frosted glass, waiting to devour her. Diminish her, and her creations.
Had not told her something else might be waiting. Oh, no no no, thought Clara. What was the rest of the poem? Why did it elude her? Now, within feet of the end of her journey all she wanted to do was run away home to Three Pines. To open the wooden gate. To race up the path lined with apple trees in spring bloom. To slam their front door shut behind her.
To lean against it. To press her body against it, and keep the world out. She realized she was holding her breath and wondered for how long. To make up for it she started breathing rapidly. Peter was talking but his voice was muffled, far away. Drowned out by the shrieking in her head, and the pounding in her chest. And the noise building behind the doors.
As they got closer. Clara opened her hand and dropped her purse. It fell with a plop to the floor, since it was all but empty, containing simply a breath mint and the tiny paint brush from the first paint-by-number set her grandmother had given her. Clara dropped to her knees, pretending to gather up invisible items and stuff them into her clutch. She lowered her head, trying to catch her breath, and wondered if she was about to pass out.
Clara stared from the purse on the gleaming marble floor to the man crouched across from her. He was kneeling beside her, watching, his kind eyes life preservers thrown to a drowning woman. His voice was calm. This was their own private crisis. Their own private rescue. Not missing her right away. Not noticing his wife was kneeling on the floor. Seeing his silky blond hair, and the lines only visible very close up. More lines than a thirty-eight-year-old man should have. The dew heavy under her rubber boots. The early roses and late peonies damp and fragrant.
Not once had she imagined herself collapsed on the floor. To go back to the garden. But Olivier was right. Oh, no no no. They were the only way home now. Clara laughed, and exhaled. And in that instant the body of the poem surfaced. The rest of it was revealed. I was much too far out all my life. From far off Armand Gamache could hear the sound of children playing.
He knew where it was coming from. He sometimes liked to sit there and pretend the shouts and laughter came from his young grandchildren, Florence and Zora. He imagined his son Daniel and Roslyn were in the park, watching their children. Or he and Reine-Marie would join them. And play catch, or conkers. But mostly he just listened to the shouts and shrieks and laughter of neighborhood children. His wife, Reine-Marie, sat across from him on their balcony. She too had a cold beer on this unexpectedly warm day in mid-June. But her copy of La Presse was folded on the table and she stared into the distance.
He was silent for a moment, watching her. Her hair was quite gray now, but then, so was his. Like him, she was in her mid-fifties. And this was what a couple of that age looked like. If they were lucky. No one would mistake them for that. But that too would be a mistake.
Books were everywhere in their large apartment. Placed in orderly bookcases. Just about every table had at least one book on it, and often several magazines. And the weekend newspapers were scattered on the coffee table in the living room, in front of the fireplace. The shelves were packed with case histories, with books on medicine and forensics, with tomes on Napoleonic and common law, fingerprinting, genetic coding, wounds and weapons.
But still, even among the death, space was made for books on philosophy and poetry. But he could never shake the suspicion he had gotten very, very lucky. Unless it was the extraordinary stroke of luck that she should also love him. Now she turned her blue eyes on him. It was five past five.
Their son-in-law was half an hour late and Gamache glanced inside their apartment. He could just barely make out his daughter Annie sitting in the living room reading, and across from her was his second in command, Jean Guy Beauvoir. Jean Guy and Annie were ignoring each other. Gamache nodded and picked up the magazine, then he lowered it slowly. Reine-Marie hesitated then smiled.
Armand raised his brow in surprise. And now he was nearing forty and she was nearing thirty. Still awkward and gawky and bossy. She looked as though she was genuinely glad to see them. As though they were important. Fought through the pain and the dark to that foreign but gentle touch. That bird-like grip he would not have come back for. But this hand was large, and certain, and warm. And it invited him back. And then he knew why. Because she had nowhere else to be.
No other hospital bed to sit beside. Because her father was dead.
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Killed by a gunman in the abandoned factory. Beauvoir had seen it happen. Seen him lifted off his feet and fall to the concrete floor. And now Annie Gamache was holding his hand in the hospital, because the hand she really wanted to be holding was gone. Jean Guy Beauvoir had pried his eyes open and seen Annie Gamache looking so sad. And his heart broke. Then he saw something else. No one had ever looked at him that way. With unconcealed and unbound joy. It was slightly citrony. Annie smelled like a lemon grove in summer. There were many humiliations waiting for him in the hospital.
From bedpans and diapers to sponge baths. But none was more personal, more intimate, more of a betrayal than what his broken body did then. And Annie never mentioned it from that day to this. That was how it had felt. Very, very slowly Annie lowered her newspaper. And glared at him. And now he felt the words strike. Travel deep and explode.
It was almost comforting, he realized. As a lawyer you should know that. It makes you think about your life. Would you like to talk about it? Talk about Enid with Annie? All the petty sordid squabbles, the tiny slights, the scarring and scabbing. The thought revolted him and he must have shown it. He searched for something to say, some small bridge, a jetty back to her. The minutes stretched by, elongating. It was the first thing that popped into his hollow head, like the Magic Eight Ball, that when it stopped being shaken produced a single word.
Still her face was expressionless. She raised the newspaper again. The Canadian dollar was strong, he read from across the room. Winter potholes still unfixed, he read. An investigation into government corruption, he read. The newspaper slowly dropped. She was talking to him again.
Her father was the bridge. Annie dropped her paper onto the table and glanced beyond Beauvoir to her parents talking quietly on the balcony. She was never going to be the most beautiful woman in the room. That much was obvious even then. Annie was not fine-boned or delicate. She was more athletic than graceful. She cared about clothes, but she also cared about comfort.
Opinionated, strong-willed, strong physically. With Enid he would never consider trying. And she would never offer. Annie Gamache had not only offered, but had fully expected to win. Where other women, including Enid, were lovely, Annie Gamache was alive. Late, too late, Jean Guy Beauvoir had come to appreciate how very important it was, how very attractive it was, how very rare it was, to be fully alive. Annie looked back at Beauvoir. Beauvoir lowered his voice.
They were a couple of feet apart and Beauvoir could just smell her scent. It was all he could do not to take her hands in his. Seems like a cottage industry there. Despite himself, Beauvoir laughed. Beauvoir smiled and nodded. And then your father said it. I was the only kid in school who quoted Leigh Hunt. Gamache smiled as he heard the laughter from the living room. He cocked his head in their direction. Since his separation from Enid, Jean Guy had seemed distant. And his narrow drawbridge had been raised. Armand Gamache knew no good ever came from putting up walls.
What people mistook for safety was in fact captivity. And few things thrived in captivity.
But privately he wondered. He knew time could heal. But it could also do more damage. A forest fire, spread over time, would consume everything. Gamache, with one last look at the two younger people, continued his conversation with Reine-Marie.
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She considered for a moment. Gamache nodded and thought for a moment. I suppose it might be awkward. In fact, it was said quietly and gently. Feelings he himself might not even be aware he had. A face now clean-shaven. No more graying beard. He looked at her with his deep brown eyes. And as she held them she could almost forget the scar above his left temple.
After a moment his smile faded and he nodded again, taking a deep breath. He so yearned for that, since his days were filled with hunting the unnatural. People who took the lives of others. Often in gruesome and dreadful ways. He was very good at his job. It was in all the papers. But he never mentioned that someone involved might still hate him. We investigated and the evidence seemed overwhelming. All of it hidden in the bistro. He was tried and convicted. Did someone else confess? You remember a few months ago, after that raid on the factory? When your father was recovering in Quebec City?
Though he himself had no such doubts. He believed the right man was in prison. And the real reason for the killing. Not since all this had happened. Seeing the sun gleaming off snowbanks. Through the frosted panes of glass he could see the villagers gathered in the bistro. The cheery fires lit. Two feet from the closed door. Jean Guy had gone to open it, but Gamache had lain a gloved hand on his arm. For Olivier to make the move. After what seemed an age, but was probably only a few heartbeats, Olivier reached out, paused for one more moment, then opened the door. But he knew that no matter how much ecstasy Reine-Marie imagined, the reality was even greater.
The rest of the villagers were elated to see Olivier too. And it turned out that Olivier had used the stolen money to secretly buy up a lot of property in Three Pines. Dad got him out of prison.
He took him back to Three Pines. Your father put him in. Annie stared at Beauvoir, then shook her head. In front of everyone in the bistro. He told Olivier he was sorry for what he did. Annie thought about that. Beauvoir knew the only thing worse than no apology was an insincere one. Jean Guy had to give Olivier that. Instead of appearing to accept the apology, Olivier had finally told the truth. The hurt went too deep. Up the stairs they raced, taking them two at a time, trying to be as quiet as possible. Gamache struggled to keep his breathing steady, as though he was sitting at home, as though he had not a care in the world.
You must believe me, son. Nothing bad will happen to you. He hoped the young agent couldnt hear the strain in his voice, the flattening as the Chief Inspector fought to keep his voice authoritative, certain. They reached the landing. Inspector Beauvoir stopped, staring at his Chief.
Gamache looked at his watch. In his headphones the agent was telling him about the sunshine and how good it felt on his face. The rest of the team made the landing, tactical vests in place, automatic weapons drawn, eyes sharp. Trained on the Chief. Beside him Inspector Beauvoir was also waiting for a decision. Within feet of their quarry. Gamache stared down one dark, dingy corridor in the abandoned factory then down the other. Light scraped through the broken, grubby windows lining the halls and with it came the December day.
He pointed decisively to the left and they ran, silently, toward the door at the end. As he ran Gamache gripped his rifle and spoke calmly into the headset. Theres forty seconds left, sir. Each word was exhaled as though the man on the other end was having difficulty breathing. Just listen to me, said Gamache, thrusting his hand toward a door.
The team surged ahead. I wont let anything happen to you, said Gamache, his voice convincing, commanding, daring the young agent to contradict.
Youll be having dinner with your family tonight. The tactical team surrounded the closed door with its frosted, filthy window. Gamache paused, staring at it, his hand hanging in the air ready to give the signal to break it down. To rescue his agent. Beside him Beauvoir strained, waiting to be loosed. Too late, Chief Inspector Gamache realized hed made a mistake. Gamache returned the older mans smile and made a fist of his right hand. To stop the trembling. A tremble so slight he was certain the waitress in the Quebec City caf hadnt noticed.
The two students across the way tapping on their laptops wouldnt notice. No one would notice. Except someone very close to him. He looked at mile Comeau, crumbling a flaky croissant with sure hands. He was nearing eighty now, Gamaches mentor and former chief. His hair was white and groomed, his eyes through his glasses a sharp blue. He was slender and energetic, even now. Though with each visit Armand Gamache noticed a slight softening about the face, a slight slowing of the movements. Widowed five years, mile Comeau knew the power, and length, of time.
Gamaches own wife, Reine-Marie, had left at dawn that morning after spending a week with them at miles stone home within the old walled city of Qubec. Theyd had quiet dinners together in front of the fire, theyd walked the narrow snow-covered streets. Read the papers, discussed events. The three of them. Four, if you counted their German shepherd, Henri.
And most days Gamache had gone off on his own to a local library, to read. And then it was time for her to leave. After saying good-bye to mile she turned to her husband. Tall, solid, a man who preferred good books and long walks to any other activity, he looked more like a distinguished professor in his mid-fifties than the head of the most prestigious homicide unit in Canada. The Sret du Qubec. He walked her to her car, scraping the morning ice from the windshield.
You dont have to go, you know, he said, smiling down at her as they stood in the brittle, new day.
A Garden Walled Around by Susan McGeown
Henri sat in a snow bank nearby and watched. But you and mile need time together. I could see how you were looking at each other. Id hoped wed been more discreet. A wife always knows. She smiled, looking into his deep brown eyes. He wore a hat, but still she could see his graying hair, and the slight curl where it came out from under the fabric. Shed slowly become used to the beard. For years hed had a moustache, but just lately, since it happened, hed grown the trim beard. Should she say it? It was never far from her mind now, from her mouth.
The words she knew were useless, if any words could be described as that. Certainly she knew they could not make the thing happen. If they could she would surround him with them, encase him with her words. Come home when you can, she said instead, her voice light. In a few days, a week at the most.