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Happily retired in the village of Three Pines, Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, has found a peace he'd only imagined possible. On warm summer mornings he sits on a bench holding a small book, The Balm in Gilead, in his large hands. "There is a balm in Gilead," his neighbor Clara Morrow reads from the dust jacket, "to make the wounded whole."
While Gamache doesn't talk about his wounds and his balm, Clara tells him about hers. Peter, her artist husband, has failed to come home. Failed to show up as promised on the first anniversary of their separation. She wants Gamache's help to find him. Having finally found sanctuary, Gamache feels a near revulsion at the thought of leaving Three Pines. "There’s power enough in Heaven," he finishes the quote as he contemplates the quiet village, "to cure a sin-sick soul." And then he gets up. And joins her.
Together with his former second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and Myrna Landers, they journey deeper and deeper into Québec. And deeper and deeper into the soul of Peter Morrow. A man so desperate to recapture his fame as an artist, he would sell that soul. And may have. The journey takes them further and further from Three Pines, to the very mouth of the great St. Lawrence river. To an area so desolate, so damned, the first mariners called it The land God gave to Cain. And there they discover the terrible damage done by a sin-sick soul.
Just how much can a person say with his eyes and his demeanor? The constant references to how much each character can intuit from the look of another character approach clairvoyance. The story line is not credible and if I had to hear one more reference to how a certain series of paintings made the characters feel sick, I would start to feel sick myself. The fear with which Armand approaches the problem he is asked to solve does not make sense. Now that he has retired, maybe it is time for the story line to be retired, much as I love Three Pines. The narrator is good, as always.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
I have long been a Louise Penny fan, although Ralph Cosham's superb narration has as much to do with that as the writing, perhaps even more. I admit to a growing weariness of the continued plot-line of "Conspiracies and Plots Against Gamache and Beyond", and was delighted when the resolution of that particular thread was resolved. It seemed that at long last we could get back to Three Pines and the gang, with a tantalizing mystery attached to a solid resolution as in Still Life and The Cruelest Month. Alas, it was not to be. An unbelievably far-fetched (farcical?) murder method, gratuitous violence which infuriated me, and an ending that had me feeling like I was watching a shell game (This! No, that! No, the other!) left an overall - and deep - disappointment. Guess I'll just have to go back and read the first few - excellent - books. Bummer!
25 of 27 people found this review helpful
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
I think this is the weakest of the series. Slow and slower. Penny's books get into trouble when she leaves "Three Pines". I can't tell you how many times I fell asleep listening to this book. I adore the characters and only kept listening to be with them. Ruth would have tossed this book in the fireplace after the third chapter!
23 of 25 people found this review helpful
This was not Louise Penny at her best. The plot was contrived, and because of that, the characters who have become old friends to the reader seemed somehow out of character.
We got to know Myrna better and Ruth was her wicked old self, but Clara and Peter's misfortunes around which the plot is built just did not work for me. Ralph Cosham's narration works every time!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
No. I'm not sure how to write a review for this without giving away details of the plot. The story was incredibly slow, and the ending didn't make up for it. There were elements and plot lines introduced that at first seemed like they would add interest to the mystery but they were never resolved.
Would you ever listen to anything by Louise Penny again?
It's possible, but not likely. The story was too slow, the mystery was boring, and the main female character was so frustrating that I didn't care whether or not her mystery was solved.
Would you listen to another book narrated by Ralph Cosham?
It's possible, but not likely. It took a long time for me to become acclimated to his voice. It's nasally, monotone, and his accent makes him hard to understand at first.
Was The Long Way Home worth the listening time?
Absolutely not. I could have read this book in a fourth of the time it took me to listen to it and that still would have been too much time invested in this story.
Any additional comments?
Without giving away the plot, the resolution to the mystery was so unbelievable with the technology that was available that it actually made me angry.
12 of 15 people found this review helpful
I found this latest book in the Louise Penny ``Inspector Gamache`series to be very disappointing! It didn`t seem to have any real story. Eventually, I grew tired and frustrated waiting for Peter to come home. Finally, I stopped listening. I never found out if Peter did come home or not and by that time I had ceased to care.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
This review is all about the narrator, Ralph Cosham, who died 5 weeks after the publication of The Long Way Home. Cosham, a Brit by birth and an American by choice, was a journalist, actor, and audiobook narrator. He retained his British accent. Among the 125+ books he narrated are the first 10 in Louise Penny's wonderful Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series.
After listening to Book 11 in Penny's Gamache series, The Nature of the Beast narrated quite well by Robert Bathurst, I decided to listen to The Long Way Home again. For many of us who love the Gamache series by Canadian writer Louise Penny, Ralph Cosham was the voice of Armand Gamache. Listening to him performing The Long Way Home again reminds me of just how good Cosham was.
By the way, the novel is outstanding.
RIP Ralph Cosham; you will be missed.
10 of 13 people found this review helpful
Louise Penny knows how to transport us physically as well as mentally to places we have never been before. She is uniquely in touch with the human soul and all the anger, joy, angst, hatred, loyalty, betrayal, and love and support that we can imagine.
A very different story than her previous novels, this one is free from the tension and battles surrounding Gamache and others who were determined to ruin his life. It is a more peaceful novel in many ways, but still held my attention completely.
This story answers the questions about what happens with Peter and Clara Morrow. It starts in Three Pines with Clara confiding in Inspector Gamache, who is now retired and living in Three Pines with his wife, Reine-Marie. They take us on a journey with the help of a few other Three Pines residents through some of the earlier years of Peter's life. Art, of course, takes the stage front and center as layers are peeled back to expose the players and motives to bring us to the present. After finishing, and all was revealed, I went back to re-listen to some chapters, as I wanted to see what clues I might have missed. This is masterful storytelling!
The consistent voice of Ralph Cosham through all 10 books is just wonderful. He is the perfect narrator for this series.
Note to those who have not read any of this series--this book will not stand alone, It is the culmination of many previous books, and would probably not make much sense at all if you are not familiar with the characters. A fantastic series, it is well worth starting from the beginning and listening straight through to this one.
25 of 34 people found this review helpful
Louise Penny is my all time favorite author. Full stop. I absolutely love her novels. She is right above Anne Perry on the list of authors I ALWAYS read, meaning she is #1 on the list.
Her latest book, The Long Way Home, is absolutely her best ever. Just when I thought her writing couldn't get any better, it did. In fact, it didn't get marginally better; rather Penny has taken her writing to staggering new heights. If she ever needed a vehicle to establish herself as the top mystery writer in her genre, this book is it (although I'm sure she won that honor from her fans - like me - many books ago). But this book is Penny at her most creative, her most compelling, her most compassionate, her best storytelling.
There is something truly special about this story. It is complex, touching, engaging, sad and contains literally hundreds of beautiful phrases that I will always remember ("Fear comes from the head, courage from the heart. In between is the lump in the throat"). Her imagery, while always striking, is so rich and robust that the reader is right there, along with the most human of characters of any book I've ever read and a town that makes me want to pack up and move there if it really existed.
Many kudos to Mr. Cosham who transports readers with his magnificent voice to the place Penny intends us to go. His ability to bring her characters to life is nothing short of extraordinary.
If you are looking for a new author or have read Penny and could not wait for her latest book, you will be thrilled with The Long Way Home. This is a book that will stay with you for many years to come, maybe even a lifetime.
13 of 18 people found this review helpful
Even retired, Gamache can’t help but find a mystery with which to occupy himself. A search for a missing husband and many false turns later, there is a bittersweet ending to the tale. Louise Penny writes in such a way that you must pay attention or be forever lost. But, when you do pay attention, the golden nuggets found in each and every one of her characters provokes both thought and emotion. 4.5 stars.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful