I love this book! And this series! Every time I start to read a new Louise Penny novel I feet the warmth of coming home, of settling in, and covering up in a favorite quilt. Penny's fabulous story-telling, complex characters, excellent mysteries makes that happen for me. I know that I'm in for another wonderful adventure with dear, old friends.
Louise is better at character development than any author I have read. Each person is real, with flaws and strenghts. And I love each of them like family. Whoa! There was a character or two in this book that I didn't love, or even like, but they taught me well the dangers of taking the road to power and manipulation. Louise introduces us to four new young characters in this book that I hope we will meet again.
A Great Reckoning is probably the most suspenseful of the series. I caught myself holding my breath several times through the last half of the book, hoping one of my favorite characters was not the murderer. There was an underlying theme of maps and the roads people choose to take in life. I feared one of my favorite characters may have made some decisions that, as the results started lining up, would have led down the wrong path.
All of Penny's books are mysteries but they are also excellent literary fiction. As I mentioned above one theme in this book is diverging roads. Every book has a theme and she introduced this one with a map discovered behind an old wall and then she skillfully and subtly slants the light to show different views of that thems. All of this is done with her careful and masterful use of language. I am always delighted and often surprised with how gifted she is with the use of language.