Today I bring you the last two books in CHARLAINE HARRIS's Lily Bard series which though each is a self-contained mystery and therefore readable in there own right I recommend you read them in order if you are going to read the full collection which comprises SHAKESPEARE'S LANDLORD, SHAKESPEARE'S CHAMPION, SHAKESPEARE'S CHRISTMAS followed by these last two.
BOOK #4: SHAKESPEARE'S TROLLOP.
Shakespeare, Arkansas is home to endless back roads, historic buildings, colourful residents - and the occasional murder. It is also home to Lily Bard, the local karate expert and cleaning lady, who's got a particular knack for finding skeletons in closets.
But when Deedra Dean - a local woman of ill repute - is found murdered, her lifestyle leaves more than a few suspects. And being familiar with Deedra's dirty laundry could make Lily the next Shakespeare resident to die ....
..... Outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): By the time I opened my eyes and yawned that morning, she had been sitting in the car in the woods for seven hours.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 38): "They's always going to be bad girls," he said, almost genially, "Else, how's the good girls going to know they're good?"
MY THOUGHTS: After the fairly readable Shakespeare's Christmas in which we seemed to have finally gotten away from all the monotonous details of Lily's life as a cleaner/at the gym Shakespeare's Trollop brings us back full-circle.
Perhaps my least favourite of all the books, it wasn't so much the awful title or that the who-dun-it (and why) side of the book was any worse/better than the rest of the series as that some of the views of the characters (and at times Lily herself) came across as so judgemental as to be offensive. Arguably good story telling but I personally found it too much.
BOOK #5: SHAKESPEARE'S COUNSELOR
Cleaning lady and karate expert Lily Bard is a woman with a complicated pas. Doing her best to cope with her terrifying memories, she decides to join a therapy group in her adopted hometown of Shakespeare, Arkansas. As it turns out, the group members' feelings aren't the only thing that need sorting out, as they assemble for a session only to find a woman dead, left on display as some kind of twisted message.
Lily soon finds herself embroiled in the murder and its aftermath. Some of her own terrible secrets have been dredged up, and she may not be able to rest until she can untangle the 'who' and 'why' of this shocking crime. But can she do so before the killer strikes again - and before her own nightmares send her over the edge?
.... Outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): I connected with a hard blow to the nose, rolled on top of him, gripped his neck, and started to squeeze.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 153): "He stays on his property. He doesn't trespass. He's just .... observing Tamsin's life. From a safe distance."
MY THOUGHTS: A great ending to the series, I think it wise of the author to end it now before it all becomes too formulaic, the plots and characters totally predictable.
Probably the most far-fetched of all the books and yet despite this it was my favourite.
Not perfect by any means, largely unfeasible, at times lacking focus and with an ending that left me feeling a tad confused, but finally I got to know a slightly more mellow, less robotic Lily.
Also ten out of ten to Charlaine Harris who, through Lily's therapy group sessions, explored some of the issues surrounding violence towards women. Not always comfortable reading but certainly thought provoking, I thought it brave of her to address these in a novel.
KEEP THEM OR NOT?: Sadly not keepers, bought as a job-lot as it were, if I had bought these as individual books I would probably not have read beyond book 1, book 2, at a push.
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