Cleaning woman and karate expert Lily Bard is a woman with a complicated past. Trying her best to cope with her terrifying memories and horrible nightmares, she decides to join a weekly group therapy session in her hometown of Shakespeare, Arkansas.
At first, Lily can hardly believe the number of her fellow Shakespeareans who share her life experiences. As it turns out, the group members' feelings aren't the only things that need sorting out - they assemble for a session and find a woman dead, killed in bone-chilling fashion and deliberately left on display to send a twisted message. Who would commit such a horrendous crime, and who is the intended recipient of the message?
Investigate more mysterious doings with Lily Bard.
©2001 Charlaine Harris; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC
"Infectious prose, engaging characters, crafty plotting." (Library Journal)
If you read Lily Bard, start at the beginning with Shakespeare's Landlord. This is book 5, the end of the series, and I really hate to see it end. Lily is an unusual woman and reading about her life in Shakespeare is well worth the credit. Lily is intelligent and self-sufficient (that black belt helps). This book did not disappoint, and the counselor and her husband-humm-- I don't know...(no spoilers coming atcha). Very entertaining, from beginning to end. The narrator is also excellent, and listening to her voice reading the story was a combination to engage and delight.
Likes: Cozy mysteries, esp w/cats, books on workings of the brain/autism, not-too-dark fantasy. Dislikes: Animal cruelty, torture scenes.
I have to say that out of the series this is the worst mystery, requiring the most suspension of disbelief and highest tolerance for weird behavior. It is also uncharacteristically gruesome in parts. However, I am still glad I listened to it. It may be that the only real attraction people would have for this book is to watch Lily's personal growth. After Lily became the victim of a hideous violent crime years ago, she became a very different person. The Lily of book 1 doesn't get close to people. She goes about her life stressing routine, not interacting with people if she can help it, taking karate and walking at night when she still can't cope. She's a recluse with serious issues. The Lily of book 5 has done some therapy, is in a relationship, has developed friends etc. As she became a more normal person she would of course lose some of her uniqueness. I suppose Harris felt she had done what she could with the character and moved on to other things. However I was glad to have stuck with Lily throughout the series to see her to this end.
Wow this was a lot darker than expected. The culprits of the main mystery was really dark and twisted people. I was hooked by the red herring and did not see the ending until it was pretty obvious. I'm wondering if there is a short story or something out there that ties the period between this and when the couple shows up in the Southern Vampire series.
Again, a very easy listen and I thoroughly enjoyed it
Long term book junkie only recently addicted to audio books. Now my iPod and I are inseparable.
"Shakespeare's Counselor" is the final book in the Lily Bard series. I was surprised to find that I took great pleasure in this series. In some ways it is one long novel, charting Lily's journey from isolated, insomniac, night-walker, to a woman with a life that she has built through her strength, her integrity and finally by being courageous enough to allow herself to have something to lose.
The final book thankfully doesn't go down the path of unlikely happy endings. Bad things happen to Lily in this book and, at the end of it, she still has significant problems, but the book delivers credible growth for her and the people around her.
One of the ways this growth is achieved is that Lily enters therapy, with the Counselor of the title, to try to end the nightmares that rule her sleep. I was surprised at this. I'm not a fan of therapy. I'm with Willy Russel in changing Pschotherapist into Psycho The Rapist. I've never been convinced that the response to trauma should be a platitude-driven talking-tour of the route back to normalcy. I very much doubt that, after a significant trauma, normal is an option.
I was pleased to see that the therapy in the book worked less because of the skill of the counselor, than because the rape survivors in the group were willing to extend their trust and support to each other. There are some hard-to-take tales in therapy sessions. Sadly, none of them are difficult to believe. I was impressed that, even in therapy, Lily did not change her view that people are not naturally good and safety can only be obtained through vigilance and strength. Her counselor found the view bleak and wondered how Lily could live with it. I see it as a reasonable, fact-based conclusion, that provides a foundation for good choices.
The plot of "Shakespeare's Counselor" is a little complex, requiring some suspension of disbelief as the bad guys are not exactly run of the mill. The action is occasionally violent and brutal. The events in Lily's personal life add grief to an already tough situation and challenge Lily's definition of herself and her future.
By the end of the series, Lily has moved from loner cleaner, to an apprentice private detective with a husband and friends in a community that she now feels part of. Yet this is not a "Hallmark" sugar-sweet transformation. This book, even more than the rest of the series, is raised above the mundane by the authenticity of Lily's rage against what was done to her and the strength of her commitment to live her life to her own standards. It's a fine close to a series that I am sure I will read again.
I listened to the audiobook version of this series, performed by Julai Gibson. She did a wonderful job, not just in being "the voice of Lily Bard" but also in creating and sustaining voices for the other characters. She was the perfect choice for these books.
I have found this entire series very entertaining. I started with Book 1 and am just listening to Shakespeare's Counselor. The story lines have been believable and original, I like the main character Lily Bard and find her journey and development interesting.
I have enjoyed Julia Gibson's narration throughout. She manages to portray both female and male characters believably without over-acting or being distracting to the story line.
My pic says it all. That's my dog and he is really barking for me to throw another snowball. Scary looks but really just a playful guy by nature. Been reading sf/fantasy like a power nerd my whole life which is almost 50 years now. I like all sorts of stuff just make the story believable...
I have read all the Lily Bard series up to this and will go no farther. Lily is a cold, self centered, man hating, judgmental shrew. There I no getting around it.
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