If your looking for Sookie leave this series alone
Lilly is a woman with a traumatized past who overcame much, and is just trying to learn to live with her demons. She is intelligent, and a fighter, no..Show More »t wanting to ever be at the mercy of any one again. I'm up to the 5th book in the series. Lilly Bard is a difficult character, and not a charming or sweet thing, she is tough and doesn't take things for granted. I thing Charlaine Harris is an amazing writer and can create interesting characters. I'm really enjoying this series, sorry it will end with book five, but who knows maybe Ms Harris will decide to continue. I like very much.
Good/Bad--depending on your taste in crime reading
In general, I have liked the two books about Lily Bard, a woman who is a survivor of heinous crimes in her past, who has moved to the little town of S..Show More »hakespeare to start her life over. Some of the same characters are here--the chief of police, the people from her gym, her lover. I rather enjoyed the first one. This, not so much--but it's not exactly because of the book (I don't think). It's because I personally prefer a series that has more cerebral interest than fast-paced action (here, often resulting in multiple injuries). I suspect many would enjoy this story more than I did.
I gave this book 4 stars instead of the 3 that would more accurately account for how I viewed it, to account for my own taste here. But another part of my frustration with it is that Lily keeps putting herself into such avoidable situations. I know that's what makes the story move, but then I just sit with disbelief that she, for example, could be seriously beaten up one day and show up to work as a cleaning woman the next! Most human bodies could not manage such a feat!
I really like Lily Bard, the character. She has a painful history and is showing courage in her attempts to restart her life. This particular book deals with people who are unable to accept that their southern town is integrated, and are secretly promoting pre-civil rights attitudes, and view the local African Americans as their enemy. It is sad to be reminded that such things do still happen, and I believe the author was trying to bring attention to a problem that still exists in our society.
But I just didn't enjoy this book as much as the first--and it was largely because I found it hard to suspend disbelief at some of the actions that took place. Too much of the story was filled with a long chain of various physical fights & encounters--that people couldn't realistically have recovered from fast enough to keep doing more of the same. If that's your cup of tea, you'll give this story 5 stars. Despite that this is not my reading taste exactly, I did find it hard to stop listening till the end. It is compelling in that way.
"Shakespeare's Champion" the second Lily Bard mystery, confirmed to me that I'm hooked on the series.
Unfortunately, the plot of this book wa..Show More »s give given away in Charlaine Harris' latest book, "Midnight Crossroad", so I already knew a lot of what would happen. That I still enjoyed the book is a tribute to how well written it is and how focused it is on the development of Lily Bard.
The "Champion" of the title is a body-builder who is murdered in the gym Lily uses. The plot focuses around the actions of a secretive white supremacist group that has sprung up in Shakespeare and the people who are trying to stop them.
Part of the strength of the book comes from the fact that Lily is cast neither as Civil Rights Activist nor as a vigilante but as a woman trying to get by without drawing attention to herself but unable to turn away when people are being hurt.
Lily sees herself as being able to do two things well: clean and fight. She sees a great deal of what is going on around her but does not comment on it. She is more likely to offer help or violence than words. She does what she thinks should be done and she refuses to back down from those who threaten her.
But Lily is not a hard-boiled action-hero. The book shows her compassion in helping the sick and comforting the dying, her empathy with those who have been hurt, and her reflex to intervene when violence is being done to those who can't defend themselves.
Lily doesn't set out, Miss Marple, style to investigate the white supremacist group but her job and her social contacts in Shakespeare mean she is in the wrong place at the wrong time often enough to be drawn into the action.
There are some powerful scenes in this book. For me, the most powerful describes Lily's involvement in a bombing and its aftermath. This is an up close and personal view of what this kind of violence does to those involved in it. It is beautifully and convincingly written.
The book confronts some difficult small town topics: racial tension; the reaction to a promiscuous white woman who has sex with, among others, a black man; Christian fundamentalist who believe that God speaks through them and that those who oppose them are not just wrong but evil; men who attack women; packs of men who commit violence; corrupt police officers who turn a blind eye or even lend a hand; the social mores that mean that none of this gets discussed in polite society. I don't think it sets out to be a politically correct, liberal book. These issues are filtered primarily by Lily's view of the world, not political dogma. Lily believes in evil, expects little of other people, hates bullies and bigots, sees promiscuity as an act of stupid carelessness because it makes the woman so vulnerable, and understands at a bone deep level, that victims are not responsible for the harm done to them.
In this book, Lily has started to understand that she is not strongly enough attracted to either of the men in the first book to be more than friends with them. That she wants to maintain that friendship and build others with some of the women around her, shows a desire to expand the narrow life she had been living. The arrival of stranger (yes, he is tall, dark and handsome) with a past as troubled and complex as her own, gives her someone new to value and changes her priorities in ways that drive the plot in interesting directions.
The only thing I would change in the book is the prologue. I often find these things irritating because they seem to imply that I will only read a book if I'm shown in the first few pages that something dramatic is going to happen real soon, honest. This particular prologue adds little to the book. The information it gives could have been presented with more skill and more context later. I'd have preferred to have done without it.
But that's a small niggle. I enjoyed the book a great deal. By the end of it, I liked Lily when previously I had only admired her. Her world and her relationships have become real to me and I want to know more.
There are three more novels in the series. I feel a Lily Bard fest coming on.
Yes I have listened to this more than once. The story line is interesting enough to keep your attention without too many twists to distract so it is ..Show More »an easy book to listen to while doing other tasks.
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 di..Show More »d 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