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Publisher's Summary

Lily Bard is going home for the holidays. More comfortable in baggy sweats than bridesmaid's frills, Lilly isn't thrilled about attending her estranged sister's wedding. She has moved to Shakespeare, Arkansas, to start a new life, cleaning houses for a living, trying to forget the violence that once nearly destroyed her. Now she's heading back to home and hearth - just in time for murder.
©1998 Charlaine Harris; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • Shelly
  • Mulliken, MI, United States
  • 10-03-10

Worth the read

I have read other Shakespeare books and this one is good also.. would recommend... Thanks Ms. Harris for another good mystery

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Beatrice
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 02-21-15

Another Great Book

This is a great addition to the series. As always, Lily prevails even through adversirty. In this case, the adversity comes from her family. I'm glad she returns to Shakespeare

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Lily goes home to an unlikely mystery

Any additional comments?

This book was somewhat of a departure for the series in that it actually was not set in Shakespeare but in Lily's home town where she has gone for her sister's wedding. In a coincidence to challenge the suspension of disbelief of most readers, Lily's PI boyfriend just happens to get involved in a missing person's case wherein the missing person (who was taken as an infant) is likely to be one of three girls in this small town, all of whom of course know Lily's sister. That's absurd, but I have to say I really enjoyed this plot. In this one, at least Lily is actually trying to solve the mystery, actively looking for clues amid the other goings on. The down side I guess to this one is that the sub-story of the stolen infant being recovered at the age of 8 was so interesting to me that it sort of overshadowed the rest of the book. However, I did enjoy the connection to Lily's life before her attack and her ongoing development and was very caught up in the mystery. Still loving the series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ellen
  • United States
  • 08-26-17

Love the story, gratuitous sex annoying.

I enjoy the plot lines and the narrator. I really don't need the throbbing erotica.

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Never disappointed

Great book. Great story. Charlaine Harris is amazing. Can't wait for the next book since they are so good.

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Another Adventure...

Would you listen to Shakespeare's Christmas again? Why?

I really like the believable characters that Charlaine Harris is creating in this series. I enjoy characters with real flaws and not so easy lives but in the end, a little goodness is always there to cling to for the next adventure. A fun read, excellent for my long drive to work and I found myself really involved in the plot more than once.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Shakespeare's Christmas?

The twist at the end and reason for what happens..its a killer :)

What about Julia Gibson’s performance did you like?

She isn't over the top with her character voices, she has a very even tone and brings them to life as if they could be real people you talk to every day.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

A few times I was amazed at how well the plot was developed. I didn't guess ahead like I usually can. There were details that were really hidden gems for the story line.

  • Overall
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  • Story

Not as good as other Lily Bard books.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Yes because it does advance the overall story of Lily Bard and the characters are strong. My issue was with the mystery and completely improbable coincidences that are used to set up the book.
Lily reluctantly returns home for her sister's wedding. By sheer coincidence Jack is working a missing person's case that has ties to Lily's hometown. Not only that, but the missing girl could be the daughter of Lily's soon to be brother in law. Did he kidnap an infant?
Too convenient and too easy to figure out.

Would you recommend Shakespeare's Christmas to your friends? Why or why not?

As a stand alone book? No
As a part of the Lily Bard series? Yes but only to understand the growth of Lily and her relationship with Jack.

Which character – as performed by Julia Gibson – was your favorite?

Lily. She has survived and is now coming back to life.

Did Shakespeare's Christmas inspire you to do anything?

No not really

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  • Story

Best and darkest book in the series so far

Don't be misled by the title, "Shakespeare's Christmas" is is not a "Christmas Special" where we get to see the people of the small town of Shakespeare acting as if they were in a remake of "It's A Wonderful Life". It is the darkest, and I think the best, book in the series so far. It's set before, not at Christmas and most of it takes place outside of Shakespeare.

The mystery in "Shakespeare's Christmas" is not a polite "whodunnit" murder under the mistletoe, but the death of a young mother, knifed and left to bleed out in the snow, and the search for a monster who preys on children while masquerading as a family friend. It has enough twist and turns to keep you guessing and enough evil to evoke rage in the reader.

As with the first two books, the thing I enjoyed most was the continuing development of Lily Bard. It's clear to me now that the five books in the series track Lily's evolution from someone who has isolated herself so that she can cope quietly with the task of staying alive from day-to-day, to someone who has taken the risk of creating a life that she values with people that she loves, even though she is always afraid of the vulnerability to loss and grief that this could produce.

In "Shakespeare's Christmas", Lily has reluctantly come back to her home town to attend her younger sister's wedding. She knows that she will have to put on her company manners for the wedding showers and rehearsal dinners but what worries her are not the formal niceties but the need to show herself to the family and friends that she walked away from, after her rape and mutilation, when she could no longer live with their pity or their pain.

There are no soft edges here, no Hallmark Moments, instead we get an honest exploration of how Lily copes with being back with people she loves but who she finds it hard to live with, not just because they grieve for who she was but because she no longer wants to be that person.

In her mind there is the old Lily from before the rape and the new Lily she is now: someone solitary, someone vigilant, someone strong enough to protect herself, someone who's old life has been stolen from her, someone who can no longer believe that other people are fundamentally good.

Lily struggles to connect her new self to her family and her friends. One of the things that helps her with this is her encounters with children. Lily believes that she does not understand children, yet the reader sees that her honesty, her directness and her strength mean that she succeeds in winning their trust and their admiration. Like at least some of the children around her, Lily believes in the monster beneath the bed; she believes that safety is an illusion; that vigilance and strength are necessary to survival and that men are willing to use violence to get what they want.

What Lily learns from the children is that she has not become a cold, distant monster; she has become a dragon-slayer.

As events unfold, Lily also learns that part of her strength now comes from being with Jack. Typically for Lily, while she knows this to be true and suspects it to be good, she worries that it will make her vulnerable.

There is evil in this book. An evil made worse because, as Lily and Jack try to search out its source, they find too many potential candidates too close to home. There is also love in this book. As Lily does what she needs to do to make those around her safe, she finally comes to understand that she can be the new Lily, strong, honest, and wary and still be loved as a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a one-time lover, and an old friend.

The book ends with Lily going back to Shakespeare for Christmas. It is her home now. It contains the things in her life that she most wants to celebrate.

After finishing the book, I decided that to read the rest of the series back to back. I'll keep you posted on my impressions.

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  • Wendy
  • Virginia Beach, VA, United States
  • 06-22-13

Disappointing

What would have made Shakespeare's Christmas better?

If the plot made sense. The plot and ending just really don't make sense and there were many inconsistencies throughout the book.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Julia Gibson?

Yes. Julia Gibson's inflection gets tiring. She sounds almost irritated and is sing songy.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

disappointment.

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  • Mirna
  • Woodburn, OR, United States
  • 01-12-12

Really good

Where does Shakespeare's Christmas rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Top 10

What did you like best about this story?

A totally new story, writter is so clever

Which character – as performed by Julia Gibson – was your favorite?

All of them are good, Julia is an excellent narrator

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

For sure and I did. I always want more

Any additional comments?

Love the series, Charlaine Harris is one of my favorites! The narrator is great!!!

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  • Loki
  • 03-21-10

I love this series

Lily was a cheerful, well educated women when she was abducted and brutally raped. She survived, and built a new life and a new personality, but her relationship to her family and the people of her home town was changed and strained.
Even though in this book she's recovered a lot and has a successful reltionship she's still super quick to pick up on people's hidden motives, and determined not to be a victim.

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