Series Highlight - The Lily Bard Mysteries

The Books

Title: Shakespeare's Landlord
Book #: 1
Author: Charlaine Harris
Release Date: November 1st 2005 (First  published in July 1st 1996)
Pages: 216
Publisher: Berkley

My Rating:

Disguising herself with short hair and baggy clothes, Lily Bard has started a new life; she's becoming a cleaning lady in the sleepy town of Shakespeare, where she can sweep away the secrets of her dark and violent past.

 However her plan to live a quiet, unobserved life begins to crumble when she discovers the dead body of her nosy landlord.

Lily doesn't care who did it, but when the suspicion of the police and local community falls on her she realises if she doesn't unmask the murderer, her life might not just crumble; it might also end.

Title: Shakespeare's Champion
Book #: 2
Author: Charlaine Harris
Release Date: December 5th 2006 (First  published in December 1st 1997)
Pages: 214
Publisher: Berkley

My Rating:

Lily Bard has started over in the quiet town of Shakespeare, Arkansas, as a cleaning lady. One who works out her anger and the pain of her past in a martial arts class.

For Lily, the gym is a place to get away from her troubles, not find more of them. But when she stumbles on the corpse of a local bodybuilder, his neck broken with a barbell, the town's underlying racial tensions begin to boil over.

The white victim was connected to two unsolved murders of black residents in Shakespeare, and a dogged policeman is determined to stop the killing. Lily may have to decide whether to stay and fight for justice, or run away one more time.

Title: Shakespeare's Christmas
Book #: 3
Author: Charlaine Harris
Release Date: November 4th 2008 (First  published in 1998)
Pages: 224
Publisher: Berkley

My Rating:

Even in a sleepy Arkansas town, the holidays can be murder. Lily Bard is going home for the holidays. More comfortable in baggy sweats than bridesmaid's frills, Lily 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. The town's doctor and nurse have been bludgeoned to death at the office. And Lily's detective boyfriend suddenly shows up at her parents' door.

Jack Leeds is investigating an eight-year-old kidnapping and the trail leads straight to Lily's hometown. It just might have something to do with the murders...and her sister's widowed fiancé. With only three days before the wedding, Lily must work fast to clean up the messy case before her sister commits...marriage!

Title: Shakespeare's Trollop
Book #: 4
Author: Charlaine Harris
Release Date: May 4th 2004 (First  published in August 14th 2000)
Pages: 194
Publisher: Berkley

My Rating:

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/cleaning woman with a particular knack for finding skeletons in closets.

But when Deedra Dean - the local woman of ill repute - is found murdered, her promiscuous lifestyle leaves more than a few suspects. And being familiar with Deedra's dirty laundry could make Lily the next Shakespearean to die...

Title: Shakespeare's Counselor
Book #: 5
Author: Charlaine Harris
Release Date: February 1st 2005 (First  published in November 6th 2001)
Pages: 232
Publisher: Berkley

My Rating:

Cleaning lady and karate expert Lily Bard is a woman with a complicated past. 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 things 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 the '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?

The Author

Photo by Sigrid Estrada 2010

Charlaine is best know for her 'Sookie Stackhouse' books, also known as 'True Blood', but there's more to her than just vampires.

Born and raised in Mississipi River Delta, Harris attended Rhodes College in Tennessee.

After writing plays, Harris decided to write novels, and came up with the 'Aurora Teagarden Series' which gave her a nomination for Best Novel in the Agatha Awards. In 1996 she came up with 'The Lily Bard Mysteries' and after that, in 2001 she created Sookie Stackhouse, which has been proved to be a major success. Still in 2005, Harris created yet another heroin, named Harper Connelly who has the ability to determine the cause of death of any body.

Charlaine Harris is married and the mother of three, and she also rescues dogs.

My Thoughts

I don't even know where to begin with this... I absolutely loved this series and I was, and still am, incredibly sad that there's no more books for me to read.

I bought these books without really knowing what they were about - that's what happens when you find cheap books by authors you know - and I was pleasantly surprised once I got to read them.

Lily Bard is one of the toughest women you will ever meet. She went through some incredibly hard situation, a situation that all women wish they never have to go through, and instead of giving up or feeling sorry for herself, she decided to turn her life around and start over. And how did she do that, you may ask? She cut  and dyed her hair, moved to a town where no one knew her and started going to the gym and learning Karate so she could defend herself and depend on no one.

I became so attached to Lily that I started talking about her to my friends and family like she was real. I wish I had a friend like her so I could feed on her positive and strong energy.

Also, another reason that made me become so attached to Lily, was the fact that I was going through a phase on which I was trying to get healthy (mission accomplished) and I was exercising quite a lot, and since Lily frequented the gym, I sort of created a special bond with her.

It was fascinating to experience Lily's growth through out the books, how she learned how to trust and how to love. Going through what she had to experience did damage a bit of her social skills, but through out this series, she learnt how to deal with them and let people get close.

If you like reading books where the main character is one tough cookie and a female, then read this series... You won't be disappointed.

Fingers crossed that Charlaine Harris decides to write another book on this series.

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