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Shakespeare's Counselor (Lily Bard Mysteries, Book 5) Hardcover – November 6, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Harris's fifth Lily Bard mystery set in the small Arkansas town of Shakespeare (Shakespeare's Trollop, etc.) is good enough in part to make one wish it was better as a whole. Its mainstream novelistic promise is left unfulfilled in its adherence to genre conventions. The victim of horrendous violence and plagued by nightmares, anger and self-loathing, Lily joins a local support group headed by Tamsin Lynd, a professional counselor. Tamsin herself has a major problem. She and her husband moved from Cleveland to Shakespeare after being terrorized by a stalker who remains at large. To their horror, the stalker appears to have followed them. First they find a squirrel hung from a tree in their backyard, then the corpse of one of the group in Tamsin's office. Lily, now a professional detective working for her friend/mentor/lover, Jack Leeds, wants to help. It seems two other people connected to the original investigation have followed Tamsin to Shakespeare: one is a woman cop obsessed with catching the stalker, the other a crime writer hoping to find the stuff of a bestseller. In the end, the author delivers a solution too bizarre to be credible. The book's most serious problem, however, is its lack of focus. It would like to be a story about women's pain the trauma of rape and the terror of being stalked but in fulfilling its obligations to the detective story it loses purpose and direction, as well as most of its suspense. (Nov. 12)series.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Lily Bard has married private investigator Jack Leeds, although she hasn't told many people yet. In tiny Shakespeare, Arkansas, another dreamtime episode finally brings Lily to understand she needs help, and she finds it in a local therapy group of women who have been raped. Lily's own story is horrific, and this series is as much about Lily's re-finding her own self as it is about solving crimes. The leader of the therapy group is a woman named Tamsin, who is being stalked in spectacular ways. When those ways include a grisly murder in Tamsin's own office, Lily wants to know why. She's mostly given up her cleaning service to apprentice to Jack, and she is still obsessive about her own physical training. This dark-edged series finds surcease from a great deal of bloodshed in Lily's growing awareness of the power of her and Jack's attachment, even through a miscarriage and a vicious attack by one of Jack's ex-wives. GraceAnne DeCandido
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
She joins a local support group for rape survivors and finally, willingly, begins to discuss what happened to her over 4 years ago. When a member of that group is murdered, Lily once again finds herself in the midst of an investigation to try to figure out whodunit.
This book will show a lot of changes happening in Lily's life and those around her since the last book. There are some very real and painful moments in this story, things that quite simply made me hold my breath or ripped at my heart. Intertwined with the mystery are glimpses into the very personal lives of the women in the support group, and Lily in particular. It's a heartbreaking, heartwarming, and suspenseful story that's always engaging and impossible to set aside.
On Ms. Harris's website it's stated that Shakespeare's Counselor is the last book in the Bard series and although she'd like to write another one, IF that did happen it wouldn't be anytime soon. So I started this book knowing it was the last in the series and prepared to be thoroughly upset with Ms. Harris for not having another book ready for me to dive into; but the truth is I am happy with this ending. I love Lily and Jack and all the characters that make up the quirky little Shakespeare town and right now I am very pleased with where they all are in their lives.
I would love to come back to Shakespeare and be a back seat driver to another Lily adventure. But Ms. Harris ended this book in a way that has me completely content with everything, and for that I thank her. There is nothing worse then being left hanging in a series; thankfully, there is no noose here. The closure seems a natural progression for everyone in Shakespeare. If she were to revisit, it would be welcome, but if she doesn't get a chance to it won't be devastating to this reader. Besides, I can always visit Shakespeare by rereading, and that is something I intend to do.
Shakespeare's Counselor is a perfect ending to a perfect series.
Shakespeare's Landlord (Lily Bard Mysteries, Book 1)
Shakespeare's Champion (The Second Lily Bard Mystery)
Shakespeare's Christmas (Lily Bard Mysteries, Book 3)
Shakespeare's Trollop (The Fourth Lily Bard Mystery)
Cherise Everhard, March 2008
I thought the story was fairly bizarre, and was a bit disappointed in the series ending with a whimper rather than a bang, but I enjoyed the character of Lily just as much as ever. If you are reading the series, this is a decent conclusion. If you are new to the character, definitely start with the first book, Shakespeare's Landlord, which introduces this fascinating character.
However, the Lily Bard series, in my estimation is even better because Ms. Harris has no fantasy world of vampires and werewolves to rely on here - just the gritty South.
Lily is a heroine with a lot of flaws, but she gets through life through resolution and determination. She has a very realistic view of the people around her, and doesn't have many false expectations - especially for herself.
This book (the fifth, and so far the last) is one of the best in the series, because despite Lily's misgivings, she begins, finally, to be able to integrate into the community around her - while solving a knotty mystery. Lily's ability to make connections with other people, despite her misgivings, makes her an especially appealing character.
I strongly recommend that readers start with the first book and go through them in order, the experience is very rich and layered.