Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday's Forgotten Books: SHAKESPEARE'S LANDLORD by Charlaine Harris

Friday's Forgotten Books is a weekly meme hosted by Patti Abbott at her blog, PATTINASE. Each week, participants in the meme pick a book they view as 'too good to be forgotten' and talk about it. That's it. Go here to see what other books are being talked about today.

Before there was the razzle-dazzle of the 'Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' there was Lily Bard. Or at least that's how I like to think of it. Charlaine Harris is now more into vampires and the undead then anything else (at least in her books), but once upon a time, she wrote a terrific series featuring Lily Bard, a young woman with a dark secret and an attitude. Lily is someone who has totally reinvented herself, a woman who has settled a score, but is having trouble dealing with the aftermath. To survive, she has turned her back on her previous life and moved on.

SHAKESPEARE'S LANDLORD is the first in the Lily Bard books of which there are only five so far and boy do I wish there were more. But this appears to be an unheralded sort of series kind of lost in the shuffle of the vicissitudes of publishing. Harris is more well known now for her Big Time vampire Sookie Stackhouse books - which, by the way, I am not fond of. (I'm in the minority I know.)

Lily Bard first comes to the small town of Shakespeare, Arkansas running from her past, looking for a fresh start. All she wants is to live under the radar, cleaning houses for a living, attending the gym - honing her body and her defensive skills, trying to mind her own business. But when her landlord is murdered and Lily comes under suspicion, she realizes she must look into the small town's secrets to solve the crime. Since she cleans houses, she has access to many of Shakespeare's homes as she quietly goes about her work. Despite her inclinations, reluctantly, she begins to get involved in life once again. While at the same time, a killer begins to focus his dark intentions on Lily.

SHAKESPEARE'S LANDLORD is centered mostly on Lily's secretive life and as you get to know her, you begin to root for her to find a way out of her self-imposed isolation. Lily is one tough cookie, but even she cannot do it all alone. These books have a 'noir' feel to them - a hard edge. Very different I think, from Charlaine Harris's other work. I like Lily, I like Shakespeare, Arkansas and I recommend the books.To see the other titles in the Shakespeare series, use this link.


  1. I concur, read one book in this series. It was fine.

    I also don't like vampire-themed books, so don't read them -- actually don't have a clue as to why some readers like them.

  2. I have one of these Lily Bard books (SHAKESPEARE'S COUNSELOR, the very last one) that I picked up at a library sale. I, like you Yvette, do NOT like the Sookie Stackhouse books at all. The mysteries are utterly lame and pretty transparent and the rest of it is basically a romance novel with monsters. To me they seem geared towards adolescents than adults. Try as I might I just plain don't understand the whole vampire as a love object thing at all. It's like eroticizing necrophilia. Just plain wrong. As for Lily Bard - as usual you have enticed me to tackle the book I have. That is, if I can find it again. There was a major boxing up of books last month. Things have "vanished".

  3. Kathy: Vampire love. UGH! I don't get it. The only vampire themed book I'm planning to read is the original DRACULA by Bram Stoker for my Victorian Reading Challenge. That's it. I am going to try and watch TWILIGHT just to see what all the hysteria is about. But I doubt I'll get past the first ten or fifteen minutes. But I admit it, I'm curious.

  4. John: You need to read the first book in the series. It's my favorite though I do recommend the others. I'm glad I've enticed you to read Lily Bard, at any rate. I always wondered why this series wasn't more popular. She's a terrific character.

    I don't get the whole vampire thing. I found whatshername's INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE excrutiatingly boring. I mean, really, vampires: it's all about the blood. What else can it be about? Yuck.

    But I'm going to try and watch TWILIGHT, as I told Kathy. Just to see what's what. I'm curious.

    I did try reading a Sookie Stackhouse (strange name) book, but no go. But I don't begrudge Harris her riches. :)

  5. Just bought this on the strength of your review. No desire to read Sookie and wasn't aware Harris had a non-vamp series.

  6. Don't forget to let me know how you like it, Picky Girl. I hope you do. :)

  7. I have seen young women in the library enthralled by the Twilight series. No daughters of friends are into these books.

    But, as I said, I don't understand the allure at all.

    I did see parody of this in a sketch with Billy Crystal and Helen Mirren -- vampires in a home for seniors. It was funny, although a bit over the top.

  8. Kathy: I saw that parody as well. Funny but, as you say, kind of over the top. I know it's fake blood, but it's pretty disgusting. Ha!


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