Book discussion here
The title of the novel is what caught my eye so I picked it up the other day at the library. I thought the bright colorful glossy illustrations were a plus but after reading this novel, there wasn’t anything special about this graphic novel that pulled me in. I was hoping for something different. I felt like everything was revealed in the end and there was no suspense, no mystery to carry me through the novel. It felt like one of those novels where this happened, then this happened and then this happened and then this all because of this (big reveal). Couldn’t the author give us readers a bit of the big reveal in the writing, I really needed something to drag me through this novel.
The novel began with a girl, bloody and bruised, inside a cemetery. Who she is and how she got there is a mystery. She decides to stay inside there since that is where someone put her and she’s afraid of what lies outside the cemetery walls. She takes the names of the dead as her own, finding names from the burial sites surrounding her, as her own name is lost to her. Celexa feels safe inside her new fortress yet she realizes that the spirits of the dead can see her as she makes her way around the graveyard. Celexa finds food from various individuals nearby and she ponders what her next steps will be. Graveyards are an attraction for individuals and this one is no acceptation. One evening, Celexa comes upon a group of teens out for a night of fun and she watches them from a distance. Their fun turns deadly and Celexa cannot believe what she is seeing. Memories flood her mind, but there is something off about these memories.
I really enjoyed the facial images in the illustrations. I liked the bright illustrations that were set against the black outline of this novel, as I thought they added to the peculiar setting of this novel. My final thoughts, as she is living in the graveyard what is she really doing every day? As she is looking for food every day, who allows someone to break into their house, eat their food and is not all concerned about who it is? I just couldn’t grasp this. I’m not sure if I will continue to read this series or not, I am wondering if it will be same concept as this first novel.
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!
In this installment, we change small towns and therefore a lot of the people that Lily Bard is interacting with and it’s a good change. She returns to her home-town and her family’s home for her sister’s wedding right before Christmas. After her traumatic rape & mutilation, Lily fled the town, her family and her friends, to start a new life in Shakespeare, Arkansas. Although she doesn’t regret the change of scene, in this book she learns that she maybe left too soon, not giving anyone (including herself) time to get used to her new normal.
Like many people, Lily is reluctant to return home to face the family. She is not comfortable in her own skin yet, although she’s getting there, and doesn’t have the social skills to deal with those close to her effectively. A very typical introvert, she finds that it doesn’t have to be quite as difficult as she envisioned it—her family will meet her half-way if she makes an effort.
One thing that did improve this book was that Lily was out of her regular routine—so although she takes on some cleaning tasks (as part of her “investigation” of what’s going on in her home-town), the reader isn’t subjected to as many detailed scenes of her cleaning routine. Also, she is away from her gym, so ditto with the karate/strength training that permeates the first two books.
I think this could be a good series for people who care too much about the opinions of others, particularly those not close to them. Lily seems to be far too worried about what the community thinks of her and not worried enough about what she thinks of herself. Lily, if they aren’t paying your bills, their opinions don’t matter!
There's something rotten in Shakespeare... — Lily Bard was running from shattering memories when she moved to Shakespeare, Arkansas. Now cleaning houses pays her bills. Working out helps her heal. Still protecting her scars, she hides a hard body and impressive skill at martial arts under baggy sweats. And nobody knows how strong she is until racial violence has her looking behind closed doors for a killer -- doors to which a housecleaner might have the key.
When Lily uses her training in goju to help a black man jumped by white teens, she does it for justice...only to hear he's been abducted and beaten to death a few weeks later. Then a bodybuilder is killed at her gym. Both incidents jar Lily's need for security and refuge. Looking into closets, sweeping under rugs, she soon uncovers enough dirt to confirm that something sinister is growing in her adopted town. Getting involved could endanger her life. But Lily is seeing a new man and dreaming new dreams. And no one can make this strong woman run again.
| I would rate this book just a touch below the first book, maybe 3.5 stars, perhaps because I am now familiar with the setting and with Lily. I still like Lily a lot and she continues to surprise me. Harris introduced a love triangle at the end of the first book and I was anxious to get reading to see where it went. Boom!
Lily dumps them both! Gotta like a girl who’s decisive like that. Plus, she’s no dog-in-the-manger. She is quite happy to see her exes move along with other women—quite different from Sookie Stackhouse, Harris’ other small town gal, who always seemed to resent any women that “her” men took up with after their break-ups.(spoiler show)
It’s a treat to read about a woman who can protect herself and develop her strength to overcome past trauma. However, I’m a bit disturbed by her current love-interest, who also has a traumatic past, knows Lily’s situation, and seems drawn to her because of it. I will be interested to see if he lasts in the relationship for more than one book. I’m also hoping that Lily can come out of her hard, protective shell a bit more. At least in this book, she is starting to allow people into her life gradually, even if she has mixed feelings about it. There is true potential for this series to pass the Bechdel test.
On the other hand, after protecting her personal secrets in book one, all of a sudden it seems that everyone and their pet cat knows about Lily’s past in this book. Which is an uncomfortable situation if you’re still sensitive about the details (it seems Lily is, though it was no fault of her own) and you live in a very small community. Lily has been a discreet cleaning lady ever since she came to Shakespeare, but suddenly people are questioning whether they want someone “like her” to clean for them. Another way of blaming the victim, something we can read about in the current media.
An enjoyable sequel and I shall look forward to the next installment when I have the time to read it.