Shakespeare's Christmas

(Lily Bard, #3)

Lily Bard heads home for the holidays.

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 fiance. With only three days before the wedding, Lily must work fast to clean up the messy case before her sister commits...marriage!

I enjoyed how the author took Lily out of the small town of Shakespeare and back to her small hometown, the root of her pain and issues, the family members she felt so awkward around. Of course there is a mystery thrown in when she arrives, to be solved amidst family dramas and wedding plans, Jack popping into town to stir up her loins, and Lily again getting uptight and moody if anyone tries to act normal around her.

The parents and sister don't stand out too much, but they were enjoyable written. The father wasn't in many scenes but turned out to be my favorite. Jack and Lily's relationship, again, not sure about the insta-magic when he appeared last time, see it's still going strong. I was intrigued by the cop and the back-story of how he reacted to Lily tugged on my heartstrings.

These books aren't known for their intense mysteries, but this one holds the more intriguing, complex, and twisted one of the series. Involves kidnapping, child baby switching, potential murders that may have happened offpage a long time ago, and a gross, perverted revelation at the end. Dark stuff but a happy ending after all. This is likely the best mystery of the Lily Bard series, where Lily actually has to snoop a bit on purpose. She doesn't come to by a Hercule Poirot or anything, but it's an interesting story nonetheless.

This one was a better one as, besides the story being rich, the background with her adjusting to her family and hometown made it more lively. Her raised eyebrow at her sister about strength was a little annoying though. Lily has become a bit snobby with some of her preconceptions of others, although she does come to admire some strengths with her sister.

The ending felt too abrupt to me, and I don't get how she couldn't look back at all when she eagerly left her family and hometown. They seem to be sweet people. Overall a good installment of the Lily Bard series, maybe the best yet.