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"Few novels present Vietnam so thoroughly and completely with its aftershocks. A story of great courage and tremendous power."
- Robert Stone author of Dog Soldiers


"Skillfully weaving into her novel a story of romantic love and a suspenseful account of a mother’s effort to remain united with her child, Cheryl Drake makes a compelling memorable debut."
- Frederick Busch

Bushnell on Books.



" When U.S. Navy doctor Lily Townsend returned from the Vietnam War, she didn't realize she had brought the war home with her, along with the nightmares, the sweats and the ghosts of the dead.

Lily's Ghost is a powerful novel of hope and goodness, anger and despair, as a woman copes with the demons of war and the very real fear that she will lose the one thing she loves the most. Cheryl Drake Harris lives in Gardiner, and this is her first book.

In 1968 Lily was a military doctor struggling to save lives and keep her sanity during the bloody Tet Offensive. The horrible things she saw in the field hospital are burned into her memory, visions of death, suffering, and hopelessness that haunt her every moment.

Ten years later she lives in Maine, is married to a man she does not love, and has a 4-yearold son whom she adores. She no longer practices medicine, prefers darkness to light, and is spooked by loud noises. Other strange behaviors also adversely affect her marriage, but most folks seem tolerant of her eccentricities.

With vivid imagery and stark realism, Harris tells how Lily's marriage fails, and how her husband declares her an unfit mother in a bitter custody battle for their son. Her world falls apart, she loses her son, and is spiraling downward in desperation. Fortunately, Lily is stronger than she thinks, and aided by an unlikely friend who has unpleasant secrets of his own, she confronts her fears and begins to rebuild her life.

This is a riveting and dramatic story, filled with painful memories, gruesome images of war's human destruction, and the dramatic portrayal of a woman's deteriorating mental state and her inspirational recovery. "

Bill Bushnell lives and writes in Harpswell.

- Kennebec Journal, Sunday, February 4, 2007.



Lily's Ghost