Laura's Reviews > Haunted Lily: The Nightmare Ball

Haunted Lily by Sidney Fox
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Jan 14, 10

it was ok
bookshelves: fantasy, ghost, horror
Read in January, 2010

"...an apt analogy for the relationship between writers and editors.... writers are to editors as Scarlett O’Hara is to Rhett Butler–the former, passionate to the point of temporary blindness; the latter, surefooted and collected, all the while attempting pragmatism, though it must be passion, in the end, that drives them in the same direction."
-In Defense of Editors, Deena Drewis, The Millions

In a world where original ghost stories sometimes seem to be in short supply, Haunted Lily demonstrates both that Sidney Fox doesn't lack original ideas and that she can take a few of ghost fiction's more well-used ideas in new directions. The overall plot is pretty basic: Darby McGregor, an Englishman confronted by a supernatural presence in his home, joins Lily Dufrene, medium, ghost-buster and survivor of child abuse, as she tours the American South investigating and attempting to exorcise local ghosts. However, with locations varying from a carnival to a frat house, Sidney Fox uses this framework to tell several mini-ghost stories which are the most interesting parts of the book.

That's the "upside" of Haunted Lily, and it's quite an impressive one. Unfortunately, the presence of an "upside" indicates a "downside" as well. In this case, the downside is summed up by Fox's choice to self-publish her book via iUniverse.com. (Note: I know nothing about iUniverse and am not attempting to critique their service. ) A more traditional editing process might have minimized or eliminated the numerous grammatical and factual errors that distract from the story. It's also possible that a professional editor could have helped Fox to streamline parts of her story and reduce the number of times she repeats information to the reader, often in the same paragraph and once even in the same sentence. In short, Haunted Lily is a diamond in the rough and it takes a lot of patience on the part of the reader to see through the rough surface to the possibilities underneath. I hope that Sidney Fox continues to write but considers using a professional proofreader and editor for her next books.
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