Looking Glass Lies by Varina Denman
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Waterfall Press
Genre: Fiction / Contemporary / Women’s Fiction
I think it’s safe to say that all of us as women struggle with self-image and seeing ourselves as beautiful. Before you read anything else to do with this post, I want to encourage you to watch the trailer. This features a beautiful poem told through Shanty, one of the characters in the novel, written by Varina Denman. It also is powerful and gives depth to what the book is about.
About the Book:
(taken from the back cover)
A poignant and relatable novel, Looking Glass Lies captures the war women wage against themselves, and the struggle to see beauty reflected in a mirror not distorted by society’s unrelenting expectations.
For most of her adult life, Cecily Ross has compared herself to other women—and come up short. After a painful divorce from her emotionally abusive husband, Cecily returns to her hometown of Canyon, Texas, looking to heal.
But coming home isn’t what she expects. In a town as small as Canyon, her pain is difficult to escape—especially with her model-perfect ex–sister-in-law working at the town’s popular coffee-shop hangout. With help from her father, a support group, and an old friend who guides her to see her own strengths, Cecily may have a shot at overcoming her insecurities and learning to love again.
The true test comes when tragedy strikes, opening Cecily’s eyes to the harmfulness of her distorted views on beauty—and giving her the perfect opportunity to find peace at last.
Before I share my thoughts, I need to mention some trigger warnings. This is not a feel good or light read. If you’re looking for that kind of read, then I suggest you look elsewhere. However, self-image and body-shaming is something every woman struggles with and therefore, I think this is a must read. Cecily Ross is the main character who has a ton going on which only worsen her view of her self-image. She is so far gone in her problems and negative thinking that she often thinks about hurting herself physically. Cutting, depression, grief, suicide, pornography addiction, cheating, and divorce all appear in the novel. Do keep in mind that not all of these pertain to our main character, but some of the other characters in the novel. We’re dealing with some heavy stuff that I’m glad Varina Denman has decided to cover. We need to raise more awareness in this area. If you’re looking for a novel that deals with real issues, broken people trying to put the puzzle pieces back together, and a sense of hope, then you’ll want to pick this novel up.
Cecily has come a long way. I love when authors give us a character who has major struggles and learns to become victorious. I also loved that Mrs. Denman doesn’t automatically make her life go back to being perfect. Body-shaming will be something that she will struggle with for the rest of her life, but she finds hope and becomes a healthier person through it. Shanty and Nina were awesome side characters as well. I don’t want to give too much about the story away so I’ll just it leave it at that.
Then there’s Graham, the small town’s counselor. His character was one of my favorites. I studied counseling in college so this is always something I find fascinating. I loved that he was the kind of person who would take the time out of his personal schedule to sit down and listen to someone vent, offer the resources and advice that he can, and help them become victorious over their battles.
I loved traveling to small town Canyon, Texas. The descriptions made me feel as if I were there sight-seeing with the characters. I could smell, taste, feel the canyon rock and the natural breeze of the air. Oh and you can’t forget about the super cute romance.
Varina Denman did a beautiful job with this novel. She made it real, raw, and emotional. If you want to be challenged and not read another novel that doesn’t encourage you to reach for victory in your own lives, then this is for you.
The only thing that I would have liked to see more of is the faith element. Mrs. Denman shares a scripture or two and sometimes mentions God, but there was very little of that in the novel.
Overall, I highly recommend this novel to women everywhere and all ages. This would be the perfect book club pick as there are so many things you can discuss. Perhaps even support groups and counselors can use this with their clients.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
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About Varina Denman
VARINA DENMAN is the author of the Mended Hearts series and is a native Texan. She spent her high school years in a rural town and now writes stories about the struggles women face in similiar small-town settings. She and her husband live near Fort Worth, where they enjoy spending time with their five mostly grown children.