Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Review: Girl Before Mirror by Liza Palmer

In Girl Before Mirror by Liza Palmer, Anna Wyatt is fighting to make her mark in the world of advertising. Relegated to smaller accounts with a target audience of women only, Anna is frustrated as she bumps up against the glass ceiling. She is also facing challenges in her personal life - at forty with a failed marriage behind her, Anna has been on a "time out" from romance and dating but she is starting to realize that, as with her professional life, she is going to have to go after what she wants to get a different outcome. When she is introduced to a self-help book, "Be The Heroine, Find Your Hero", it plays a role in bringing her professional success -but not in the way you expect. As she buys into the Be The Heroine philosophy, she realizes it translates into her own personal life and she begins to combat her long held beliefs about her worth and whether she can risk much to win in love. 

Anna Wyatt grew up with a demanding father and a mother who virtually ignored her children. Anna took care of her younger brother, Ferdie, and tried to provide him with the love she never received from her parents. This upbringing left her with some well-established guards which limit her in her relationships. Following her divorce from a husband to whom she never opened up, Anna has placed herself on a dating sabbatical and essentially opted out altogether. When she looks around the table at her birthday dinner, however, she realizes she wants more than she is getting out of this opt-out approach and the germ of change is planted.

Professionally, Anna is also frustrated by being limited in the ad agency to only small accounts with products focused on women. She sets her sights on Quincy Pharmaceuticals and sees an in road via a neglected body wash that has not been actively promoted by the company. She drafts a proposal that ties into the "Be The Heroine, Find Your Hero" theme and gets an audience with the team that manages the product at Quincy. Her proposal resonates and Anna finds herself at the Romance Writers Conference working the connections with her proposed ad campaign. By focusing on a theme that resonated with her and articulated what many women feel, Anna has landed on professional success.  She also finds a love interest at the conference in Lincoln Mallory, a Brit visiting the hotel for business. Lincoln challenges all of Anna's well-established guards and she struggles to take the chance that she knows will bring her success in her personal life.

My Thoughts
I am a fan of Liza Palmer's books - Conversations with the Fat Girl and Seeing Me Naked are two of my favorites. I remember underlining passages in both books because I felt they perfectly expressed my own thoughts and reflections.  I found myself doing the same with this book - Anna's struggles with self-confidence and living safely rather than pursuing what she really wants are so well captured by the author and I suspect will resonate for many women. There were times, however, that I felt this book covered too much ground - there was the story line about Anna's campaign for Quincy, story line about her relationship with Lincoln and then the story line about Ferdie. Each was rich but I felt the book could have been better with a focus on only two out of the three. This was not my favorite book by the author but does have her dialogue laced with humor and wry observations.


  1. Good point about covering too much. I liked the Ferdie storyline but thought it could have been its own book. Still, I enjoyed the novel and look forward to reading more by Palmer.

  2. It sounds like it's worth reading even if it does have a lot going on.

  3. I keep seeing this cover and thinking it might be something I like.

  4. This sounds like a character many women can relate to.

  5. How ironic that a novel about a woman who is frustrated about being marginalized by gender would get such a pink cover! At least there is a stack of books. I always enjoy your analytical reviews.

  6. Still, might be a fun one for me -- we shall see.

  7. Faith, hope, and love -
    the greatest of these is love:
    jump into faith...
    you'll see with love.
    God bless you.