May 7, 2015

Girl Before a Mirror - Liza Palmer

Girl Before a Mirror book cover
Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Source/Format: Bought || Paperback

An account executive in a Mad Men world, Anna Wyatt is at a crossroads. Recently divorced, she’s done a lot of emotional housecleaning, including a self-imposed dating sabbatical. But now that she’s turned forty, she’s struggling to figure out what her life needs. Brainstorming to win over an important new client, she discovers a self-help book—Be the Heroine, Find Your Hero—that offers her unexpected insights and leads her to a most unlikely place: a romance writers’ conference. If she can sign the Romance Cover Model of the Year Pageant winner for her campaign—and meet the author who has inspired her to take control of her life—she’ll win the account. 

To have the life she wants-to be happy without guilt, to be accepted for herself, to love and to be loved, to just be—she has to put herself first, accept her imperfections, embrace her passions, and finally be the heroine of her own story.

With the sheer amount of novels I read in a year, it takes something really special to grab my attention. Girl Before a Mirror is the second book I’ve read by Liza Palmer, and I’ve got to tell you: it’s cemented my admiration for Liza and her words. It not only boasts one of the best stories I’ve read ever, but it also bears the distinction for being the first adult novel that really resonated with me on a personal level. I’m still drifting on my sea of awe at how deeply impacted I am by Anna’s story, really. Although I feel like anything I say will be inadequate, I owe it to this beautiful book to try and share my thoughts.

I could spend all day gushing about the amazing characters, particularly Anna, Sasha and Lincoln who simply pop off the pages as larger than life, real individuals. I could also spend some time talking about how fun it is to visit different locales, from brief stints in Washington DC and New York to a longer chunk of time at RomanceCon in Phoenix. And, of course, I can’t forget to mention that the plot itself – which is about a middle-aged woman who is still trying to find her footing in life, love and career – is engaging and relatable. But the truth is this: I simply want to talk to you about how it made me feel and reflect on my own experiences.

The best thing about Girl Before a Mirror is that it might actually be about Anna’s personal experiences, but it also reflects the experience of many women out there. Anna struggles to make a name for herself in a career she’s passionate about and at a company that doesn’t fully appreciate her. She’s recovering from a divorce and unsure about what prospects are in her future when it comes to love. She’s still learning to embrace all the things that are a part of who she is, whether it is something she struggles with or something she enjoys or something that instantly identifies her as feminine. All these things are things that real women, myself included, are likely to go through in some form or fashion, and Palmer just nails her attempt to capture the feelings and foibles and fun that come with these moments.

While reading Girl Before a Mirror, the entire reading experience felt very interactive. Because I could see bits and pieces of my own life & feelings portrayed in Anna’s story, I was so constantly emotionally affected by what she went through – both in happy and sad ways. Because of what Anna went through, I found myself thinking about my own life. I reflected on where I’ve been, where I am and where I’m going; I thought about who I used to be, who I am and who I want to be. It was an easy step from Anna’s story to my own in my mind, and I really love that Girl Before a Mirror challenged me to take a moment to reflect.

And the last thing I want to say about Girl Before a Mirror is this: I love how the main theme that runs throughout it all is to “just be”. This definitely alludes to giving ourselves time to reflect, as I mentioned in the paragraph before this one. But it’s also an encouragement, a shout of support, a rally cry for us to embrace ourselves just as we are, scars, emotions, likes, dislikes and all. It is certainly one of those things that I hope everyone – female or male – learns during the course of their lifetime, and I definitely want to celebrate how it was emphasized for me in this book.

Girl Before a Mirror is an amazing story, one that shaped, challenged and inspired my perspective on my own life. I’d certainly give it the highest of recommendations, with the hope in my heart that those who read it one day will encounter the same emotional connection. Buy it, read it, love it.


  1. I really enjoyed this one too. I loved how Palmer took the concept of romance novels, which we tend to think of as flighty and asked some really important questions about how we live as women.

  2. Such a spectacular book. I adore all of hers.

  3. Just added this to my TBR! Great review :)

  4. JUST BE! Really loved this book, I felt like it was the kind of book that every woman should read. I've loved Liza Palmer's books since I was introduced to her writing with Seeing Me Naked.


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