Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Liza Palmer - Girl Before a Mirror

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.
For Anna, taking control means taking chances, including getting to know Sasha, her pretty young colleague on the project, and indulging in a steamy elevator ride with Lincoln Mallory, a dashing financial consultant she meets in the hotel. When the conference ends, Anna and Lincoln must decide if their intense connection is strong enough to survive outside the romantic fantasy they’ve created. Yet Lincoln is only one of Anna’s dilemmas. Now that her campaign is off the ground, others in the office want to steal her success, and her alcoholic brother, Ferdie, is spiraling out of control.
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.

Comment: This is the second book by the author I try, one I was more curious about than the first one I actually read. However, I suppose I must say this author just doesn't hit my buttons because I also found this one to be rather average.

In this book we follow Anna Wyatt, she works for an ad agency and feels her work is always taken for secondary when compared with the clients given to her male co workers. Things change when she decides to be impulsive and contact the responsible for a shower gel which isn't doing too well but which she believes she could help improve. In order to do so, she sees herself enjoying a successful new book about woman's empowerment and at a romance writers' conference, she hopes to align up things so her campaign will be impossible to resist. Along with a junior colleague, she attends the conference and learns a few things about herself. But will her work be finally acknowledged?

I will have to be fair: this was, for the most part, a slightly boring story for me. I do like the idea this was about a woman's, who just turned forty, trying to find her self worth in more than just acceptance by her bosses. Especially when it is more than known at the agency that the boss is one of those old fashioned men who believes men are smarter and therefore, only male executives deal with the so called "important" accounts. Anna wants to change this and she devises a wonderful plan and executes it very well, which was probably the best part of the story for me.

In fact, the whole participation at the romance writer's conference and the male cover models contest and all that was connected to this part of the novel was interesting. It made me curious about who these events would actually go and it made me a little envious that this isn't such an easy event to attend, particularly on my side of the world. I also liked how close people are in these things, like a community.

I also liked how Anna starts thinking about feeling she is worthy of her career and her own needs, despite what society seems to impose on women and the supposed goal of this novel always one I appreciate. However, Anna isn't always such a captivating character and some of the things we learn about her and how she thinks (we always follow her POV) make for a choppy read, some parts interesting, others not so much and in the end I didn't feel I really got to know her or her personality.

It seems the goal here, besides the obvious, it for Anna to realize age is just a number and people, women, are so deserving of good things, no matter how they are, in any age and in any stage of their lives, but that demands self awareness, putting one's needs first, just be whom we want to be. That can be difficult because of all the distractions in out lives and the fact we need to deal with others and so on. We learn Anna and her younger brother didn't have the best childhood and her brother also needs help now... I see how this was all realistic and important, butt he execution made the story rather boring...

There's also a romance, but to be honest, despite the cute scenes here and there and what was being said, I just could not give it enough credit, despite the fact there's a sense of HFN at the end. Anna and Lincoln randomly meet and feel attracted but I just could not see this as the premise for a grand romance, at least not how it was presented on the page. I can imagine and invent scenes for after the story is over, but during the book, their scenes together just didn't sound that romantic.

I suppose now that this author just isn't one that fully works for me. I like the premises and the ideas but when I read this and the other book, both felt boring. I think the execution just doesn't seem well balanced or well framed for me and this does take me out of the story often. There were moments it felt like a chore and just the fact I wanted to finish made me keep going. I'm glad I did, for the end is hopeful, but I would not consider re-reading this one.
Grade: 5/10

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