Welcome to Diversity Between the Pages! Today we’re spotlighting a new release by Varina Denman: Looking Glass Lies. This book features the boisterous blogger Shanty Espinosa, who runs the support group the main character, Cecily Ross, joins as she works to improve her self-image.
Shanty is of Asian/African-American descent and, despite being entirely fictional, has her own blog, Shame on Shanty, which is described as ‘a safe place to discuss shame, insecurity, and all those other mixed-up feelings.’
~ About the Book ~
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.
~ Excerpt ~
Shanty placed her palms on the table. “I’ll share my story first, ’cause I’m not nervous about it.”
Her transparency made me uncomfortable.
“My issues go way back to when I was a little girl.” Her voice finally lowered. “My parents were both workaholics, never home, and they didn’t have much time for my sisters and me. Turns out I didn’t suffer too much from Mama’s absence, seeing as how I had older sisters to baby me, but it would’ve done me good to have Daddy in my life.” Her face lost its animation. “He’s gone now, but still, I wish I could just hear him one time, saying, Shanty, you’re beautiful, just as you are.” Then, suddenly, she snickered. “Course, I don’t know he wasn’t thinking that every day of my life, but that’s just it . . . I don’t know. I don’t know that he ever even noticed I was around, one way or the other.”
Nina patted her forearm.
“Thanks, darlin’.” Shanty fanned her face with her palm, drying her eyes. “I’m married to a loving man who tells me I’m a pretty little girl. That makes me laugh cause there’s not nothing little about me, but we have a good thing going.” She dabbed at a tear. “Anyhoo, now I write a blog about body shaming called Shame on Shanty. You girls should check it out if you haven’t already. There’s lots of good info on there, and a guest blogger every week—stories from all sorts of women. I try to keep it encouraging.”
My mouth must have fallen open, because Shanty looked at me and guffawed.
“I know it!” Her smile was back full force, and her bronze skin glowed. She really was pretty. “I know what you’re thinking, Cecily. Who would’ve thought little ole Shanty would end up a big-time blogger, but there you go. I’m not able to do as much online as I’d like, seeing as how I’ve got four kids underfoot, but I do what I can. And it’s rewarding for me. Makes me feel like I’m helping this crazy world a little. One woman at a time.”
~ About the Author ~
Varina Denman enjoys writing fiction about women and the unique struggles they face. Her novels include the Mended Hearts trilogy: Jaded, Justified, and Jilted, as well as her latest release, Looking Glass Lies. She seems to have a knack for describing small town life, and her debut novel, Jaded, won the ACFW Genesis Contest, the BRMCWC Selah Award, and the INSPYs Bloggers’ Award for Excellence in Faith-Driven Literature.
Varina attended three universities over a span of five years, majoring in four subjects and earning zero degrees. However, she can now boast sixteen years as a home educator, volunteering in her local cooperative where she has taught numerous subjects including creative writing and literature. Varina lives in North Texas where she volunteers in local marriage and family ministry. She is represented by Jessica Kirkland of Kirkland Media Management.
Spotlight by Katie Donovan