Guest Post: The Five Themes That Influenced Looking Glass Lies by Varina Denman

Ever look in the mirror and not like what you see? Is your hair too dull? Your skin too pale or you're just not pretty enough? You'll need to read Varina Denman's latest novel, Looking Glass Lies.  It's a pleasure to have her here today to chat with us the themes that influenced this novel.

About Looking Glass Lies

Title:  Looking Glass Lies
Author: Varina Denman
Publisher:  Waterfall Press
Release Date:  May 2, 2017
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Fiction

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.

The Five Themes That Influenced Looking Glass Lies

I didn’t exactly plan on writing a book about self-esteem, but once I started, God seemed to send me ideas every day: Don’t forget to include that memory. Oh, and that snippet you heard the other day. And that thing your friend said to you. He’s cool that way, helping writers write. Not that I have some sort of connection to God that other people don’t, not at all. I just really, really felt Him with this book. And I pray my readers feel Him too.

As I was writing, several themes rose to the forefront of the manuscript, some planned, some unplanned. I attempted to weave them together in the story, because in real life, these topics are often meshed into a bundle of pain. Maybe you’ve experienced some of them too. Most of women have. Here are the top five.

  1. The media, pornography, and society’s general expectations would be the first and most obvious influence for the novel. Almost from the time women are born, they’re fed information (through movies, advertisements, and even friends & family) that convinces them they need to look a certain way in order to be happy and fulfilled. Not all women fall prey to these influences, but for many of us, it’s a constant battle.
  2. Insecurity & low-self esteem are direct results of the comparison game that women learn to play. If we can’t be the person we want to be … then maybe we’re not worth much at all. Or so we tell ourselves.
  3. Personal negativity & health are often at the crux of the problem. While some women brush off society’s expectations with no problem, others (like me) dwell on the negatives, reminding ourselves of what we wish we were, and condemning ourselves for being less than perfect. Once we get in the habit of listening to our own negative self-talk, our insecurity multiplies exponentially, and we become emotionally (and often physically) unhealthy.
  4. Friendship & accountability are highly stressed in Looking Glass Lies. Overcoming insecurity and low self-image is no easy task, and it’s best attempted with the help of a support group, be it a group of friends who have been through the same thing, or an organized therapy group. We didn’t get unhealthy without the influence of outside forces, and we probably won’t get healthy without the influence of trained professionals as well as empathizing friends.
  5. Healing & growth are the happier themes of the book, and many of the characters are able to overcome their insecurity and stop listening to the lies. This was my main purpose in writing Looking Glass Lies, to help other women heal, and along the way … (who knew this would happen?) … I healed a little too.



About Varina Denman

Varina Denman writes stories about the unique struggles women face. Her award-winning Mended Hearts series is a compelling blend of women’s fiction and inspirational romance as is her latest novel, Looking Glass Lies. A native Texan, Varina lives near Fort Worth with her husband and five mostly grown children. Connect with Varina on her website or one of the social media hangouts. 

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  1. Annie, thanks so much for inviting me to your blog. This oost was fun to write. I hadn't really thoughts about all these themes at the same time. There's a lot going on in this book. :)

    1. Thanks so much Varina!! These are great themes for sure and ones that will stay with us as we read through your book.

  2. I've ordered this book through Amazon but haven't had a chance to start it yet. Looking forward to reading it.

  3. I won a Kindle copy from Goodreads. I'm excited to read this one! Varina handles edgy topics with grace.


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