Character Spotlight: Varina Denman’s Cecily Ross (with giveaway)

Looking Glass LiesMeet a struggling woman in

Varina Denman’s

contemporary novel

Looking Glass Lies

Waterfall Press

The Story

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.

Introducing Cecily Ross

Brief physical description

Cecily Ross undergoes a mini-makeover in chapter three which leaves her with dark brown hair that falls in loose waves around her face. The asymmetrical cut is slightly shorter on one side, and Cecily tends to let the long side fall over her eyes. She has a sleeve tattoo which draws much unwanted attention because the tattoo wasn’t her idea in the first place, and she regrets ever getting it. You or I would probably consider Cecily’s appearance to be “average” or else we might not think about it either way. She has a timeless, natural beauty that isn’t flashy or loud, but she, unfortunately, doesn’t see herself that way.


Rel, this picture was my inspiration for Cecily. In fact, this picture is the reason Cecily ended-up with a sleeve tattoo.


Strengths and weaknesses

Cecily struggles with low self-image to the point of verbally and physically abusing herself, but she is so strong! It takes her a while to realize that, but when she stops to think about everything that she’s been through, it’s clear to her. And once she overcomes her negative self-talk, there’s no limit to what she can do.

Quirk (if any)

At the beginning of the story, Cecily’s favorite coffee flavor is morning roast from her Dad’s coffee maker, with a medley of International flavors dumped in. Once she starts hanging out at the Midnight Oil Coffee Shop, she soon becomes addicted to Caramel Vanilla latte.

Your inspiration for the character

I’ve struggled with self-image for years, so Cecily is a blend of myself as well as many other women I’ve known. I wanted to write a character that most women could relate to, so even if Cecily’s specific life events didn’t compare to the reader’s, the feels would. As for the details of her life, I had to make-up a lot there. I’ve never been divorced or emotionally abused, but poor Cecily’s story called for both, and I suppose I could say that the story was inspired by the emotions I’ve felt as well as the emotions I’ve witnessed in others.

Background to the story

Every time Cecily looks in the mirror she hears voices from her past: you’re not good enough, your hair is weird, too bad your body isn’t more curvy. The media, movies, social media, even friends and family have affected her image of what she thinks she ought to look like. But don’t most women hear those same voices, at least occasionally? Looking Glass Lies was inspired by the voices we hear when we look in the mirror, and the goal of the novel is to help women silence the lies, and instead, listen to the truth: Every Woman Is Beautiful. #forNina

Thanks Varina!VDenmanHeadshot2

Varina Denman enjoys writing fiction about women and the unique struggles they face. 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.

She 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 and her husband volunteer as a marriage mentors. She is represented by Jessica Kirkland of Kirkland Media Management.

Relz Reviewz Extras
All Things Denman @ Relz Reviewz
Visit Varina’s website
Visit Shame on Shanty
Buy at Amazon: Looking Glass Lies or Koorong


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6 Responses to Character Spotlight: Varina Denman’s Cecily Ross (with giveaway)

  1. I haven’t read this book, but feel like I can relate a bit to Cecily. One of the physical things I’ve always liked about myself are my feet. I think I have beautiful feet and I love looking at them when my nails are painted.

  2. Janet Estridge

    I’ve volunteered in the Church Library for almost 40 years. I would like to believe that people love me because I know what they like to read and where to find the books they are looking for.

  3. Rel, thank you for inviting me for such a fun post. Cecily is one of my favorite characters ever. Something else I forgot to mention about her: one meaning of the name Cecily is “blind to one’s own beauty.” Very appropriate for our girl. :)

  4. Something I love about myself would be my ability to write poetry. I am, by no means, amazing at it. But I can write it and enjoy it, especially when I’m inspired and it just flows out. :)

    Also, I’ve been intrigued by this book since I first heard about it a few months ago. Looking forward to reading it some day soon!

  5. I have a scar on my chest from the port for chemo and my doctor told me me that I can get it removed. I told her no because it is a reminder of everything I have been through. One of the toughest things was losing my hair. I did not realize how I used my hair to hide. Losing my hair freed me from so much. God reminded me that my beauty should come from the inside

  6. A trait that others have commented on is my ability to laugh easily. Although, I do find it hard to laugh at myself sometimes. I’ve passed this trait on to my daughter and she is a joy. The difference is she laughs at herself easily and lets everything roll off her back.

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