I've come to think of much of my writing, and my reading, in terms of a Major Event of my life - attending the RWA National Conference in Dallas. Things before Nats were fun. Interesting, even. After Dallas? Things changed. Writing, and Reading, became something more, something different. I was exposed to new thoughts, new ideas, about my writing, and about myself as a writer. I was also introduced to so many new authors it was amazing. So, kinda like the Bible, I tend to think of my experiences in a BC (Before Conference) and an AD (After Dallas) way. This is especially apparent to me in regards to my FAB Picks.
You see, I'd never even heard of Liza Palmer BC. I hadn't read her book. I didn't know of the wonderful journey that Maggie from Conversations With The Fat Girl took in that book. And I certainly had no clue that someone had written a book that would so envelop me, grip me, and shift the very way I looked at things. But Liza did. And like I said when I gave you my Honorable Mentions for the Best of the Best, if that book had been written in 2007 - it would have been on my list. It was that good.
So you might think that when I got my hands on an early copy of SEEING ME NAKED, I was pretty ecstatic. Well, you'd be wrong. I was actually nervous. Charity mentioned the same feeling when she picked up the second Succubus book by one of her former FAB picks. See, I loved Conversations so much! But could Liza Palmer hang on to that love? Would she be able to create another book that moved me like her first one? What if I hated it? Or, even worse, what if it just didn't touch me at all?
Let me put your minds at ease right now - Liza Palmer can Write!
From the BCC...
Elisabeth Page has big shoes to fill. She's the daughter of a living legend, novelist Ben Page, and is the sister of literary wunderkind Rascal Page. But her career as a pastry chef is decidedly not up to her family's snooty standards - even though she works at the hottest restaurant in LA - and her five year plan to own a patisserie has morphed into an eleven year plan to nowhere. Also frozen in time is Elisabeth's personal life: She's still involved with Will, her family-approved childhood sweetheart, a journalist whose constant jaunts leave her lonely. Enter an exciting career opportunity and, even more terrifying, Daniel Sullivan, a beer-drinking basketball coach who is everything her family is not. Can Elisabeth, who's addicted to control and bred to criticize, finally embrace happiness? Only if she has the guts to let others see her naked... and let them love her, warts and all.
Can I just get a "Hell yeah"? That BCC is so spot on that it's almost scary! It hits upon most of the major plot points, as well as the internal struggles that Elisabeth is facing. It doesn't get sappy or sentimental, it doesn't lead you down any silly road. It's just straightforward and to the point. Very nice job.
As for the book... Whew! Really, that's the only word I can find to describe it.
Elisabeth Page is a very regimented young lady. From her early morning runs, to the precision with which she does her laundry and the sheer artistry with which she creates her desserts, she insists on having things just so. The closest she gets to spontaneity is figuring out which perfect delectably edible creation she will prepare for the patrons of one of LAs most chic restaurants every night.
Her almost obsessive need for order in her world might stem from the family in which she was raised. Her father, the winner of multiple Pulitzer's, is a cultural icon, and he takes that as the perfect excuse to be a perfect ass whenever he feels like it. Her brother, riding the crest of a wave from his bestselling debut novel, lives a sort of Peter Pan existence. And then there's her mother the heiress, who accepts nothing less than surface calm and strict adherence to an upper class code that seemingly forbids anything less than a beautiful life. Of course, you can't forget Will, the boy in the mansion next door, who travels the globe in search of the next big story, dropping back in to re-stake his claim on Elisabeth's heart every so often.
Elisabeth's struggles come from within, but they manifest themselves in every area of her life. She loves her job as a top pastry chef, but it's not exactly her dream of having her own patisserie. She adores Will, but he's not making any attempts to take their relationship to the next level. Her family still consists of all the people she's grown up loving from the shadows of their own fames, but the bonds that hold them together seem brittle. Basically, her life is good. But maybe just not good enough. And frankly, Elisabeth may just be the tiniest bit tired of all of the layers of figurative clothing that it takes to hide that she's just not perfect.
When Elisabeth donates cooking classes to one of her mother's charity auctions, she has no idea that her structured world is about to fall apart. Daniel Sullivan, a college basketball coach, wins the lessons. But can a man that is nothing like what she imagined for herself become everything Elisabeth didn't even know she really wanted? Doubtful.
SEEING ME NAKED is a beautifully written journey of a life on the verge of something... more. About a woman trying to find her own small place in a family of larger than life individuals, it packs a punch from the first page to the last. With characters that jump off the page, situations both serious and surreal, emotions ranging from poignant to heartwarming, SEEING ME NAKED is a solid follow-up to Liza Palmer's internationally bestselling debut novel.
I can't wait to see what Liza Palmer writes next!
If you're interested in a signed copy of SEEING ME NAKED, remember to enter the contest here. (You can use the .jpg and the BCC on this dish to enter!) And if you'd like an autographed copy of Conversations with the Fat Girl, go ahead and purchase SEEING ME NAKED today. Then e-mail us a copy of your proof of purchase to enter the random drawing. Either way, there's a good chance you'll end up with a FABulous book.
Don't forget to check back on Friday for a very candid, incredibly entertaining interview with my FABPick - Liza Palmer. And go ahead and click that link to buy SEEING ME NAKED today. You don't even have to take your clothes off to enjoy it!
Keep Turning Those Pages!!