An empowering romance on body positivity
Edging is the name of the game. Both MCs know they’ll end up having sex. They both want it, they both know quickly the attraction is mutual. They also both keep stepping back when the other comes too close. There’s no real will they/won’t they suspense as the reader knows they will but the cat and mouse game is pretty sexy. And the characters’ reasons for being cautious are what makes this story different.
A socialite and a fashion photographer, Faith is used to being seen as “less”. She’s not a famous artist like her mother. She’s not a sought-after model like her younger sister. She’s not skinny, she’s not beautiful. Something about Silva, the personal trainer she drunk-booked on New Year’s Eve, makes her want to try and change how she sees her body. When Silva breaks her ankle, Faith invites her to stay in the spare room of her Manhattan apartment. As they get closer, Faith realises that Silva understands her on more levels than anyone before and she finds herself attracted to a woman for the first time ever.
Underneath what could have been a rather straightforward romance, Lise Gold adds a deeper story, in a way that reminded me of Living and The Scent of Rome. In the former, she addresses suicidal ideation and grief, in the latter, there was a Me Too storyline. In this new book, both MCs face eating disorders and that part of her life drives Faith to buck against the way the fashion industry treats models and sells an idealized image of what a beautiful body should look like.
I have had a hard time lately connecting with Gold’s characters the way I used to. I don’t know if it’s me or if something changed in her writing but the books don’t work for me as well as older ones. I still have a couple of issues with this one – the social issue arc is a bit heavy-handed, a bit naïve, the instalove is too insta even for me – but I liked the characters enough that I was rooting for them in all areas. I didn’t fall in love with them the way I did with Hannah and Kristine or with Ella and Cam, but I cared about them and what happened to them, and really enjoyed reading about them. The short chapters (from each MCs’ POV) gave the story a faster rhythm and it didn’t feel as long as it really is.
In the Mirror also includes a couple of Easter eggs, which was a nice surprise, and reading about Ava made me want to reread Fireflies, another book with sensitive issues (addiction and sobriety). 4*