Seeing Me Naked by Liza Palmer was a book recommended by Angie of Angieville and my copy was sent as a gift by Nomes of Inkcrush when I won her giveaway. I was craving for some contemporary romance reads along the lines of Unsticky by Sarra Manning and What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty so I asked Angie for suggestions and this was one of the titles that she mentioned.
Here’s the summary from Liza Palmer’s website:
Elisabeth Page has big shoes to fill. She’s the daughter of living legend novelist Ben Page, and the sister of literary wunderkind Rascal Page, and her career as a pastry chef is decidedly not up to her family’s snooty standards-even if she works at the hottest restaurant in L.A. Elisabeth hopes no one will notice that her five-year plan to run her own patisserie has morphed into an eleven-year plan to nowhere. Her personal life is also frozen in time: she’s still involved with 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. Addicted to control and bred to criticize, can Elisabeth finally embrace happiness? Only if she has the guts to let others see her naked and let them love her, warts and all.
I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that Seeing Me Naked is so much more than its flirty title and cover. I have the UK edition with the white cover but I think I like the US edition with the yellow cover more because it’s understated and less smexy. I was expecting a light and fun book crack that will go down just as easily as the milk tea drinks that I’m currently addicted to. What I got was something more complicated. Elisabeth’s story deals with some weighty issues tied to her relationships with the people around her – her unusual family, her inconsistent childhood sweetheart and a guy that she just met named Daniel. Added to all that are her problems balancing her hectic schedule as the pastry chef in L.A.’s hottest restaurant. I have a cousin who’s a pastry chef in L.A. and I know hard that kind of job is – staying on your feet the whole day while cooking delicious treats, not having holidays because those are actually the busiest days for restaurants and thriving in a highly competitive industry. Elisabeth’s situation is no exception. She chose this career path because she wanted to stay away from her father’s literary shadow. I’m a huge fan of pastries and desserts in general so that’s one of the reasons why I was curious about this book.
I love that while Elisabeth’s romance with Daniel is an essential part of the story, it doesn’t necessarily take center stage. It’s actually more subtle than the other relationships in Elisabeth’s life. What she has with Daniel is what keeps Elisabeth calm and steady in an otherwise turbulent existence. It doesn’t mean that their relationship is easy because they still had to resolve some issues but it was nice to know that Elisabeth could rely on Daniel. Even though Elisabeth tried to stay away from her father’s profession, her whole family still has a huge influence over her. She craves for her dad’s approval, she finds comfort in her mother’s love and her brother Rascal is actually her closest friend. My favorite scene in the book is actually a pivotal moment for their family. I’m not going to spoil it but let me just say that it was the banquet towards the end of the book and that particular scene had me in tears. Like I said, I didn’t expect to get emotional over Seeing Me Naked but I’m glad that it surprised me. For me, the mark of a good book is when it can make you feel like you’re right there with the characters. I think it’s great when you get to laugh and cry with them. After finishing this, my first thought was that I want to read more books like this. I’m going to look for Liza Palmer’s other novels and I’m hoping that they will be just as good as this one. If you have similar suggestions, please let me know. Highly recommended for contemporary romance or women’s fiction readers.