Infidelity is always a huge test on a marriage, but when it involves a child produced from the ill-advised union, can that marriage survive? This subject, and many other difficult ones, is tackled by Randy Susan Meyers in her novel, The Comfort of Lies, now available in paperback. Michelle also reviewed this book last year, read her review here.
Tia has everything she could want in her relationship with Nathan except one thing – he’s married to someone else. Nathan has made it clear he will never leave his wife, Juliette, and their two children, and when Tia discovers she’s pregnant, keeping the baby isn’t an option for him. But “taking care of it” isn’t an option for her, especially with her mother on her deathbed, and Tia knows she won’t be able to mother Nathan’s child without him. So she decides to give the baby up for adoption.
Caroline and Peter are unable to have a child, and she agrees to adoption to please him. But the older Savannah gets, the more Caroline feels motherhood isn’t for her. She spends more time at work, leaving the nanny to the child rearing, and resents the time she does spend with her daughter.
Juliette has finally healed from the rift caused by Nathan’s affair when she intercepts a letter from Tia with pictures of their 5 year old daughter. Furious and hurt that Nathan hid Tia’s pregnancy from her, she tracks down Caroline with the hope of getting to know Savannah.
The story alternates between the three women, with the occasional point of view of Nathan thrown in. I’m not sure that adding his perspective makes him any more sympathetic and the book would have been just as good without it. It’s hard to say which of the women I most empathized with, having never been in any of their situations. Which is a mark of good writing, if the character whose story is being told is the one the reader roots for at that moment, only to switch allegiances when the point of view switches. Juliette is the most blameless, her only crime being married to the same man for several years, yet the way she handles the information she unwittingly discovers probably isn’t the best method.
Tia is the hardest to root for, she is unable to give up on Nathan, even 5 years after she last saw him. And while every mother has difficult moments, Caroline is unable to see the good parts of motherhood and dreads spending any time at all with Savannah, who naturally wants her mother’s attention.
The subject of unfaithfulness is not an easy one to read and I know several readers who avoid it whenever possible. The Comfort of Lies does not glamorize the topic at all, but presents all sides of the story. I enjoyed the writing and the story and recommend it to lovers of good fiction.