Reviewed by Colleen Turner
When Tia began an affair with Nathan she knew he was married with two young boys and she knew it was wrong. However, Nathan made her feel safe and cared for, something she had so rarely felt before. The well tended illusion of their love was shattered, however, when Tia became pregnant and Nathan told her in no uncertain terms that he would never leave his family to be with her. Devastated by the rejection, Tia decided to give her child up for adoption, picking a well to do couple to raise her daughter: Caroline, a pathologist researching children’s cancer, and her husband Peter. While this could easily be the ending to the story, for The Comfort of Lies it is only the beginning.
Five years after her husband Nathan confessed to having an affair, Juliette believes she has forgiven her husband and buried the hurt and confusion surrounding the betrayal deep inside. But when Juliette intercepts a letter sent to Nathan from Tia, all the pain rises back to the surface. Has Nathan been in contact with Tia this whole time? Does he still love her? Does she still love him? Even more heartbreaking is the secret hidden inside the letter: Nathan has a five year old daughter that he never told Juliette about. If he could hide this pregnancy from her, what else has he been hiding?
So begins Juliette’s search for the truth surrounding Nathan’s infidelity and this little girl that pulls at Juliette’s heartstrings even as she wishes the girl didn’t exist. By the end of the journey all three women will be forced to confront their deepest fears and to put the lies aside in favor of the truth, however painful that might be. It is only by facing the reality before them that the women are able to begin finding peace within their lives as well as within themselves.
The Comfort of Lies is one of those rare books that presents distinctly flawed characters that you cannot help but root for. With the possible exception of Juliette, none of the main characters are without fault and yet this very characteristic allows the reader to feel for them and to understand the reasons they make the decisions they do, regardless of how you personally feel about these choices. It was even hard not to sympathize with Nathan, something I would never have imagined when beginning the book.
Seeing the various angles of the affair and its aftermath through the eyes of the different women was truly fascinating. It is not unusual to see the perspective of the mistress or the wronged wife but I have never read a book that presented both sides of the story along with that of the woman placed in the middle by adopting the child of the affair. Seeing each woman’s pain and uncertainty, especially Caroline and her fear that she is a horrible mother, really touched my heart and made me see infidelity and its wide spreading devastation in a whole new light.
Anyone looking for a well rounded glimpse into this subject or a book that digs deep into the very heart of its characters should pick up The Comfort of Lies. Even if you don’t agree with the choices made or the feelings presented, it is hard not to appreciate the raw honesty of everyone involved.
Also by Randy Susan Meyers: The Murderer’s Daughters
Colleen lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband, son, their dog Oliver and their fish Finn. When not working or taking care of her family she has her nose stuck in a book (and, let’s face it, often when she is working or taking care of her family as well). Nothing excites her more than discovering a new author to obsess over or a hidden jewel of a book to worship.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Atria Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.