Three women, three mothers, all connected in various ways to one five year old girl. Sounds like trouble, doesn't it?
It is trouble, with a capital T, and Randy Susan Myers deftly handles all the emotional ramifications of this interesting situation in her new novel The Comfort of Lies.
Told in alternating points of view, The Comfort of Lies reveals the darkest and most private thoughts of Tia, the child's birth mother; Caroline, her adopted mother; and Juliette, wife of the birth father. In one year their lives collide, and they all must confront the choices they've made, the truths about themselves and their relationships, and how they feel about the responsibility of motherhood.
Tia was too young when she got pregnant, the result of an affair with her professor, a "happily" married man with two sons of his own. Nathan gave Tia the kind of love and affection she needed so desperately, but when he found out she was pregnant he urged her only to "take care of it," before ending their relationship and returning to his wife, Juliette. To his credit, he came clean about the affair and the couple spent the next five years working out their relationship. Things seem to be on an even keel until Juliette accidentally uncovers a piece of information Nathan neglected to tell her - that a child resulted from his union with Tia. Juliette, stunned, finds herself unexpectedly sympathetic toward the little girl, and feels that they must somehow acknowledge her existence and make her part of their family.
Meanwhile, the child's adoptive parents have issues of their own. Caroline is a dedicated workaholic pathologist, and she's always harbored some ambivalence about motherhood. Her husband, however, adores family life and being a father - she agreed to adopt baby Savannah mostly to please him, and now five years later, she finds herself wondering whether she was really cut out for motherhood and domestic life after all.
The book asks the reader to ponder some big questions about adoption and the importance of family, about the true nature of motherhood and the sometimes ambivalent feelings it can engender in even the most loving of women. It also asks us to look at the lies we tell in an misguided attempt to "protect" the ones we love from a more hurtful truth.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel, although I can't say I liked ANY of these women. Tia is whiny and immature, Juliette bossy and controlling, and Caroline just plain aggravating with her self-centered musings about the boredom of childcare. I found myself wanting to slap all of them at one time or another.
Still, the great writing and fast pace of the book kept me enthralled. I always enjoy a well written book that explores the dynamics of family life and relationships gone awry, especially when it comes to a satisfying conclusion. The Comfort of Lies delivered that in a big way, and has me eager to read anything else Randy Susan Myers dishes out.
Thanks to TLC Tours for the opportunity to read this novel.