Thursday, March 14, 2013

Review: The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers

When a child is adopted, unless the adoption is an open adoption, there are unanswered and sometimes unanswerable questions for everyone involved. And it creates ties no matter how invisible, deliberately hidden, or denied between otherwise unconnected people. In Randy Susan Meyers' newest novel, The Comfort of Lies, one five year old girl connects three very different women together and examines the fallout of infidelity, the huge and overwhelming decision to give a child up, and the power of maternal feeling.

Five years ago, Tia had a baby and gave her up for adoption. She receives pictures of the baby she named Honor every year since the adoption was what's called an identified adoption. Somehow, on the fifth anniversary of Honor's birth, leafing through the latest pictures of this child, looking for traces of herself or of Nathan, the child's biological father, something changes for her. She's lived with the pain and regret of having let her baby girl go for five years now but these newest pictures trigger something different and she starts a scrapbook should Honor ever want to know about her. She also sends Nathan a letter with copies of the little girl's pictures and her adoptive family's contact information. That Nathan's wife Juliette, who thought she had forgiven him for the affair he admitted to her more than five years ago, would intercept the letter and see the pictures never occurs to Tia. But Juliette does and stunned to learn of the child's existence, she becomes obsessed with finding more out about this little girl, the baby she never knew about, her husband's daughter, her sons' sister.

Savannah, the name chosen by her adoptive parents, has lived happily with Caroline and Peter for her entire life. Caroline is a dedicated pathologist specializing in pediatric cancer and Peter runs a large, successful company. Caroline allowed Peter to steamroller her into adopting a baby because of his desire for a large family but she feels trapped, uncomfortable, and completely adrift as a mother, certain she's failing her daughter. She doesn't like to get dirty or read books over and over again or play pretend. She delegates care of Savannah to Nanny Rose and to Peter, a doting father who only serves to highlight her own inadequacies.  She escapes into her job and laments her lack of maternal feeling. She feels like she doesn't know how to be a mother and maybe not even a wife anymore but she can't admit her fears and her unhappiness to anyone, least of all to her husband.

When Juliette opens the letter from Tia to Nathan, from that moment on, these three women, Juliette, Caroline, and Tia, are on an unavoidable collision course. Narrated from each of their perspectives and eventually from Nathan's as well, the novel takes a close look at what makes a family, how we judge ourselves and others as parents, the power and importance of truth, and as the title suggests, the ways that lies can comfort us. The characters here are not perfect, in fact they are often times infuriatingly imperfect. They are selfish and self-centered. They don't think. But this very imperfection makes them realistic. That isn't to say that they were all sympathetic characters or that their actions were necessarily understandable but that they were generally unpredictably real. And the basic plot could certainly happen, especially in our casually connected and easily accessible world. As the plot carried each woman further towards the inevitable confrontation, it still managed to hold back just enough to keep the reader engaged. The pacing was well done and carries along evenly through each of the women's struggles as they face and try to overcome their fears. Only through forgiveness, atonement, and the painful truth will they all be able to once again find peace in their perfectly imperfect lives. Despite the fact that I struggled to connect to any of the main characters, I found is a thought provoking read and can say without reservation that it is one that will get and keep book clubs talking.

For more information about Randy Susan Meyers and the book check out her website, follow her on Facebook or Twitter. You can also read her articles on The Huffington Post and follow her Pinterest boards. Follow the rest of the blog tour or look at the amazon reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book to review.


  1. I loved the Murderer's Daughters so will give this a try as well - thanks for the review.

  2. I can see that book clubs would find a lot to discuss in this book! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it for the tour.

  3. I do need to have some sort of connection with the main characters but this one still appeals to me. Nice review


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