Randy Susan Meyers latest, the Comfort of Lies, is a very gripping novel. She explores how children become collateral damage arising from family secrets and relationships. The story is how the lives of three families collide and intersect surrounding a child, Savannah, who is the heart of the story.
The novel begins with a story of infidelity when Tia, a woman who fell in love with a married man, Nathan, becomes pregnant and gives her child up for adoption instead of having an abortion. A powerful quote from the book, “Tia had refused to ‘take care of this,’ as Nathan wanted. St. Peter’s nuns and Tia’s mother had done too good a job. She couldn’t rid herself of the pregnancy… and she couldn’t find the courage to hold her child in this life, so here she was, six months pregnant, choosing a mother and father for her baby.” The plot takes off from there telling the story of how this child, Savannah, affects the lives of her real mother, the adopted couple, and the family changed by the husband’s infidelity.
Forward five years since Savannah’s birth and Tia decides to send a copy of the pictures she received from the adoptive couple, Peter and Caroline, along with a letter, to Nathan. Although Nathan’s marriage survived the affair, when his wife Juliette finds out about Savannah’s existence, their struggles begin anew. This is intertwined with the fact that the adoptive mother, Caroline, is also struggling with the pressure of motherhood.
Meyers contrasts the characters perfectly. There is Juliette, the ultimate housewife, Caroline, a medical researcher and pathologist, and Tia, a young self-absorbed woman. The author is also able to explore how guilt can be a very powerful emotion. Tia feels guilty about giving up her child; Caroline feels the guilt of being a working mom and enjoying her profession, and Juliette, living with the guilt of deciding if she wants to forgive her husband and the effect that will have on their two boys. Meyers told blackfive.net, “It is not possible to have a child without wrestling with some feelings, having to be pulled in many directions. I enjoy writing characters from the inside out.”
Even though Nathan had an affair, he is a character that readers will be able to feel comfortable in rooting for since Meyers elegantly shows how he lives with his guilt each and every day. He knows that his love for Juliette is genuine and real, exemplified by a quote in the book, “He hated that he’d hurt her…He needed to make Juliette understand that they were two sides of the same coin-connected by their children, their love, and their years together.”
When asked about this Meyers noted, “I worked with batterers for ten years. Just as with Nathan, their own shame prevented them from change. They liked to stay in denial because it was a safer place to be. Admitting you hurt someone you love either emotionally or physically is very tough. My other job of bartending allowed me to get into the male head. These two jobs enabled me to write about and understand Nathan’s feelings and motivations.”
The author’s next project includes an epilogue of this book which she will put up on her website. It will be written from Savannah’s point of view as she fast-forwards to age thirteen.
After that she will write her next book, which deals with emotional abuse and how it affects a family from the point of view of the husband, wife, and their fourteen-year-old daughter.
In the Comfort of Lies, Meyers is able to have the reader conjure up different emotions from anger to sadness to happiness. It is a well-written and captivating story that intertwines infidelity, heartbreak, and sacrifice of the modern family.