THE COMFORT OF LIES – RANDY SUSAN MEYERS – BOOK REVIEW

The Comfort of Lies – Randy Susan Meyers
Atria/2013
By – Sheri de Grom

Randy Susan Meyer’s second novel, The Comfort of Lies, grabbed me with its first sentence and wrapped me within its arms until the last page. I didn’t want the book to end; it’s that good.

What if the next novel I select doesn’t measure up to my expectations? ILIES BOOK COVER always have that overwhelming fear when I finish a novel which holds me in its clutches with the tightness The Comfort of Lies held over me.

The Comfort of Lies introduces three women so different from each other it’s amazing they all have the same two things in common: one man and one baby!

I set myself up not to like Tia. Her first sentence reads . . . Pg 3 [Happiness at someone else’s expense came at a price.] . . .

Tia is a twenty-four-year-old single, college-educated woman. She’s having an affair with a thirty-seven-year-old married college professor and is convinced she’s loved by a man of substance.

Tia believes Nathan, the married professor, loves her. She believes he’ll leave his wife, until she tells him she’s pregnant with his child and he offers to pay for an abortion.

Tia refuses to consider an abortion and Nathan ends their affair. Tia’s alone and believes the best thing for her baby is adoption.

Juliette is Nathan’s wife, the mother of their two sons and a successful business woman.

. . . Pg 16 [The kids came first. Nathan’s schedule, second. Then came cooking, cleaning, birthdays, Halloween, Passover, Chanukah, and Christmas—anchoring her family. That’s how she thought of it. Juliette loved her work to an unholy degree, but she worked equally hard to hide her obsession, always a bit ashamed of how much passion she felt about her business.] . . .

Nathan confesses his affair to Juliette. Their marriage is rocky but they work together to save their family. That is, they work together until a letter arrives and Juliette intercepts it. The letter is addressed to Nathan—from Tia. It contains pictures of their daughter.

Caroline is a pathologist dedicated to children’s cancer research. She and Peter have been married to their work. Now Peter wants a baby. Caroline knows she lacks the instinct of self-sacrifice required of parenting.

. . . Pg 25 [Once home, she didn’t want anyone forcing her to put down her journals or interrupting her studies.]. . .

Part two opens in Tia’s point of view. She’s looking at a picture of her daughter five years later. Tia selected her daughter’s adoptive parents and they send pictures each year on the child’s birthday. Tia’s began to drink before and after work after the baby’s adoption.

As a reader I approached Tia with skepticism. We also used the open adoption system and I never became comfortable with the birth mother. I’m convinced it was because of my own insecurities all those years ago when open adoptions weren’t as common as they are today. The author reached into the very souls of Tia, Juliette and Caroline in the telling of The Comfort of Lies.

Juliette spends years researching why men have affairs. She tortures herself by the hour with endless statistics and the probability that Nathan will cheat again. When Juliette intercepted the letter meant for Nathan, she knew nothing about Caroline and became a stalker of both Tia and Caroline. Her main focus was on Caroline as she had Nathan’s child and Caroline becomes obsessed with having the girl in her family.

Ms. Meyers explores cultural expectations I rarely see novelist visit. As an adoptive parent, I was especially happy to see the author disallow Caroline the luxury of complaining about the time and energy parenting requires. I immediately identified with Caroline in believing I had no right to complain about anything. It was a miracle that I had a daughter when so many other couples went without a child. It didn’t matter that my career was all-consuming. Like Caroline, something had to give.

Tia, Juliette, Caroline and Nathan live in a state of free fall from the opening page. Each character was so resilient; The Comfort of Lies became a page turner that rushed me late into the night. I had to know what happened to the innocent five year old girl. Would she be pulled from the only parents she’d ever known?

I’m saddened when book clubs tell me they only discuss books available in trade paperback. I understand the economics, but when such an exceptional novel as The Comfort of Lies is available, it’s a pure joy to read and discuss.

The Comfort of Lies has my unconditional recommendation and I’m positive it will make my top ten reads of 2013.

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About Sheri de Grom

Retired Fed/JAG, 5 yrs. on Capitol Hill. Former book buyer for B and N. Concerned citizen of military drawdown. Currently involved in mental healthcare reform, health care strategist and actively pursuing legislative change wherein dual retirees are exempt from enrolling in Medicare at their own discretion without losing tertiary healthcare benefits. Monitor and comment on Federal Register proposed legislation involving Mental Health, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Medicare and rural libraries. Licensed OSHA Inspector to include Super Fund sites. Full time caregive to Vietnam era veteran. Conceptualized, investigated possible alternatives, authored, lobbied for, and successfully implemented Title X, Section 1095 (known as the Third Party Collection Program of Federal Insurance).
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30 Responses to THE COMFORT OF LIES – RANDY SUSAN MEYERS – BOOK REVIEW

  1. Dear Sheri,
    I want to thank you and all those who commented for such thoughtful and meaningful words. Reading through this thread has meant the world to me. Plus, I want to mention–for iamforchange, I have an epilogue to THE COMFORT OF LIES that didn’t make it to the final book–but which I am going to print as an ‘extra’ when the paperback comes out. (It will be free on my website.) In this epilogue we hear from Savannah, the child, when she is 13. I also had to know how she was! Warmest, Randy

  2. kwaleed says:

    Good Novel! Do visit my blog for articles http://www.revolutionfalme.com

  3. This book sounds amazing, Sheri. I love the title, the cover, and your review of the book. This is definitely going on my TBR pile. 🙂

  4. I hate that feeling of finishing a great book and wondering if another, just as captivating, will ever come my way. This looks like a good one – adding it to my list for a summer read!

    • Hi, Jodi – I don’t believe you’ll be disappointed. After reading ‘Calling Me Home’ and then ‘The Comfort of Lies’ back to back and having them both be such magnificent reads, I feted I’d not find the next perfect book. My husband always laughs at me as I have several towers of books that threaten to tip at any moment. However, I read a review of a novel just a few days ago that I had to have and am reading it now. For about four days I was honestly restless and read this and that–nothing and I mean nothing met the standard of the last two reads. I have reviews ready for blogging of books I’ve read in the past so wasn’t worried about posting a blog but for my own personal reading, I have to have ‘that next great book in hand.’ When you do read ‘The Comfort of Lies’ I’d love to hear from you and your opinion of the read. Of course, I want to hear from you in the meantime:)

  5. I am always looking for a good book recommendation. This sounds interesting.

  6. I’m adding it to my lengthy summer reading list, it sounds like a great read. Thanks for the recommendation!

  7. I’m going to Amazon to grab this one. Sounds really interesting. Thanks for the review Sheri

  8. iamforchange says:

    Thank you Sheri, I think… 🙂 Now I have to find out what happens to the innocent five year old girl! Thank you for sharing such insightful reviews and baiting us with magic breath! Hope you have a great day. I have much to catch up on and will be reaching out again soon as I dig deeper into my inner truth for direction. Thank you for being there for me and all of us! 🙂 Joe

    • Good morning, Joe. It’s nice to see you here. ‘The Comfort of Lies’ is a winner in ever since of the word and I simply couldn’t put it down. The story has many twists and turns and I love reading first person in multiple points of view. The author doesn’t mix the individual POV voices within the chapters but gives each character their own alternating chapters, to include the birth father. It’s a riveting read. Thank you for stopping by.

  9. Mae Clair says:

    It sounds like an emotional read, Sheri, one that lingers with you long after the book is finished. Definitely the mark of a good story and a skilled author!

    • Mae – You are so right. ‘The Comfort Of Lies’ will live on my bookshelves. I don’t reread books but when I come across a novel that is masterfully written, it earns a place on the shelf. But then again I argue with myself. How can I not send it on to the rural library I support. Others need to hold this book in their hands and savor the story until the very last drop. Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Very lovely review, Sheri. I didn’t know you had an adopted child, as do I. This book must have touched a deep chord within you. I should read it also.
    Patti

    • Patti – In my opinion, any parent that has adopted a child in an open adoption, can relate to this novel. My ex-husband and I adopted an infant daughter in an open adoption in the 1970s, long before it was a common occurrence. ”The Comfort Of Lies’ is so true to the entire process and the emotional impact seemed a roller coaster had raced across my heart. I especially identified with Caroline (the adoptive mother) in feeling that I should never complain about taking time out of my day to lead a Brownie Troop or any of the numerous activities a parent becomes involved in because after all, I wouldn’t have a child if we hadn’t been able to adopt. This novel is another ten star read. As a writer, it’s masterfully presented.

      • Sheri, I have got to get this for my Kindle. Hopefully that’s possible. Allessandra’s open adoption was in 1998 and it was a piece of cake. We met with an attorney whose children were all adopted and, at first, were not interested in open adoptions. But am I glad we did it that way. Six months after meeting with him, we picked up Allessi when she was less than 24 hours old! Allessandra talks to her birth parents (who ten years after breaking up got back together again and invited us to their wedding!) and her birth father texts her ‘hello’ every morning. We had them over once a few years ago for a bbq and had a great time. Allessi and I are very close and have a wonderful relationship and I have always been and will be Mom. She feels the difference but is happy to have a second family with two birth sisters. And I surely identify with all the things I did and do for my two kids. A huge chunk of my life is devoted to both of them and I love it. I never thought that’s what I would do with my B.A. and Master’s degrees! But it’s the best job I’ve ever had!

  11. terry1954 says:

    a very interesting triangle in your book. I can see why you didn’t want it to end

    • Terry – Indeed it is. The triangle sounds somehow like its to be talked about behind closed doors but in reality it’s about two families and a desperate single mother and her new boyfriend convinced that each couple knows (or doesn’t know what is best for the child). Randy Susan Meyers tells a masterful story wherein lives spin out of control and emotions are in free-fall.

  12. Uzoma says:

    I agree with John. The book has an eye-catching title. The same could be said about it’s cover. I trust your judgement, so will just have to add this to my list. It’s good to see you blogging again, Sheri.

  13. johncoyote says:

    A very good title. Will catch the attention of the book buyer’s.

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