“Happiness at someone else’s expense always came at a price. Tia had imagined judgement from the first kiss that she and Nathan shared. All year she’d waited to be punished for being in love, and in truth, she believed that whatever consequences came her way would be deserved.”
Tia is a bright young woman from the South side of Boston who fell hard for a married sociology professor, Nathan. After she discovers she is pregnant with his child, Nathan urges her to take care of it, flees from the relationship, and confesses to his wife. Tia struggles to do what’s right. She places their baby up for adoption, afraid she would make a terrible single mother, and even more terrified she couldn’t handle the constant reminder of her lost love.
Caving into pressure from her husband, Caroline becomes the adoptive mother to Tia’s daughter, Savannah. Motherhood is an afterthought for Caroline, something a woman is supposed to achieve, and she is far more fulfilled in her career as a physician than her role of a mother.
Tia decides to send her old lover a letter telling of their daughters existence. When Nathan’s almost forgiving wife, Juliette, intercepts it, the lives of these women suddenly collide with unexpected consequences. The story alternates between the three women’s perspectives as they wrangle with the repercussions of that five-year-old affair, matters far more raw than just an out-of-wedlock child.
The Comfort of Lies would make a wonderful book club selection. The women, instead of falling into rigid characterizations, reveal themselves to be deeply layered and flawed. Each struggles with the pressure to do what’s right, even when the answers falls into the grey areas we are often afraid to discuss. The story calls into question what makes a good mother, who deserves to be a mother, and if parenthood is a right or a privilege. All thought provoking topics ripe for discussion.
I also must add, this book made me reflect upon my own marriage and family, and caused me to treasure these often fragile relationships no matter how imperfect they may be. The Comfort of Lies is a quietly powerful read, full of heart, both broken and mended.
Release: February 12, 2013