The Comfort of Lies
“Happiness at someone else’s expense came at a price. Tia had imagined judgment 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.” Five years ago, Tia fell into obsessive love with a man she could never have. Married, and the father of two boys, Nathan was unavailable in every way. When she became pregnant, he disappeared, and she gave up her baby for adoption. Five years ago, Caroline, a dedicated pathologist, reluctantly adopted a baby to please her husband. She prayed her misgivings would disappear; instead, she’s questioning whether she’s cut out for the role of wife and mother. Five years ago, Juliette considered her life ideal: she had a solid marriage, two beautiful young sons, and a thriving business. Then she discovered Nathan’s affair. He promised he’d never stray again, and she trusted him. But when Juliette intercepts a letter to her husband from Tia that contains pictures of a child with a deep resemblance to her husband, her world crumbles once more. How could Nathan deny his daughter? And if he’s kept this a secret from her, what else is he hiding? Desperate for the truth, Juliette goes in search of the little girl. And before long, the three women and Nathan are on a collision course with consequences that none of them could have predicted. Riveting and arresting, The Comfort of Lies explores the collateral damage of infidelity and the dark, private struggles many of us experience but rarely reveal.
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The Comfort of Lies
Read an Excerpt
Happiness at someone else’s expense came at a price. Tia had imagined judgment 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.
She felt vaguely queasy from the late Sunday lunch she and Nathan had just shared. They'd ordered far too many courses; buttery appetizers, overdressed salad, and marbled meat roiled in her stomach. Black Forest cake had left her mouth pasty with sugar and chocolate. Each time Nathan...see more
Juliette usually listened to music while she worked, but not today. She was stealing from Sunday family time—and a sunny Sunday at that—while the boys watched a video downstairs. Silence ensured she could hear her sons.
Guilt kept her company, even though she and Nathan had devoted every second of the morning and early afternoon to the boys. They’d taken a short hike at Beaver Brook Reservation, and then eaten a picnic lunch prepared by Juliette, complete with the Rice Krispies Treats she’d stirred up at six that morning, and then...see more
After five years of marriage, Peter still made love to Caroline as though realizing his life’s dream. Being the object of his lust never failed to rouse her own. Exercising on the treadmill, Caroline labored through work problems, scratching ideas in tiny journals she kept in her pockets. Riding the train to work, she caught up with medical journals; driving to visit her parents, she listened to audiobooks. Only with her husband did she remember her corporeal being. There was no other time she left her mind and lived inside her body.
Peter thought her...see more
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Reading Group Guide
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1.Discuss the epigraph of the novel, and whether you agree with this statement. Over the course of the novel, are lies shown to be a comfort to the person telling them or to the person hearing them? In general, do you think that there are situations in which telling the truth provides more comfort to the person delivering it rather than the person hearing it?
2.Of the three female protagonists, which did you most identify with, and why?
3.As you were reading, did you feel compelled to take sides between Juliette or Tia? Did you empathize more with one or the other?
4.On p. 82, Caroline describes her experience of her father’s love, saying, “No one in the family resented that his deepest energies were saved for his work. They didn’t confuse his love and his energy.” Do you think the same kind of parenting style can be as effortlessly achieved by a mother? Must one parent be “stay-at-home” for this to work?
5.As a group, read aloud Juliette and Nathan’s ar see more