Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Books: "I Will Never Leave You" By S.M. Thayer

I Will Never Leave You
By S.M. Thayer
Thomas & Mercer; $24.95 hardcover; $4.99 Kindle eBook; available September 1, 2018

With a lavish lifestyle, powerful friends, and a historic mansion in the nation's capital, banking heiress Trisha and her husband, James, seem to have it all. 

The only thing that was missing from their dream life was a baby. 

In the gripping debut novel from S.M. Thayer, I Will Never Leave You, Trish will stop at nothing to give her husband the child he has always wanted.

As infertility struggles plague the charmed couple, they become more desperate. 

They get the child they desired to complete their family, but there's just one problem, in that Trish is not the mother.

The mother to the baby is James' mistress and he wants to leave Trish to devote himself to his new family despite their ironclad prenup.

Thayer writes from Trish's point of view, "I'm crying great tears of joy, thinking of the wretched years James an I experienced, the love that had vanished from out lives and how we flailed our bodies into each other night after blessed night, all the sex and raw exasperation. And fruitless. I shall never forget our fruitless years.

"'Honey, are you okay?' James asks. He's still in the crinkly green birthing room hospital scrubs. Sentimentalist that he is, I wouldn't put it past him to sneak the scrubs home and whip them out as a conversation starter between courses at some future dinner party of ours.

"The baby starts crying, which James warned me might happen when she awoke, and I'm helpless, for although I rub her swaddled back and rock her gently, Anne Elise wails. No one has told me how to soothe a crying child. Surely, there are techniques to learn, words or incantations that might do the trick, but I stand there, patting her, nuzzling her, praying calm upon poor Anne Elise, who balls her tiny fists up as though she's about to smack me. She kicks her legs, whipping her bare feet free of the pink blanket that had wrapped around them. Her toes are small, each no bigger than a fingernail. A strip of elasticized fabric bands her ankle like a bracelet. A white plastic disc about the width and thickness of a half dollar is affixed to the elasticized fabric. Upon entering the maternity ward, I saw the same medallions on other babies. A pair of red lips (not unlike the familiar Rolling Stones logo) appears on each medallion, and as I run my fingers over the disc, the image of Mick Jagger puckering his lips and kissing me pops to mind, filling me with revulsion.

"The baby's cries awaken her mother, James's mistress, who's been curled up asleep in the hospital bed. Laurel Bloom. That's her name. Exhausted from an arduous ten-hour delivery, she fell asleep soon after nurses cut the baby's umbilical cord. This is the first time James has invited me to meet her face-to-face. She looks at me sharply, her face still splotchy from the strain of labor, her long blonde hair tied back in an unkempt ponytail that fans out on her bed pillow. I don't begrudge James the baby. But it goes without saying that I begrudge him the mistress." 

When Trish becomes dangerously obsessed with making the baby her own, the lovers' plan to break James' marriage rapidly goes awry. How far are they each willing to go for happiness?

I Will Never Leave You is a brilliant debut from S.M. Thayer, which is a pseudonym for an award-winning fiction writer and McDowell Fellow whose work has appeared in numerous publications and received several Pushcart Prize nominations.

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