The Compromise ... A Love Story

Reader comments

“The Compromise . . . a love story . . . is a timely historical novel, inspired by a true story, that serves to remind us of brave pioneers who followed their hearts under difficult circumstances. I could not put this book down.” --- David Cisneros, educator

“When Cassandra strikes out for college and the glitz of 1920s Chicago, she is relieved to leave behind her old-fashioned rural upbringing and the expectation that she will find a nice boy and settle down. She does indeed find a partner--a woman. But it’s the 1930s and the Great Depression is underway. Economically, times are tough and society is many decades away from welcoming same-sex relationships. To put a roof over her head, she needs a job. To get the available job she must be married--to a man.

What follows is a tale about the courage and compromise of living an unconventional life. It is a tale of the fallout of one woman’s decisions on generations of a family and an entire community. Meyers tells a sobering and fascinating story of truth and deceit, love and profound hurt.” --- Ulrike Guthrie, editor



Story description

How do you think you might feel if you found yourself at age eighteen attracted to another person but soon realized something you had not had the words--or permission--to claim before, a desire to share your life with someone of your own gender?

The time is the early 1920s. The place is the University of Chicago, far away from the bright young woman’s traditional family and rural community. She is determined not ever to return home to Kansas and the flatness of life she experienced growing up there amid her large pioneer family. However, after graduation from the university and the departure of her audacious college girlfriends, she has already struggled for years to find a way to support herself in a man’s world--when the stock market crashes. In the aftermath of the 1929 disaster and the Great Depression that follows, Cassandra’s life falls even deeper into grinding poverty.

Then an unexpected opportunity presents a personal dilemma for Cassandra and Ed, her co-worker of many years. The two, in their thirties and caught in similar circumstances, work part-time in the local soup kitchen, each mired in their own separate struggles on Chicago’s depression-riddled south side. After her unwavering, decade-long struggle to find her way forward as a single woman, what kind of compromise do you think Cassandra might make when learning of a real job, but a job that comes with certain complications? And how should Ed, who has silently fallen in love with Cassandra, a woman who appears beyond his grasp, respond if he is offered the opportunity to marry her . . . not knowing that he will slowly wake up and find he has married someone who at her very core is not the women he thought her to be?

In this novel, based on a true story, the author unpacks the often unspoken emotional ruins that surround the historical facts of a certain time and place and puts before her readers a compelling tale of how one person’s compromise forever alters several generations in the lives of a family and a small-town community. Within this story, you find courage and love but also duplicity and abuse--good people capable of both generosity and acts that cut so deep as to bring on bitter, long-simmering anger.

THE COMPROMISE . . . A LOVE STORY, a novel that spans the 20th century, is filled with biting truths, the grey areas of life that unfold across decades within an unconventional, yet openly respected, three-person household in a small town. As the years roll by, the extraordinary almost becomes ordinary, as curiosities among the neighbors are tempered by a traditional reluctance to talk about sex.

It is into this story that life lessons emerge for everyone involved, while those in the small town learn to pull together, surviving the ups and downs that can regularly attend human lives. For Cassandra, her lover, Ruth, and her husband, Ed, and their mostly absent adult son, Taylor, the shape of their family life is increasingly exposed as they grow old together, living out entrenched habits and long-held grievances, along with old and new loves and ever-changing and surprising ways of coming to care for one another.