Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.
Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died.
Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.
The main character, Lowen, takes up the job of completing a book series written by Verity, who has had an accident and is no longer able to do much of anything, let alone write. Lowen comes to stay at Verity’s house in order to learn what she needs to know about Verity’s book series. Lowen finds herself in one heck of a situation: she’s attracted to Verity’s husband – Jeremy – who spends his days caring for his bedridden wife. Although, Lowen comes to suspect all is not what it seems with Verity, after discovering Verity’s disturbing autobiography. Is Lowen in danger? Or is she simply paranoid, due to her own demons?
No wonder this book is trending in the good reads reading charts. It is a pretty unsettling and creepy read, that quickly grabbed my attention with its story and alluring characters. I liked how Hoover didn’t hold back with the story, she wrote some stuff that other authors, I imagine, wouldn’t dream to think of writing.
Ultimately, characterisation stole the show. The somewhat twisted love triangle between Lowen, Jeremy and Verity was what created suspense. I didn’t even notice when I connected to the characters, because the primary objective was to get to the bottom of the mysteries. It wasn’t until the end of the book, I realised I cared about Lowen and Jeremy. I wouldn’t say Lowen was a really likeable narrator, but she wasn’t unlikeable either. I certainly empathised with Jeremy, due to the grief and tragedies he and his family had to endure.
I like characters like Verity. They’re enigmas, that every reader who enjoys such characters, wants to get to the bottom of. Hoover checked every box, as she was a deeply complicated and disturbing character, right until the last few pages.
The book’s structure alternates between Lowen and Verity’s perspectives. The reader is aware of Verity’s perspective prior to the events of the novel, through the secret autobiography that Lowen reads. This structure definitely kept the pace of the book going, as I was engaged throughout reading it. Sometimes, from my own personal experience reading books like this, this can be a tricky thing to achieve without frustrating the reader, but Hoover pulled it off flawlessly.
As well, this book is steamy (fog up the glass steamy…). Just as the steaminess was beginning to get a little too much for my enjoyment of the story, Hoover halted it, as if she’d read my mind. In fact, Lowen herself said it herself. This really reinforces for me, that Hoover knew exactly what to give to the reader, and in what dosage.
I was trying to decide if I felt this story was original, because at times, I felt I was reading something very similar to some movies I’ve seen (not naming them, as to prevent spoilers). However, I think the ending of this book, definitely deserves Hoover’s own mark. It’s quite haunting, actually.
Overall, I’d say this is the best mystery/thriller/suspense I’ve read in months, since Riley Sager’s The Last Time I Lied. Hoover has just shown how to write a romantic thriller and has utterly convinced me I’m to never 100% trust my future spouse. The mysteries of the story were well devised – I had to keep reading to find out all the answers to said mysteries Hoover created. My favourite thing about Verity, is how the ending isn’t a fully rounded ending, as it’s open to discussion and interpretation. What was the truth? What really happened? Hoover, I’m so mad and glad that the ball is in the readers court! I rated Verity 5 stars on goodreads, and read it within a day. I hope Hoover continues venturing into the thriller genre, I’d definitely pick up whatever she writes next.
Verity by Colleen Hoover
Published 18th December
Genre: mystery, thriller, suspense, romantic thriller