Published: 7th December 2018
Publisher: Self Published
Format: Ebook (purchased)
RRP: $1.49 currently on Amazon Aus (not sure for how long though)
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.
A standalone romantic thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover.
Let me just start by saying Verity by Colleen Hoover is one messed up book.
We all know Colleen Hoover by her swoon-worthy romance backlist, so when my book club picked Verity as our first book of 2019 I was intrigued having only read one other Hoover book prior. However, it’s quite clear from the very first scene, that Verity is not a typical Colleen Hoover book, and is one only readers with a strong stomach and present mind should read.
To that end, as a public service note, I do not recommend you eat your lunch when you start this book, for it will not end well. Trust me. I lost my appetite after my very first bite!
Verity is a hard book to classify, but I’m going to peg it as psychological thriller for the sake of this review. It’s an unnerving and unsettling book that will hold you captive, revolted and leave you with so many more questions than when you began.
To be honest, Verity is a book I somewhat struggled to read. Hoover has gone to great lengths to create one of the most unsettling stories I’ve read – keep in mind, that I LOVED Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson and After The Darkness by Honey Brown. Although the story is told from the sole perspective of Lowen, a self described recluse with questionable past behaviour, all three main characters cast doubt on the story’s veracity and constantly leave you questioning their unreliable narration and suspect actions.
Lowen is a down and out author living in New York City, not for the job prospects and status, but rather to disappear amongst the thousands of somebodies. When the book opens, she is in mourning for her Mother, who we learn has died of cancer not a week before. Low on money and with doubt cast over her future, Lowen is manipulated into taking on a ghost writer-assistant style position for the remaining three books in Verity Crawford’s best selling murder suspense series. Lowen, reluctantly takes on the job and leaves the safety net of NYC for the Crawford family home (some six hours away) so she can study Verity’s plans and research for the remaining three books in the series.
What is meant to be an ‘easy’ assignment gifted by the ‘gods’ due to Verity’s best selling status, Lowen quickly finds herself in a world of mystery, intrigue, attraction and horror fitting series of events that will leave her, and the reader, shaken to the core and questioning everything you knew about those involved.
One of the most impressive aspects of this book is that Hoover has set a book within a book … and not just any book, the most vile and horrific manuscript describing a mother’s darkest thoughts, fears and desires against her children and her husband. It’s an intense read, and one that I found myself equally enthralled by and so damn scared of!
Jeremy. Jeremy. Jeremy. Jeremy. This poor grieving father of three ( his twin daughters have passed away in THE months leading up to the books opening) and huband to Verity, is doing everything he can to keep his head above water. He worships the ground his son Crew walks on and is doing everything in his power to make sure he has a happy childhood despite the first five years of his traumatic little life.
I think Jeremy is meant to be the all consuming heroic heartthrob of the novel, but I just found myself sickened by his actions and desperation. Although I understand it’s his wife is a upstairs basically living in a unrecognisable and motionless existence; I can’t shake the feeling that his quick attraction and responses to Lowen aren’t a little creepy, skeevy and perhaps even cheating. It hasn’t been all that long since Verity’s tragic accident and it all just seems a bit too sudden and soon for a man who literally worshipped the ground his wife walked on.
And then there is Verity. Hoover has gone to great lengths to explain through both Lowen, Jeremy and all of the publishing people, just how amazing and epic Verity and her best selling book series are. Right from the word go, the reader is expected to love the idea of her and respect the shit out of this woman who has befallen a series of seriously unfortunate circumstances in the past few years. However, with Lowen’s discovery of Verity’s secret autobiographical manuscript, the darker edge of Verity is brought to life in the most unexpected and bone chilling ways. All of which casts doubt of the glowing recommendations of Verity’s good character and makes the narrative so much more spine-tingly and nightmarish.
Never fear though, if you are fan of Hoover’s more romantic background, there is a heavy dose of sexual description and I guess chemistry within the narrative. We get Verity’s sexual history in great detail with Jeremy through the manuscript, a concept made all that more creepy too as Lowen too falls in love with him through the manuscript first, and ‘real life’ second.
Verity by Colleen Hoover was a compulsive and repulsive read. I was equally drawn to the disturbing, page turning thriller, while also fighting hard against slamming the book (or as the case maybe, turning my phone off) and abandoning the book entirely because it way too creepy for little ‘ol’ me. My over active imagination was firing on all cylinders coming up with solutions, and scenarios and just second guessing each characters motive, actions and what the books outcome might end up being. With three messed up characters with jet planes of baggage and confusion, who can the reader trust as the book takes darker and darker turns into the murky unknown? You’ll just have to read it and find out your yourself!
To purchase a copy of Verity,* visit the following online retailers:
Amazon AUS | AMAZON CA| AMAZON US | | amazon uk |
*please note that Verity is only available as an ebook unless you purchase the paperback directly through Colleen Hoover herself.
To learn more about Colleen Hoover, visit the following social media pages: