This is a book that will make you question your sanity.
There were multiple instances when reading this book where I slowly lowered my Kindle to the bed and stared off into the darkness in distress. (But like in a good way?)
“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 the night their family was forever altered.
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.”
Genre: Drama, Suspense (18+)
My Rating (out of 5): ★★★★★
Thoughts for those of you who have not yet read the book:
If you like drama, suspense, and romance with a bit of creepiness thrown in, you’ll like this book. It keeps you on your toes and it is incredibly easy-to-read so you will most likely fly through it. However, it will also probably keep you up at night so if you are simply looking to read a bit before bed to help you fall asleep, skip this one for the moment.
**Also without giving too much away I will say that there are some pretty graphic instances of abuse described in this book (specifically child abuse) so if you struggle to read that sort of thing then this might not be the book for you.
Otherwise, the plot is very gripping, it’s fast paced, and the ending will definitely stick with you. Expect to be disturbed. No, really. That’s your warning. You will be disturbed.
Now, more in-depth thoughts and opinions with spoilers below:
I just want to take a second to commend and thank Colleen Hoover for stepping outside of her genre box just a bit to create something a little more dark and sinister. The Stephen King lover in me really appreciates it.
As soon as I finished this book I immediately went over the entire plot with my boyfriend because I needed someone else to know what happened and give me their thoughts on it.
Was Verity’s autobiography real?
Or was Verity’s letter in the floorboard real?
Was Lowen right for destroying the letter?
Isn’t Jeremy kind of ultimately a bad guy in the end regardless?
Are we still rooting for them?
Did you also read this book alone at night in the dark and scare the f out of yourself?
So many questions.
Opinions on the feel and flow of the book:
Let’s start with the ‘spooky comatose woman maybe moves in the night’ vibe. — I loved this. And I thought Colleen Hoover did it really well. Between the little boy claiming that his mom still talked to him, the knife going missing when Lowen went in to Verity’s room to find it, Verity’s head being turned toward Lowen when she looks back up from reading…
It was all just done so subtly and so well that I legit thought I was going to look up from my Kindle and see a woman’s eyes staring into my soul from the corner of my bedroom. It creeped me out.
Also, the inclusion of all the graphic descriptions of abuse (i.e. Verity abusing the children) was heart-wrenching. – But again, it was done really well. This part of the plot is meant to make you feel intensely – intense anger, intense sadness, intense shock – and it does that.
Every time I was at a part of the story where Verity described her abuse toward her children I couldn’t help but think about the babies in my life and how I would protect them with everything I have before I let anything that Verity talked about happen to them.
Overall I liked the back and forth between Lowen’s perspective and the chapters from Verity’s autobiography and felt like the flow of the book was really well thought out.
Opinions on characters:
Lowen: I honestly never felt that much toward Lowen. I didn’t want her to be hurt or potentially attacked. I didn’t wish for her failure, but I also never really connected with her that much. She felt more like just a vessel through which to tell Verity’s story.
Quite frankly, I don’t think she was that important for the overall story.
Jeremy: I definitely felt for Jeremy for the vast majority of the book. But he was portrayed as such a loving father – and almost like the perfect husband – I felt like he was a little too perfect. I kept waiting for the hammer to fall, so to speak. And fall it did. Regardless of what was in the manuscript, I thought it was a little strange that he just up and killed Verity at the end.
And after we discovered that Jeremy had known about the manuscript the whole time then we had to realize that he had been lying to Lowen about knowing something might be up with Verity. In fact, Jeremy argued with, and yelled at Lowen multiple times for bringing up her concerns. And he left her alone in the house with Verity to take his son to the hospital after Lowen voiced her concerns.
What’s up with that.
(Also never really got into the Lowen/Jeremy romance. – But that wasn’t really important to the story either.)
Verity: OOooh. I don’t even know to be honest. She creeped me out for sure. I was pretty positive the whole time that she was awake (which is how I think we were supposed to feel). But the twist at the end was still really unexpected. (Colleen is good at that).
It’s like I had my opinion of Verity all ready to go and I was running straight ahead with it and all of a sudden a concrete wall popped up out of nowhere and I slammed into it and fell on my ass.
I mean don’t get me wrong, even if the letter in the floorboards was the truth I still think there has to be something sinister and messed up in someone’s head to write about their children in that way – to put their children in those circumstances, even fictionally. But she still would have gotten a crap ending if the letter was the truth.
Opinions on overall plot:
Brilliant, unique, suspenseful, f’ed up, disturbing, haunting. I’m a little worried about Colleen Hoover’s mind. (But like also a little in awe of Colleen Hoover’s mind.)
My personal opinion on what really happened:
Oh boy. So here are my thoughts:
- Verity could have told her son to hold his breath as the canoe was already tipping. It’s possible.
- However, for Jeremy to hear that from his son and immediately have his suspicious that his wife did it on purpose – to me that means that there were already reasons and suspicions in place on Jeremy’s end that his wife was a little messed up.
- A husband wouldn’t just jump to that conclusion that fast unless he had more reason to.
- I already said this once, but you still have to be pretty messed up to write about your own children in such a tragic and disturbing way (even if none of it was true).
- Also, she titled the manuscript ‘an autobiography.’ Not – ‘fictional writing exercise,’ or something along those lines. If you were going to write realistic scenes about your children in such a disturbing way, wouldn’t you want to make it very clear that it was fictional?
- I would. (not that I would write that in the first place).
- Therefore, I am leaning toward the opinion that Verity was indeed messed up.
- Was she messed up to the point of killing her own daughter? I don’t know. Maybe not.
- I do believe that after the death of their first daughter, Jeremy would be quick to look at any little comment or action against his children as an attack. So maybe Verity was just dealing with her own depression over losing her first child, and it caused her to be more removed from her living children. Jeremy could have been hypersensitive to this distance. And, as an overprotective father who had just lost a child, he could have already been holding that distance against Verity when the second daughter died.
- And maybe this is why he was so quick to believe the worst of Verity when his son told him about her comments on the canoe.
- BUT – if I had to pick one way or another, I would guess that Verity did it.
- (Also, regardless, I’m a little put off by Jeremy also).
- AND – I don’t think Lowen should have destroyed the letter. Based on Jeremy’s own history with his wife, I think he would have immediately known whether or not the letter was truthful.
- And yes, if he did think the letter was truthful it would be a tough pill to swallow for him. I know that Lowen was just trying to protect him from that. But, in my opinion, Jeremy would deserve that tough pill because of his own aggressive impulsivity.
What did you think about Verity by Colleen Hoover?
— a twenty something
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