I like psychological thrillers, though I don’t tend to gravitate toward them. I’m more inclined to buy one if it pops up as a recommendation somewhere, like in a Bookbub e-mail or an Amazon sponsored item. I honestly don’t remember how I came across Verity, but it was one of those books that had me clicking “Buy Now With 1-Click” before I even knew what I was doing. I read it in about 7 hours.
The book starts off strong – Lowen Ashleigh, a struggling New York author who’s recently lost her mother to cancer, is walking to a meeting with her publisher when the man in front of her is obliterated by a truck. She’s dazed and covered in gore when a man offers to guide her to the nearest public bathroom to clean up, even giving her his shirt, as he confesses that a few months back he lost his daughter when she drowned. Lowen is sympathetic, but not so dazed that she doesn’t notice he’s gorgeous. Of course, they both have meetings to get to, so they part ways – until about fifteen minutes later, when they show up at the same meeting. Turns out he’s Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, who has two books left on her contract but has been temporarily sidelined by a car accident. Lowen, who only minutes before was facing eviction, is offered half a million dollars to finish Verity’s series.
She demurs, of course, believing her talent is no match for Verity’s, but Jeremy’s pull is too strong. Before long Lowen finds herself holed up in Verity’s office in the Crawfords’ house in picturesque Vermont, with full access not only to the tragic family history – turns out they lost not one, but two daughters, mere months apart, and Verity’s car accident has left her in a vegetative state – but to Verity’s notes and manuscripts and of course, her husband. And when Lowen discovers a manuscript labeled as an autobiography, she hopes to use it to get into Verity’s head so that she can find her voice and finish the books. But the autobiography contains confessions of horrors Lowen never could have imagined, made even creepier by the fact that the seemingly incapacitated Verity appears to be moving around the house, watching her husband fall in love with another woman. A final twist will leave readers wondering if anything they thought they knew to be true actually was.
Normally a romance writer, Colleen Hoover is a gifted thriller writer too, and this book will appeal to fans of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca and even Jane Eyre, with its madwoman in the attic. Its quiet creep factor is long-lasting, and the open-ended finale leaves a lot of scope for the imagination.