Wednesday, February 1, 2023

REVIEW: Verity (book) by Colleen Hoover

Verity is a thriller with a gothic edge. I bought my copy new.


Lowen is a struggling writer who recently spent a period of time as her mother's caretaker, up until her mother's death. Now she's headed to a mysterious meeting that could be a turning point for her career. The author Verity Crawford has been in a car accident, is now in a vegetative state, and can no longer complete her bestselling series. Lowen has been chosen as the author best suited to go over Verity's notes and "co-author" the final books for her. Verity's husband, in particular, wants Lowen on board, and so she accepts, even though she isn't sure she can produce work nearly as good as Verity's. It's not like she has much of a choice, anyway - she desperately needs the money.

The Crawford family has been visited by quite a bit of tragedy: first the deaths of Verity and Jeremy's twin daughters, and then Verity's accident. Lowen goes to Verity's isolated home, intending to spend just a few days going over her papers. Soon, however, she finds herself glued to what appears to be Verity's unpublished autobiography. Verity's books were always written from the perspective of the villain, which Lowen didn't necessarily think indicated anything about Verity' nature, but Verity's autobiography has her wondering otherwise. It reveals her to be a cold and ruthless liar who'd do anything to keep Jeremy, her husband, to herself. 

What sort of person was Verity? It's a question Lowen can't stop thinking about, even as she finds herself falling for Jeremy. Did he know what his wife was really like? Should she tell him?

Colleen Hoover's books seem to be fairly popular at my library, so I decided to finally try one. I vaguely recalled someone saying that Verity was particularly good, so went with that one.

I had no idea what I was getting into. The back of this book calls it a "standalone romantic thriller." From my perspective, it read more like a thriller with a gothic edge. Something about the setup reminded me intensely of Jane Eyre - Jeremy set off alarm bells in my head the instant he appeared on-page, and when my brain connected him with Mr. Rochester, it was pretty much guaranteed that I was never going to be able to trust him.

I disliked all of the characters except maybe the kids (they didn't get enough page-time for me to like or dislike them). Jeremy had the truthworthiness of Mr. Rochester. Verity was apparently a vile viper of a woman - for someone who was supposedly such a great author, her autobiography was awful, spending more time on her and Jeremy's sex life than just about anything else. And as for Lowen, it was kind of gross how much Verity's autobiography had her panting over Jeremy.

The final revelation might have worked better for me if it hadn't been for all the other stuff. I didn't find the first big revelation to be all that believable, and the way the characters handled things made them all villains, to my mind, just different kinds.

Hoover's acknowledgments make it sound like this book is a departure from the norm for her, so maybe I should try one of her books that's more firmly a romance novel. But honestly, Jeremy and Lowen's relationship didn't leave me feeling very interested in trying a Colleen Hoover romance novel.

No comments:

Post a Comment