This is my first Colleen Hoover book, and with all the hype surrounding this author, I will admit I was expecting a lot. I wanted to read “Verity” mostly because it’s a romantic thriller and I wanted to read something that was meant to be a bit unsettling. And the premise of “Verity” is definitely that! This book very much has “Gone Girl” and “Jane Eyre” vibes where you have a relatively unknown author coming in to finish a very successful author’s series. Verity cannot finish her series being confined to a near vegetative state in her home, so never one to let a good series go to waste, her publishers bring in Lowen to finish out the series. Lowen is a thriller writer herself, so that’s kind of the justification for her being qualified to take over Verity’s work, who writes her books from the villains POV. As Lowen tries to figure out how to write this series, she stumbles across Verity’s autobiography and uncovers not just the depth of this family’s tragedy, but how deranged this successful author is, all while falling in love with Verity’s husband. There are definitely some creepy elements but ultimately, the longer I sat with this book and thought about it, the more I disliked both the story and the way it was written.
This book had moments of addictive, popcorn eating “I have to know what happens next” places, I will give the author that. I really did finish this book rather quickly. It’s easy to read but it’s also incredibly upsetting if child abuse and death is something you find triggering. Normally I’m ok with that (sounds weird, I know) but I’m currently pregnant so some things got to me more than I expected when reading this. Either way, the author does set up just how psychotic Verity is and Lowen is justifiably terrified to be in the same house as this woman. The creepiness and thriller aspect of the story all revolve around Verity and her secrets, but that’s also where the book falls apart for me, too.
This book is a thriller, but only because every character functions without logic. In order for Verity to do all the things she does, medical professionals would have to be in on it, helping her out. Or would be aware of the issues and bring them up with child services. Failing all that, Lowen never once tells Jeremy anything, and probably wouldn’t have either except she suddenly is worried about losing this married man. I’m not even going to go into how bland Jeremy is as a character, even though he has these two women utterly obsessed with him, but the romantic elements were just… boring. I don’t buy for a second that Jeremy is THAT good in bed for these women to do or feel half of what they claim to for this wooden board of a human. I can suspend a lot of disbelief, but I can do that with fantasy and science fiction, not contemporary thrillers.
There were a lot of unnecessary elements to the book to make the story “shocking” (that opening chapter where we first meet Lowen) or unsettling, where you are supposed to question who the innocent party is here. But none of that ever felt big enough, or maybe fooled me into thinking that I needed to watch anyone but Verity. Which brings me to the “twist.” 1. It wasn’t really a twist? 2. The ending is some of the laziest writing I think I’ve seen a thriller do in a very long time.
There was so much set up around what Verity was or wasn’t doing and it never got the pay off it deserved. That aside, the ending was such a cop out to what the reader was experiencing that it honestly had me rolling my eyes right out of my head. The last chapter is supposed to make you question everything, except that, again, it relies on all logic being thrown out for you to really accept that. I genuinely think that the author just tried too hard to make a really scandalous twist but instead only wrote a halfhearted rug pull that just annoyed me at the end of the day. So you have all that, plus the very bland characters and love story, with the only thing saving this book for me being those occasional addictive chapters, but that’s only enough for me to give this book 2 stars. I don’t know if that means that this author is just not one for me, but this book certainly wasn’t. How disappointing…
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