Verity by Colleen Hoover: A Review of the Psychological Thriller Everyone’s Talking About
AUTHOR: Colleen Hoover
GENRE: Romantic Thriller/Suspense
PUBLISHER: Grand Central Publishing
PUBLICATION DATE: December 7, 2018
TWs: See below (possible spoilers)
The first time I read Verity by Colleen Hoover, early in my reading journey, it was an easy 5-star read for me. It was fast-paced, entertaining and kept me glued to the pages. Now to be writing this review after re-reading it for a second time, it’s sad to say my rating has changed. While it remains as engaging as the first time, I now detect plot holes and a lack of character development that I was too inexperienced to see before.
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 her family was forever altered.
Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents could 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 loving her.
Each person is a morally grey character, which is what gives this book such mixed reviews. You either like the characters or you don’t.
As expected, Verity is the most interesting character throughout the book. Hoover gives her all the attributes of a typical psychopath – narcissism, lack of remorse, antisocial, impulsivity – so it’s no surprise that she’s the one who will have you coming back to keep reading.
Lowen’s inner thoughts seem younger than her actual age. She doesn’t make the smartest decisions throughout the story and reminds me of the character you see in horror movies that you KNOW will get killed next, but you still can’t help but watch how it happens.
The romance storylines rely heavily on sexual scenarios without much character development. For someone who reads many romance novels and considers character development essential, I was left wanting more, especially since this book is marketed as a romance thriller. Sex is used mainly to manipulate and avoid discussing real issues between the MCs. Some of these could have been replaced with more scenes on developing the characters.
The thriller aspect is what propels this book forward, but in trying to mix romance into it, both elements were left lacking (i.e., character development in the romance storyline and plot holes in the thriller storyline).
The twist at the end was NOT something I saw coming. But there are many plot holes riddled throughout the book if you’re paying attention.
The book ends in such a way that it is up to the reader to decide which truth to choose (which is how I like my mystery/thrillers to end). But if you purchased the hardcover version with the bonus chapter, you will notice that the extra material will have you leaning more towards one of the truths, minimizing the effect of the cliffhanger.
The format used is one of my favorites – telling a story within a story. The dual POVs swinging between Lowen’s present and Verity’s past made for a gripping read. You get to figure things out alongside Lowen as she reads the manuscript while Verity sets the stage for the twist.
The chapters are short, fast-paced, and can be finished in one sitting. There’s enough twisted, disturbing, dark stuff that messes with your brain and keeps you engaged.
If you’re not too bothered by plot holes and the characters not being fully developed, then Verity by Colleen Hoover is a really gripping and entertaining read. At the very least, you’ll see what all the hype is about, and that twist at the end will have you telling your friends about it for days.
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