“Sublimely creepy with a true Hoover pulse. I’ve been waiting on a thriller like this for years.” Tarryn Fisher, New York Times bestselling author
Verity, an all-new romantic thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, is available now!
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 likely didn’t intend 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.
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I have a confession…I haven’t read a Colleen Hoover in quite awhile, and while other readers might want to tar and feather me for my admission, let me explain why, in my opinion, it’s made reading her new romantic thriller that much more enjoyable.
So, I guess I should start by telling you exactly what ‘in quite awhile’ equates to when it comes to how long it’s been since I’ve opened up one of Hoover’s story. I’m talking not since 2013! She was one of the first indie authors who brought me back to reading, and I adored her stories and her storytelling, so I don’t really have a reason I stopped…one reason could be that the indie book world grew exponentially, and there were now all these new authors who I wanted to read and I couldn’t juggle them all. It’s not that I did it deliberately, but it’s just something that happened. I still have all of her books on my kindle; I just now need to find the time to tackle her backlist of stories amidst all of my responsibilities as a blogger, English teacher, mom and wife…so maybe some time in the next decade?!?!
All joking aside, though, I was pumped to get an ARC copy of Verity, and I was even more intrigued by the fact that it was a romantic thriller – a trope that I don’t have a lot of experience with and one that Hoover hasn’t really tackled before, so her newest release was the perfect book to reintroduce myself with Hoover’s writing, character development, and storytelling because it’s more than apparent in Verity just how much she has grown as a writer in terms of the fluidity of her syntax, the power of her word choice to convey her meaning, and the effortless way she weaves a variety of subjects and modes of writing together to not only capture the essence of the plot line but to also allow readers to follow the pace of the story, making inferences along the way until the ultimate reveals at the book’s resolution.
This psychological thriller is overwhelming to say the least, but even though I felt like my reading world was turned upside down the further I delved into Verity and its chaotically addictive environment, I read on, knowing that the payoff would be worth it, even if it continued to mess with my psyche, and I can wholeheartedly say that there is no other book that I’ve read in quite some time that has left me intellectually drained and in awe of the way the author not only crafted but told these characters’ story.
Lowen’s story is definitely an outside the box kind of read, but that’s what makes Verity stand out among a lot of the books I’ve read this year. It’s unique, powerful, unpredictable and suspenseful, and even after finishing it, I don’t think I can adequately explain its complexity in both characters and story line. There are so many layers to Lowen Ashleigh, Jeremy Crawford, and Verity Crawford, so much so that it’s difficult to wrap my mind around all of the truths that are learned and secrets that are revealed about them. Nothing and no one is what or who they seem, which means interpreting the meaning of every act…of every word still doesn’t truly get to the heart of who these people are and what they experienced, both due to themselves and due to the other characters involved. And as frustrated as I was with some parts of the story, those scenes held my attention and absolutely messed with my mind, and even though it’s been a bit since I finished Verity, it stays with me because of its uniqueness and because of the way that it was crafted by one of the very first authors who got be back into reading.
4.5 Poison Apples
“What are you wearing?” Corey is staring down at my shirt, perplexed, just now noticing it despite having spent the last fifteen minutes with me.
I look down at my oversized shirt. For a moment, I forgot how ridiculous I look. “I spilled coffee on my other shirt this morning and had to change.”
“Whose shirt is that?”
I shrug. “Probably yours. It was in my closet.”
“You left your house in that? There wasn’t something else you could have worn?”
“It doesn’t look high fashion?” I’m being sarcastic, but he doesn’t catch it.
He makes a face. “No. Is it supposed to?”
Such an ass. But he’s good in bed, like most assholes.
I’m actually relieved when the conference room door opens and a woman walks in. She’s followed, almost comically, by an older man walking so closely behind her, he bumps into the back of her when she stops.
“Goddammit, Barron,” I hear her mumble.
I almost smile at the idea of Goddammit Barron actually being his name.
Jeremy enters last. He gives me a small nod that goes unnoticed by everyone else.
The woman is dressed more appropriately than I am on my best day, with short black hair and lipstick so red, it’s a little jarring at nine thirty in the morning. She seems to be the one in charge as she reaches for Corey’s hand, and then mine, while Goddammit Barron looks on. “Amanda Thomas,” she says. “I’m an editor with Pantem Press. This is Barron Stephens, our lawyer, and Jeremy Crawford, our client.”
Jeremy and I shake hands, and he does a good job of pretending we didn’t share an extremely bizarre morning. He quietly takes the seat across from me. I try not to look at him, but it’s the only place my eyes seem to want to travel. I have no idea why I’m more curious about him than I am about this meeting.
Amanda pulls folders out of her briefcase and slides them in front of Corey and me.
“Thank you for meeting with us,” she says. “We don’t want to waste your time, so I’ll cut right to the chase. One of our authors is unable to fulfill a contract due to medical reasons, and we’re in search of a writer with experience in the same genre who may be interested in completing the three remaining books in her series.”
I glance at Jeremy, but his stoic expression doesn’t hint at his role in this meeting.
“Who is the author?” Corey asks.
“We’re happy to go over the details and terms with you, but we do ask that you sign the non-disclosure agreement. We would like to keep our author’s current situation out of the media.”
“Of course,” Corey says.
I acquiesce, but I say nothing as we both look over the forms and then sign them. Corey slides them back to Amanda.
“Her name is Verity Crawford,” she says. “I’m sure you’re familiar with her work.”
Corey stiffens as soon as they mention Verity’s name. Of course we’re familiar with her work. Everyone is. I hazard a glance in Jeremy’s direction. Is Verity his wife? They share a last name. He said downstairs that his wife is a writer. But why would he be in a meeting about her? A meeting she isn’t even here for?
“We’re familiar with the name,” Corey says, holding his cards close.
“Verity has a very successful series we would hate to see go unfinished,” Amanda continues. “Our goal is to bring in a writer who is willing to step in, finish the series, complete the book tours, press releases, and whatever else is normally required of Verity. We plan to put out a press release introducing the new co-writer while also preserving as much of Verity’s privacy as possible.”
About Colleen Hoover
Colleen Hoover is the #1 New York Times and International bestselling author of thirteen novels and multiple novellas. She lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys. She is the founder of The Bookworm Box, a non-profit book subscription service and bookstore in Sulphur Springs, Texas.
Connect with Colleen
Join her reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/colleenhooverscohorts/