“Verity” is a gripping psychological thriller that delves into the dark complexities of love, truth, and the blurred lines between fiction and reality. The narrative is intense and emotionally charged, exploring the devastating consequences of secrets and lies within relationships.
Book Title: Verity
Author: Colleen Hoover
Date of Reading: October 2023
The protagonist, Lowen Ashleigh, a struggling writer, accepts a job offer to complete the remaining books of renowned author Verity Crawford, who has been incapacitated due to an accident. Lowen arrives at the Crawford home to sort through Verity’s notes and outlines, meeting Jeremy Crawford, Verity’s husband. The atmosphere is heavy with the tragedy of the Crawfords losing their twin daughters in separate
Lowen begins sorting through Verity’s chaotic office, finding it hard to concentrate due to her attraction to Jeremy. She discovers the Crawfords’ remaining child, Crew, a sweet boy who has survived the family’s tragedies. Lowen feels increasingly uneasy in the house, sensing a strange energy.
As Lowen digs deeper into Verity’s notes, she uncovers a disturbing autobiography manuscript that reveals dark secrets about Verity. The manuscript suggests that Verity might have been responsible for the accidents that killed her daughters. Lowen is horrified but can’t stop reading.
Lowen continues reading the manuscript, which details Verity’s manipulative and sociopathic tendencies. She struggles with whether to show Jeremy the manuscript, fearing it might devastate him. Meanwhile, the attraction between Lowen and Jeremy grows stronger.
Lowen becomes increasingly involved with Jeremy, their relationship intensifying amidst the dark revelations from Verity’s manuscript. She discovers more about Verity’s twisted mind and her manipulative control over Jeremy. Lowen is torn between her feelings for Jeremy and her ethical dilemma over the manuscript.
Lowen decides to keep the manuscript a secret from Jeremy, fearing the impact it would have on him and Crew. She becomes more integrated into the family, forming a bond with Crew. Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy deepen, complicating her situation.
Lowen discovers that Verity might be conscious and aware of her surroundings, despite appearing comatose. This revelation terrifies her, and she suspects Verity might be faking her condition. Lowen feels trapped in a house with a potentially dangerous Verity and struggles with her feelings for Jeremy.
Lowen’s paranoia grows as she suspects Verity is aware of her and Jeremy’s growing relationship. She continues reading the manuscript, uncovering more about Verity’s twisted psyche. Lowen feels isolated, unable to share her discoveries with anyone.
The tension in the house escalates as Lowen becomes more convinced that Verity is awake and watching her. She struggles with her conscience over keeping the manuscript secret. Lowen’s relationship with Jeremy becomes more complicated as they grow closer.
Lowen is tormented by the secrets she’s keeping and the fear of Verity. She debates leaving the job and the Crawford house but feels a responsibility to Crew and an attachment to Jeremy. The manuscript’s content becomes increasingly disturbing.
Lowen’s fear of Verity reaches a peak as she encounters strange occurrences in the house. She becomes more isolated, feeling trapped in her role as the ghostwriter and in her relationship with Jeremy. Lowen questions her own sanity amidst the bizarre atmosphere.
Lowen confronts the reality of her situation, realizing the danger she might be in with Verity. She considers revealing the manuscript to Jeremy but fears the consequences. Lowen feels caught between her job, her feelings for Jeremy, and her fear of Verity.
The manuscript reveals more about Verity’s manipulative nature, showing her as a mastermind behind the family’s tragedies. Lowen grapples with guilt over her relationship with Jeremy, knowing the truth about his wife. She feels increasingly trapped and desperate.
Lowen reaches a breaking point, feeling overwhelmed by the secrets she’s discovered and her feelings for Jeremy. She contemplates leaving but feels a duty to protect Crew from the truth about his mother. The manuscript’s revelations continue to haunt her.
Lowen decides to take action, planning to reveal the manuscript to Jeremy. She struggles with the potential fallout but feels it’s the right thing to do. The tension in the house reaches a climax as Lowen prepares to confront Jeremy.
Lowen’s plan to reveal the manuscript to Jeremy is disrupted by unexpected events in the house. She faces a moral dilemma, torn between revealing the truth and protecting Jeremy and Crew from further pain. The atmosphere in the house becomes increasingly suffocating.
Lowen confronts the harrowing truth of Verity’s actions, leading to a deep internal conflict. They grapple with the dilemma of whether to expose the shocking revelations or keep them concealed to protect Jeremy. This chapter is characterized by an intense emotional struggle, highlighted by a poignant moment of intimacy with Jeremy, who remains oblivious to the protagonist’s turmoil and the dark secrets they have uncovered.
Verity reflects on the tragic canoe accident involving her children, Harper and Crew. She describes her desperate attempt to save them, particularly focusing on Crew, leading to Harper’s unfortunate drowning. Verity expresses immense guilt and grief over her daughter’s death, questioning her actions and the consequent strain on her relationship with Jeremy.
Verity details the aftermath of Harper’s death, including her struggle with grief and the growing suspicion from Jeremy that she may have been responsible. She recounts the painful experience of Jeremy’s indirect accusations and her inability to defend herself due to her overwhelming sorrow. Verity also describes her attempt to cope by writing a fictional manuscript that portrays a darker version of herself, which she hoped would help her process her guilt.
In this chapter, Verity reveals the terrifying night when Jeremy discovers the manuscript, leading him to believe that she is a danger to their son, Crew. Jeremy’s rage culminates in a violent confrontation where he almost strangles Verity, followed by an attempt to stage her death in a car accident. Verity survives the ordeal but decides to feign severe injury and memory loss to protect herself from further harm and possible legal consequences.
Verity explains her decision to continue pretending to be severely injured and unresponsive, believing it’s the only way to stay safe from Jeremy and potentially from legal troubles. She talks about her inner turmoil, anger, and the difficulty of maintaining the deception, especially in front of her son, Crew. Verity also plans to leave with Crew, fearing for their safety and well-being if they stay with Jeremy.
The chapter shifts to Lowen’s perspective, who discovers a letter from Verity confessing her innocence and detailing the events from her point of view. Lowen grapples with the revelation, questioning the truth and the implications of her actions. The novel ends with Lowen deciding to keep the truth hidden from Jeremy, leaving the reader to ponder the complexities of truth and manipulation.
The chapter reveals Verity’s perspective on the tragic events involving her children and her relationship with Jeremy. She describes her intense guilt and the immense strain on her marriage due to the tragic death of her daughter, Harper. This chapter delves deeply into Verity’s inner turmoil and the psychological impact of her experiences, adding layers to the novel’s exploration of truth, perception, and the boundaries between fiction and reality.
In this chapter, Lowen uncovers a letter from Verity after her death, confessing her innocence and detailing the events from her perspective. This revelation deeply troubles Lowen, causing her to question the truth and the actions she has taken. The chapter ends with Lowen deciding to keep the truth hidden from Jeremy, leaving the reader to ponder the complexities of truth, manipulation, and the consequences of actions based on perceived realities.
Verity, through a letter, reveals her perspective on the tragic events and her true feelings towards her husband, Jeremy. She discloses the extent of her deception, her reasons for it, and her plans to escape with her son, Crew. The chapter ends with Lowen, another key character, grappling with the moral dilemma of whether to reveal the truth to Jeremy, ultimately deciding to keep Verity’s letter a secret to protect him from further anguish. This chapter ties together the novel’s themes of truth, perception, and the boundaries between reality and fiction, leaving the reader with a sense of unresolved tension and moral complexity.
There are thematic parts that the book covers:
The Complexity of Human Nature:
The book delves into the depths of human psychology, showcasing characters with multifaceted and often disturbing traits. It explores how people’s public personas can vastly differ from their private thoughts and actions, highlighting the duality and complexity inherent in human nature.
Moral Ambiguity and Ethical Dilemmas:
Central to the novel is the exploration of moral ambiguity. The characters are often placed in situations where the line between right and wrong is blurred, forcing them to make difficult choices. This theme questions the nature of morality and whether ends can justify means.
The Power of Secrets and Lies:
“Verity” demonstrates how secrets and lies can manipulate and control people’s lives. The characters’ relationships are heavily influenced by the secrets they keep and the lies they tell, which creates a web of deceit affecting everyone involved.
The Influence of Trauma and Loss:
The novel also addresses how trauma and loss can impact individuals and families. The characters’ actions and decisions are heavily influenced by their experiences of grief and tragedy, portraying the profound and often long-lasting effects of such experiences.
Obsession and Control:
A recurring theme in the novel is the idea of obsession, both in personal relationships and in the pursuit of success. The characters exhibit varying degrees of obsession, which in some cases leads to a desire for control over others, further complicating their relationships and personal integrity.
The Intersection of Reality and Fiction:
The narrative structure of “Verity” itself plays with the concept of what is real and what is fictional. As the protagonist uncovers the manuscript within the story, the lines between Verity’s reality and her fictional writings become increasingly blurred, leading the reader to question what is true.
The Ethical Responsibilities of Writers:
The book raises questions about the responsibilities of authors in portraying truth and fiction, and how their words can impact real people. It delves into the ethical considerations that writers face, especially when their work blurs the line between reality and fiction.
“Some families are lucky enough to never experience a single tragedy. But then there are those families that seem to have tragedies waiting on the back burner. What can go wrong, goes wrong. And then gets worse.”
“I think the idea of me is better than the reality of me.”
“It’s what you do when you’ve experienced the worst of the worst. You seek out people like you…people worse off than you…and you use them to make yourself feel better about the terrible things that have happened to you.”
“You can’t look at someone the way he looked at me—with the entirety of his past—without also imagining the future.”
“The world was her manuscript. No surface was safe.”
“Find what you love and let it kill you.”
“I wasn’t heroic. I wasn’t simple. I was difficult. An emotionally challenging puzzle he wasn’t up for solving.”
“What you read will taste so bad at times, you’ll want to spit it out, but you’ll swallow these words and they will become part of you, part of your gut, and you will hurt because of them.”
“Most people come to New York to be discovered. The rest of us come here to hide.”
“A writer should never have the audacity to write about themselves unless they’re willing to separate every layer of protection between the author’s soul and their book. The words should come directly from the center of the gut, tearing through flesh and bone as they break free. Ugly and honest and bloody and a little bit terrifying, but completely exposed.”
“I stretch truths where I see fit. I’m a writer.”
“I needed for the imaginary version of my world to be darker than my real world. Otherwise, I would have wanted to leave them both.”
“Verity” is a masterfully crafted thriller that weaves a complex web of lies, secrets, and psychological turmoil. Colleen Hoover’s writing is sharp and engaging, making the book a page-turner. The characters are well-developed and their emotional struggles feel authentic, creating a deep connection with the reader. The plot twists are unexpected and leave a lasting impact. The exploration of the darker aspects of human nature is both disturbing and fascinating, making “Verity” a memorable read.
To dive deeper into themes similar to those in “Verity,” readers can explore other psychological thrillers that examine the complexities of human relationships and the consequences of secrets. Reading works by authors like Gillian Flynn or Paula Hawkins can provide further insight into this genre.
In my own life, “Verity” has inspired a greater awareness of the complexities and nuances in relationships. It serves as a reminder to approach interactions with others with empathy and an open mind, understanding that everyone has their own struggles and truths.
Reflect on your own relationships and consider if there are areas where greater honesty and openness could be beneficial. Even a small step towards understanding and empathizing with others can lead to healthier and more meaningful connections.