I don’t know what to say. This book really surprised me. Hoover hits on a great mix of themes from works like Jane Eyre and Rebecca to draw you in. Then you get a surprise ending that had me going what in the world and I wanted to dive back into the book all over again. I think that the first part of the book may start off a bit slow for readers, but by the time the heroine (Lowen) finds Verity’s autobiography you are going to be hooked.
“Verity” follows Lowen Ashleigh a struggling writer living in New York. Lowen has just buried her mother who she had a tough relationship with and now realizes she’s heavily in debt due to her mother’s medical bills. Lowen meets with her literary agent and is given a surprising offer about finishing up the last 3 books in a best selling series. The author, Verity Crawford is in a vegetative state and can’t finish her series. Lowen initially balks, but when she realizes that the man she ran into earlier is also the husband of Verity she agrees. From there Lowen travels to Vermont to finish the series and while there in the home that Verity and Jeremy share, Lowen starts to find out more about the Crawford’s and their lives together.
I thought Hoover did a great job with developing Lowen. Lowen is a middling author who writes thrillers. When she is told that Verity herself read her work and liked it and thought that they were similar enough to each other’s writing styles it tips her over a bit more when she decides to finish off the series. We get some insight into how Lowen writes and how she sees herself. She never quite feels good enough for her mother, her place in the world, or even with her writing. When she ends up staying with Jeremy and his young son Crew she slowly starts to fall for Jeremy. After she finds Verity’s hidden autobiography though I think that Lowen starts to obsess a bit about Jeremy as well as Verity and their life together.
Even though readers find Verity to be incapacitated when Lowen meets her, we also get to see a side of her via her autobiography. I have to say that Rebecca had nothing on Verity and leave it at that. I also loved the question that it raises about Verity when you get to the ending too.
The other characters in the book, Jeremy, Crew, the nurse, and even Lowen’s agent/former boyfriend take on life in this one. As a reader I did wonder if Jeremy was as he seemed to Lowen, or was he the man that we get to see via Verity’s writing.
The writing I thought was great. Going back and forth between Lowen and Verity was wonderfully done and each chapter’s tension builds on each other. I found myself tense while reading and wondering what would happen next.
The setting of the house is ominous and dark. Not built up like Manderley was in Rebecca, but definitely a house with a lot of secrets.
The ending was quite explosive. I don’t know what to think based on the revelation we are given, but one wonders about Lowen and the secrets that people keep.