Verity Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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A number-one best seller in several categories with over 14,000 five-star ratings on Goodreads.
From the number-one New York Times best-selling and award-winning author Colleen Hoover comes "A stand-alone romantic thriller that is tragic, creepy, and brilliant!" (Mel Reader Reviews)
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 best-selling 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 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.
Sexy. Twisted. Consuming.
Due to graphic scenes and mature content, this book is recommended for listeners 18+.
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|Listening Length||8 hours and 10 minutes|
|Narrator||Vanessa Johansson, Amy Landon|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||May 07, 2019|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #158 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#1 in Romantic Suspense (Audible Books & Originals)
#26 in Suspense (Audible Books & Originals)
#41 in Romantic Suspense (Books)
Reviewed in the United States on July 9, 2022
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A handsome stranger escorts her into a coffee shop bathroom and literally gives her the shirt off his back. They chat briefly, and Loewn concludes that he "wants to be invisible in this city. Just like me." After all, she moved to New York to become part of the city's invisible millions of invisible residents. Her books have not sold well enough for her publisher to offer her another contract unless she agrees to promote them, something she has refused to do in the past. "I'm so awkward I'm afraid once my readers meet me in person, they'll swear off my books forever," Lowen laments. "That's why I stay home and write. I think the idea of me is better than the reality of me." But another contract was her last hope. She took time off from her writing career believing that her mother would leave her some money. Now, having lived off the advance she received after signing her prior contract, she has learned that she will receive nothing from her mother's estate. And be homeless soon, unless she receives a job offer.
When Lowen arrives at her publisher's office, she is shocked to find the man whose shirt she is wearing is attending the same meeting. He is Jeremy Crawford, husband of Verity, a very successful author who is unable to complete the series of books she was writing. Lowen is being offered a flat fee of seventy-five thousand dollars per book to write the last three volumes in the series, with the first installment due in six months. Lowen is determined to turn down the offer until Jeremy informs her that he selected her because Verity read one of Lowen's books and it was among her favorites. She purportedly told Jeremy that they shared a similar writing style and Lowen was destined to be "the next big thing." Verity has been catastrophically injured in a motor vehicle accident, following the deaths of both of her daughters, Chastin and Harper, leaving Jeremy to raise their young son, Crew, alone. Lowen ultimately agrees to take on the project.
Lowen makes the six-hour drive to the Crawford home in Vermont, listening to the audio version of the first book in the series en route. She is to spend time in Verity's office, reviewing the research and notes she left there in order to assess how best to approach writing the next book. Lowen meets Crew and learns that Verity's condition is extremely serious. She is in a virtually catatonic state -- uncommunicative and unable to care for herself. Caregivers spend the day in the home, with Jeremy managing at night. Lowen soon discovers that Verity's office lacks organization -- her expansive desk is strewn with stacks from end to end with papers and files, and boxes containing more documents line the walls. Clearly, the process of sorting through it all will take much longer than Lowen originally anticipated. As she begins reading Verity's second book, she realizes the "books are from the villain's point of view" and she will need "time to work myself into that mindset while writing." Jeremy claims that he has never read Verity's books because he "didn't like being inside her head."
Author Colleen Hoover recounts Lowen's story via a first-person narrative, with the story really taking off as Lowen attempts to settles into the Crawford home. She is keenly observant and inquisitive about Verity's writing, as well as her family, and quickly finds herself attracted to Jeremy, who is still married to the incapacitated woman being cared for in an upstairs bedroom. Searching through Verity's office, Lowen stumbles upon a manuscript entitled "So Be It." Verity hopes it is an outline for the next book, but it is instead an autobiography drafted by Verity. Reading it is not what she has been hired to do, but she justifies her insatiable curiosity by construing her review of the manuscript as research. "I need to see how Verity's mind works to understand her as a writer." Soon she is absorbed in Verity's descriptions of meeting Jeremy, the development of their relationship and the early days of their marriage, as well as her pregnancies and motherhood. The more she reads, the more frightened of Verity Lowen becomes, especially when events she observes appear to be inconsistent with what she has been told about Verity's condition. Nonetheless, Lowen continues returning to the manuscript to better understand the Crawford family's history, and gain insight into Jeremy and Verity's marriage. But Lowen is playing a dangerous game. Verity's purported autobiography is a dark and disturbing confession of Verity's feelings, motivations, and unspeakably vile acts. Lowen believes the manuscript to be an accurate depiction of Verity's life, and concludes that it "was written by a very disturbed woman -- a woman whose house I currently inhabit."
Hoover ramps up the tension as Lowen becomes entangled in a budding relationship with Jeremy, influenced heavily by what she is reading in the manuscript. Verity's revelations are horrifying, and as Lowen and Jeremy grow closer, he increasingly opens up to her, sharing details of his life with Verity about which Lowen feigns ignorance. Lowen's suspicions about the accident in which Verity was injured grow. Is Jeremy being completely honest with Lowen? Why is he willing to embark on a new relationship with Lowen when his wife, although injured, is still alive? He claims that he cannot move Verity to a care facility because Crew cannot sustain another loss. While Verity is cared for in their home, Crew can spend unlimited amounts of time at her bedside. Lowen now possesses detailed information about the deaths of Jeremy's daughters. Were their deaths really tragic accidents? Is Crew safe?
Hoover's characters are both fascinating and infuriating. The story is related solely from Lowen's perspective. Her childhood was difficult because of her sleepwalking and the way it detrimentally impacted her relationship with her mother. She has achieved modest success as a writer, but because of her discomfort in social situations, her career growth has been stymied. She accepts the offer to write Verity's next three books because she desperately needs the money, but also because it is an opportunity too good to pass up. But she is confused not only by her burgeoning attraction to Jeremy, but the incongruity between what she has been told about Verity's accident and what transpires in the house. Of course, Lowen's feelings and experiences are colored by the information set forth in the manuscript. Interestingly, Hoover has said that even when she depicts Lowen reading Verity's manuscript, readers are "still not fully in Verity’s head because we’re always in Lowen’s perspective, reading something she found. When I write a book from one character’s point of view, I rarely think about the story from the other character’s perspectives. Sometimes it’s necessary for certain scenes, but with this book, it was important for me to feel the confusion and fear Lowen felt. So as the author, I had to be completely blind to what was happening from everyone else's perspectives." Still, as the story progresses, Hoover keeps readers guessing as to how gullible and vulnerable Lowen really is. She believes the manuscript is truthful and accurate, and that Jeremy is not the villain -- if, in fact there is a villain in the Crawfords' story. But could Lowen possibly be opportunistic, calculating, and willing to do anything to be with Jeremy?
Jeremy is equally captivating. He is handsome, charming, successful, and by all outward appearances, a family man who has sustained unimaginable losses who has been able to soldier on only because he has a young son to raise. To be fair, although Verity's prognosis is never affirmatively established, his desire to move on with his life is understandable -- Verity sustained a serious head injury which will, in all likelihood, preclude her from resuming a fully normal life. But was his meeting with Lowen on the street just before the meeting at her publisher's office really just coincidental? Did he intend for her to find the manuscript in Verity's office? Has he been fully aware of its contents all along? About that, Hoover says, "I’m not sure because I was never in Jeremy’s head." In other words, readers can draw their own conclusions, based on the evidence Hoover does present.
And what about Verity? Is she selfishly conniving and evil, as the manuscript suggests? Or is she a blameless grieving mother who was tragically injured in a horrific car accident?
The manuscript provides myriad complications. Lowen debates whether she should discuss it with Jeremy. She doesn't believe he is aware of its existence or content. He claimed he never read Verity's books, after all. Lowen learns that Verity was injured when her vehicle hit a tree, but there were no skidmarks on the pavement. She concludes Verity "either fell asleep or she did it on purpose." Does it matter to Lowen which scenario is accurate? What conclusion has Jeremy drawn about the cause of the accident?
Putting aside the perspective from which the story is told, no aspect of the story or the characters can be accepted at face value. Hoover includes plot twists so shocking and unnerving that Verity, originally published in 2018, continues to be one of the most-discussed psychological thrillers ever written. (There is even a Facebook discussion group devoted to the book, boasting nearly twenty-five thousand members!) The book is fast-paced, engrossing, and extremely entertaining. The story's pace gradually accelerates with each surprising development and breath-taking revelations of the truth or, perhaps, a manipulated version of the truth. The tale careens to a jaw-dropping conclusion that will keep readers thinking, discussing, and debating Hoover's extremely clever and nuanced tale, as well as her deliciously intriguing and morally ambiguous characters (who may prove themselves to be not as ambiguous as originally thought) for a very, very long time. Hoover says she "chose the ending because it’s frightening to me. It’s my biggest nightmare For the darkness in the worlds I create as a writer to somehow" intrude into her real life.
Thanks to Grand Central Publishing for a copy of the book.
Knowing the choices were limited Lowen agrees and moves into the home that Verity shares with her son and husband Jeremy. It was Jeremy that brokered the deal connecting their lives and showing Lowen into the private domain where Verity wrote. Verity created deeply disturbed and troubled characters that Lowen felt came from a place she might struggle to recreate. When Lowen discovers not notes or a manuscript from Verity’s desk, but a journal of her life the question becomes is this literary research or an invasion of privacy.
Verity is trapped in a bed with no supposed understanding of what is going on in the world around her, but Lowen questions how much Verity knows and comprehends along with the fact that there is a possibility Verity is faking the entire ordeal. As Lowen moves deeper and deeper into the mind of what could only be a psychopath, she starts to wonder if everything she believed about this family and these people is a huge deception or a trick of her own mind. The difficulty Lowen is facing is the fact that Jeremy is someone she is drawn to romantically and that could be the biggest mistake of them all, especially with his wife potentially in perfect health, maybe.
This book is too terrifying to read and you are incapable of putting it down because you have to know what is behind the next door.
Top reviews from other countries
I hate romance novels as they don’t really reflect real life - they are far too convenient - woman meets handsome man, they fall in love and it’s all perfect - and they really undermine the idea that women can live happy fulfilled lives without being in a relationship at all times. Anyway, I hate romance and this is really just a romance with a slightly odd twist to it.
I’m glad it s a short book as it meant I didn’t waste more than a day on it and it’s safe to say I won’t be reading any more “CoHo” books ever again!
I'm not going to say that I enjoyed the diary excerpts; they are deeply, deeply disturbing. However, they felt real and whilst I certainly couldn't empathise with the person behind them, they are very good at forcing you to see through her eyes at the world. It is frightening at points and it is easy to get sucked into the fear and the disgust that Lowen is feeling. Characterisations are generally quite well done, although the gratuitous and constant sex became tedious rather quickly. I felt like I was getting to know all of the characters, with all their faults and whilst I wouldn't want to go on holiday with any of them, they definitely felt real. Each and every one of these characters is flawed and each and every one feels utterly real.
It is also a realistic glimpse at the very nature of grief and loss without ever becoming preachy, with all three adult characters grieving for someone close to them in very different ways. The concept of grieving for someone who you don't particularly like all that much is also woven into the narrative quite well, and how that gives a different but no less raw experience. I did however think more could have been done with the child; at times he seemed to be there just for the cuteness factor and his reactions and interpretations of what is going on could have been utilised to a far greater extent. I liked the kid, but that's all that I can say about him. He's in therapy, then he's not in therapy, he doesn't mention the girls and he loves his mother and he's back in therapy. There's no emotional pull with him though, it's all surface platitudes.
A full star gets knocked off however due to the constant use of sex as a blunt implement throughout this novel. It's almost every other page and it got really boring. If it's not Verity being screwed by Jeremy in her diary, it's Lowen thinking about screwing Jeremy or actually screwing Jeremy. I'm no prude and I have no issue with sexual content in books, but the over-reliance on it here really did work against it. I could see that it was part of how Hoover is building Verity's character, but it did very little for me. It's a pity because otherwise I flew through this dark and nasty book at a rate of knots, desperate to find out just what was going on and just as confused and horrified as Lowen.
Here comes the spoiler....
Crew is plain old creepy but always kept in the background. What would have been a nail bitten ending was if he tipped the boat. If instead of his butter knife incident, he could have blamed it on the visitor.
But no. This book is as "shocking" as the lables on orange juice are "vegetarian".
At least here in the UK they feel the need to let buyers know that in this bottle of 100% organically squeezed oranges...that there is NOT a single drop of blood. That's nice of them, if I were a moron.
Not to be so cruel to just one nation... we live in a time when the professionals feel it is necessary to print out instructions on a box of Pop-Tarts!
If you enjoy reading books, but are ironically looking up on Google the vegetarianess of a box of fruit juice- then this book might just be your cuppa!
The opening chapters are set in New York, where we are introduced to one of the main characters, Lowen Ashleigh, who is barely making a living as a novelist. For the past few months she has been spending much of her time confined to her apartment, where she has been nursing her very sick mother. As a result of her mother’s demands, and being threatened with eviction by her landlord, Lowen is depressed, so has been struggling to get creative and write anything publishable. Then, out of the blue, she gets a call from her agent, who suggests there may be a writing opportunity in the pipeline which could be financially beneficial to her. However, her short walk to her agents office is interrupted by a terrible road accident, which Lowen unfortunately witnesses, There follows several events which soon makes this an intriguing, twisty, sometimes very tense tale. Readers need to know that the author pulls no punches when it comes to portraying someone at their worst, someone who will tell you their most evil thoughts, and describe in detail their despicable, violent actions, and their most intimate racy, sexual experiences. I hasten to add that this is not done in an overly gratuitous way, but it is very much like witnessing a car crash - much as you don’t want to be privy to the carnage, human nature will often make us look anyway, even if it is between the gaps in our fingers!
By the way, for me, there are far too many details revealed on the back cover of this novel, so I would implore you NOT TO READ THEM! Instead, find some quality time to yourself, and choose a comfortable place to sit. Then pick up your copy of Verity, open it to that very first sentence, in that opening chapter, and start your journey by reading ‘I hear the crack of his skull before the splattering of blood reaches me……’
Hopefully, like me, you’ll be blown away by this story which grabbed me from the very beginning and never let me go until I’d reluctantly turned that very last page. Full of surprises, this was indeed a dark and edgy tale which provided the best sort of edgy escapism I could hope for. Highly recommended.
📖 + 📚 = 🙂