Release Date: December 10, 2018
My Rating: 🍪🍪🍪🍪.5
This book was the epitome of a thriller. It was a wild ride from start to finish, and I could not flip the pages fast enough. I will preface my review with this: I am not a big romance reader. Picking up a Colleen Hoover novel was distinctly out of character for me. That being said. This is not a romance. Sure, romance exists within the story, and there is (lots of very detailed) sex, but it doesn’t define the story enough to push it into the romance genre. I will repeat, however: there is a lot of sex. If you’re reading this on crowded public transportation, you’ve been warned. I was not warned. I kept the pages very close to my face on the train.
Lowen Ashleigh (what an epic character name — I would love to hear how Hoover comes up with names) is a writer. Well, a struggling writer. Her books have done fine, and she seems content with that reality. She does not aspire to be famous, or have a big fan base, and, in fact, gets utterly terrified when meeting readers. When her manager tells her he has set up a meeting with her and a client, Lowen doesn’t know what to expect. Her mother recently passed away, and she finds herself in solitude, and quickly running out of money.
On the way to the meeting, Lowen runs into dreamy and caring Jeremy Crawford who, spoiler alert, just happens to be going to the same meeting. I smell romance. Crawford’s wife, Verity, an acclaimed author of thrillers (some writer inception going on here) was recently injured beyond the ability to complete her series. The request of Lowen is simple: complete the final books in Verity’s series. Although incredibly uncertain about the entire situation, the hefty payment Lowen is offered, along with the recurring eviction notices on her apartment door, push her to accept.
The majority of this story takes place in the Crawford home, as Lowen struggles to get inside Verity’s head to understand her writing process, and hopefully discover where she intended to take her series. The Crawford’s house, although not described as inherently creepy, was a terrifying setting. Lowen sleeps alone on the first floor in Verity and Jeremy’s bedroom, while Jeremy stays upstairs with his son Crew, and Verity lays, practically comatose, in her own room. Behind the house sprawls a lake, from which Jeremy pulled one of his drowned daughters months earlier — following the death of her twin sister. If nothing else, the house seems cursed. Add to that Lowen’s history of sleepwalking, and her subsequent terror of herself. She requests that she be locked in her room each night to ensure she stays where she is supposed to. Yikes.
The attraction between Jeremy and Lowen is electric, and especially devilish with his wife barely conscious upstairs. It was hard to parse out how to feel about their relationship. Once Lowen discovers an unpublished autobiography hidden in Verity’s office, it appears that she may not be at all the wife and mother Jeremy believes her to be. Does that justify infidelity?
Lowen’s increasing paranoia constantly kept me guessing. I was a little incredulous about some of the discoveries in the final chapters, but the ultimate twist left me shocked. You know when you get to a crazy twist in a book only to discover that there’s another even bigger twist that negates the first one? Yeah, that happened.
By the end of the story, I completely lost track of whether or not Lowen actually finished (or even started trying to finish) Verity’s series. Although that was the entire premise of the setup, it seemed to lose all relevance as the plot picked up. There is a distinct possibility that this was addressed, and I was just distracted by all the sex and secrecy.
My Rating: 🍪🍪🍪🍪.5
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