- Author: Colleen Hoover
- Genre: Romantic Thriller
- Publication Date: December 10, 2018
- Publisher: Independently Published
CONTENT WARNING: blood, death, mention of cancer, mention of death of a child, mention of suicide, mention of abortion, fatphobia, grief
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 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.
Now that I’ve finally read one Colleen Hoover book, I am officially hooked. This one absolutely blew my mind, even more than the first one I read (All Your Perfects), and rather than staying firmly in the romance genre, this one crosses over into suspense with some romance. And let me tell you — it was very suspenseful.
It starts out with Lowen witnessing a horrific accident, which shakes up her entire day. She is on her way to a mysterious meeting with her publisher, and encounters a stranger on her way to the meeting. I was absolutely shocked right at the start, and incredibly invested in the story immediately. It also gave me time to get to know Lowen, and although I found her a little frustrating in the beginning, she was actually a pretty intriguing character.
“I moved to this city to be invisible, but I am certainly not impenetrable. It’s something I’ve been working on—attempting to become as hardened as the concrete beneath my feet. It hasn’t been working out so well.”
Before long, she finds herself living in Verity and Jeremy’s house, trying to find Verity’s outlines for the remaining books she is now contracted to finish. Instead, she finds something completely different — Verity’s autobiography. And while she’s initially conflicted about reading it, she finds a way around her moral ambivalence:
“But if Verity is putting so much of herself into her series, I really do need to get to know her as well as possible. This really isn’t snooping. It’s research. There you go. Justification complete.”
Instead, she finds out that Verity’s story is a lot more than she ever expected to know about her. It’s incredibly personal, and we also get to read full chapters of the autobiography itself. What Lowen doesn’t count on finding is perhaps too much detail about the people she is staying with, and as she got deeper into the story, I found myself on the edge of my seat, completely unable to stop reading.
“I do need more time. But two weeks in this house? With a woman who scares me, a manuscript I shouldn’t be reading, and a man I know way too many intimate details about? It’s not a good idea. None of it is good.”
I wasn’t expecting there to be so many twists and turns in this story, but I didn’t mind. It’s a bit graphic and really disturbing, and I could feel the tension ratchet up throughout the story. This is the type of story that I just couldn’t put down, needing to find out what happened next at every step of the way. And there’s a standout romance that runs throughout the story.
I couldn’t help but fall in love with Jeremy, as we get to learn more about who he is. However, I definitely wasn’t prepared for some of the twists in the story. This didn’t make me enjoy the book any less, though. Instead, I had to request a bunch more Colleen Hoover books through my local library. And I am well and truly hooked on her writing, no matter which genre she writes in. This one was very well-written, and the plot twists are incredibly jarring, but in the best possible way.
People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.
Gasp Factor: 9
Categories: Book Review
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