Goodreads Book Blurb:

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 what really happened the day her daughter died.

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.


My Review:

A lack of commitment is the only thing that lets Verity down. All the roots are there, but they’re shallow and baseless. We’ll talk about this under a spoiler tag because this book doesn’t work at all if you go in with any hints.

There are three ways this could have worked better:

1) Verity is the psychopath. In this scenario, Verity’s manuscript is the truth. This leaves Lowen and Jeremy with no choice but to save Crew from her clutches. This only works if Jeremy had not already read the manuscript and had not already twice attempted to murder his wife.

2) Lowen is the psychopath. She finds out early that Verity is faking her coma, and she uses the manuscript – which is obviously a fake writing exercise – as a tool to manipulate Jeremy. This drives a wedge between him and his wife so Lowen can seduce Jeremy. Meanwhile, she befriends Crew and slowly convinces Jeremy that Verity is dangerous and he has to get rid of her. All while getting pregnant purposefully to trap him and force him to leave his life for her.

3) Jeremy is the psychopath. In this, my favourite scenario, Verity’s manuscript is still the truth, but Jeremy has always been aware of his wife’s feelings about children and being a mother. This means that Jeremy has been gaslighting and manipulating Verity from the beginning, playing the long game and completely aware of everything going on with the children. At the time of the story, he’s already moved on to Lowen as his next victim and has begun manipulating her while completing his end game with Verity. So many psychopathic actions: seducing Lowen while Verity can watch but not react as she fakes her coma, watching Lowen as she reads the manuscript and begins to suspect Verity, and then using Lowen as a tool to murder Verity – after he’s already impregnated her – to trap her so he can start the game over again. Jeremy has a lot of potential as a psychopath, and this seems the most likely, the most believable, and the most exciting of the scenarios. He could have been watching Lowen even before their first meeting and used the pedestrian death as a way to get close to her before she even knew what was going on. Besides, the two murder attempts do not tell the story of a sane man.

So yeah, if Hoover had committed to the story she was writing, any of those three scenarios would’ve been great. I’m definitely not a writer; that’s just where I saw this story going. While reading, I was convinced it would end up in one of these three directions and instead, we got a soft middle ground with only a hint of maybe something darker. If you’re going to go dark, go dark.

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