37 pages 1 hour read

Colleen Hoover

Verity

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2021

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Summary and Study Guide

Overview

Self-published in 2018, Verity is a psychological thriller that follows the journey of writer Lowen Ashleigh as she travels to Vermont to work as the new co-writer for a popular series of books written by the renowned Verity Crawford. Written from the perspectives of both Verity and Lowen, Verity explores violence, trauma, and truth.

Plot Summary

Writer Lowen Ashleigh sees a man die on the way to a meeting with her publisher. She is aided by a handsome stranger named Jeremy Crawford. They bond immediately and share their recent personal experiences with grief. Verity has recently lost her mother to cancer. Jeremy lost both his twin daughters within six months of each other. They separate but soon discover that they are both headed to the same meeting at Pantem Press. Jeremy is the husband of Verity Crawford, an esteemed writer who is unable to finish the three remaining books in her popular series The Noble Virtues. The deal presented to Lowen asks her to complete the books for a substantial payment. Facing eviction, Lowen takes the deal and agrees to travel to Vermont to gather notes from Verity’s office. Before leaving, Lowen’s literary agent and former lover Corey warns her to be careful given the suspicious nature of Verity’s car accident, which has left her immobilized.

Lowen arrives in Vermont. She meets the one surviving Crawford child named Crew, a five-year-old boy. Uneasy, Lowen attempts to settle in and begin her work. She soon discovers a manuscript titled So Be It which she takes to be Verity’s autobiography but is in fact a writing exercise in which Verity explores violent impulses to develop her understanding of characters. The autobiography begins by detailing Verity and Jeremy’s first meeting and their active sex life. As Lowen reads, she catches Verity staring at her and grows increasingly more threatened by her presence.

Disturbed by the content of the manuscript, Lowen suspects that Verity played a role in the deaths of her daughters. Lowen and Jeremy’s relationship grows more intimate and they almost kiss. Lowen reads about Verity giving birth to the twins Harper and Chastin and how she neglects them during the day while Jeremy is at work.

Lowen sleepwalks and wakes up in Verity’s bed. She confides in Jeremy about a traumatic experience at the age of 10 that resulted in her mother’s neglect of her and a two-week psychiatric evaluation. Jeremy comforts Lowen. To ease Lowen’s mind, Jeremy places a lock on the outside of Lowen’s bedroom.

Lowen reads about Verity’s dream of Harper killing Chastin. This leads Verity to attempt to kill Harper by forcing her to swallow her own vomit. Jeremy stops her before she is successful. Verity gets pregnant with Crew as a means of appeasing an agitated Jeremy who believes Verity is not treating Harper fairly.

On the eve of her 32nd birthday, Lowen unwinds with Jeremy. They begin to have sex. Lowen sees Verity watching them from the top of the stairs. Lowen decides to finish the autobiography and then determine whether to tell Jeremy the truth about Verity. She reads that Chastin died at a sleepover because of an allergic reaction. Verity becomes convinced Harper played a role in the death of her sister. On her birthday, Lowen is briefly left alone with Verity whom she confronts. Verity does not move. Later that evening, Lowen suggests Jeremy place Verity in a nursing facility to ease the burden of caring for her.

Lowen about Harper’s drowning in the lake. Verity capsizes the canoe intentionally and does not attempt to rescue Harper. Jeremy informs Lowen that Verity will be moving to a nursing facility on Monday and asks Lowen to stay for another week. She agrees. They have unprotected sex.

Alone with Crew, Lowen asks him questions about the day of Harper’s death. Crew accidentally cuts himself with a knife. Jeremy takes him to get stitches and leaves Lowen alone with Verity. Lowen places a baby monitor in Verity’s room and locks the door. She watches the monitor and reads the last chapter of the manuscript. Verity’s manuscript ends with Jeremy questioning Verity’s involvement in the death of Harper. In response, Verity considers death by suicide.

Jeremy returns. On the baby monitor, Lowen catches Verity on the floor of her bedroom. She runs upstairs to confront Verity once again. Jeremy grabs Lowen and demands she leave. Lowen finally gives the manuscript to Jeremy and asks him to read it. Jeremy confronts Verity himself and threatens to call the police. Verity opens her eyes. Jeremy begins to choke her. Lowen stops him and then suggests he kill Verity in the same way she tried to kill Harper as a baby. Jeremy forces Verity to choke on her own vomit. Lowen and Jeremy vow never to speak about what happened.

Seven months after Verity’s death, a pregnant Lowen, Jeremy, and Crew arrive back in Vermont. Lowen discovers a letter from Verity to Jeremy that details how Verity’s manuscript was a writing exercise called antagonistic journaling to help Verity get in the mind of her villainous characters. Verity reveals how Jeremy discovered the manuscript in the days following Harper’s death and then staged a car accident in an attempt to kill her. Verity admits to staring at Lowen, locking her in her room, and planning to run away with Crew. Lowen decides to destroy the letter to preserve Jeremy’s peace. She vows to carry the secret to her grave.

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