I can’t believe I just read that with my own two eyes.
When Lowen receives an offer to take over writing the bestselling series of Verity Crawford after an accident leaves her catatonic, it is an offer she can’t refuse. In desperate need of money, she moves into Verity’s house to begin studying her notes. What she doesn’t expect is the budding romance between her and Verity’s husband…or finding Verity’s autobiographical manuscript. As each twist of the manuscript leads her deeper into the mind of Verity, Lowen begins to wonder who exactly in the house she can trust.
So I guess my new thing is comparing every domestic thriller I read to Gone Girl but, this really reminded me of gone girl toward the end. Once again, pretty unbelievable, but also very compelling. The characters were dark and twisty, untrustworthy, and larger than life. The flipping perspectives between Lowen and the manuscript felt a lot like flipping to Amy’s diary. The villain was diabolical, and for sure the main character. It left me questioning everything throughout the book, even after the ending.
And yet, for the first time in the life of my blog, I’m not giving a book a rating. I genuinely don’t know how to with this one. Despite it being a page turner, I really wouldn’t say it was enjoyable. Now, I don’t think it was supposed to be enjoyable, so I have to say the writing style was successful. But you have to be okay with reading a certain amount of graphic violence in order to be a fan of this book, and I don’t fall into that category.
The depictions of child abuse were downright horrifying. When I read reviews saying this was a book that was exceptionally creepy, I was super excited. I was hoping for some Rebecca or Coraline style fear-factor, where you don’t want to read without have daylight streaming through your windows. Something not necessarily paranormal, but that sets you on the edge of your seat. But that really wasn’t what I got. It wasn’t “creepy” in a horror sense, but creepy in a “wow this is really disturbing and uncomfortable to read how is it possible for someone to even write this” way.
At the same time, I couldn’t put it down. It was like watching a car accident. I didn’t want to read it, but I also couldn’t look away. It was suspenseful, unlike anything I had read before, and brought up some interesting questions. Where is the boundary between reality and fiction, and is there ever a point where you cross a line in writing? At what point in trying to get into the mindset of a villain can you actually become the villain? CoHo definitely has a skill for drawing readers in. She writes absolutely gut-wrenching and heartbreaking stories. However I think the 14 year old me that appreciated her unpredictability and huge plot twists has grown up. I’m all for emotional books, but I can see this one being emotionally scarring.
I get why this book found its audience, and that people appreciate the shock value. But I think, sadly, I’m moving on from CoHo books.
happy reading (:
Intended audience: Adult
Content warnings: graphic child abuse, attempted murder, murder, drowning, car accident, death of a loved one, cancer, adultery