Have you ever read a book all the way through just to close it for the last time and say “wow, that was bleak”? Well, I’m here to make the case for those dark, dreary, haunting, and disturbing reads that keep you up at night long after you put them down. Welcome to Bleak Books with Olivia, your resident creepy book lover at the Aurora Public Library District.
I believe I am well overdue to hop on the Hoover Train. Her books have been flying off the shelves at our branches, and film rights have even been purchased already for some of her novels. Verity came to me in a peculiar way: I was in a long-distance book club with friends and we had already read It Ends With Us, another one of Hoover’s standalones. Although I wasn’t a massive fan of that book, my book club convinced me to give Colleen another try with Verity, and boy, I did not know what I was getting myself into.
Verity introduces us to Lowen Ashleigh, a down-on-her luck author barely scraping by in New York City. She is about to be evicted when a wonderful opportunity caused by tragic events presents itself: fellow author Verity Crawford, who has experienced a James Patterson-level of success, was in a car accident and is catatonic, but her bestselling series remains unfinished. Jeremy, Verity’s husband, meets Lowen and asks her to take on the reins and ghostwrite for her to make the fans satisfied. Lowen hesitantly agrees, doubting her abilities, but is still whisked away to the Crawford estate, where she is meant to go through Verity’s notes and finish her series. She moves in with the family, including the couple’s son, Crew, and finds herself falling for Jeremy, the kindhearted pseudo-widow.
But, just up the stairs, Verity lies unconscious, but alive. Lowen can’t seem to shake the feeling that Verity is more aware and awake than first understood. This, paired with a frightening and disturbing manuscript found by Lowen that is seemingly written by Verity before her accident, slowly convinces Lowen that all is not as it seems.
This novel was stunningly unhinged. It was everything that modern Gothic fiction should be: terrifying, shocking, and a little absurd at times. Sure, there were some parts in this novel that made me roll my eyes at the sheer ridiculousness of the situation, but for the rest of the novel, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. The end was breathtaking, to say the very least. I would recommend this book just based on pure shock value. Stick with horror, Colleen!
Thank you for joining me on this dissection of one of my favorite Bleak Books. I hope to see you again sometime soon! Please take a look in the Adult and Teen Fiction section at the Aurora and Dillsboro Public Libraries for my favorite Bleak Books, or check out our e-books on Libby. If you are looking for this specific title, you can use our catalog to locate it or ask a librarian for help! If you meet me in the library and have any Bleak Books suggestions, please let me know! I’m always looking for a new book to disrupt my life for a couple of weeks.