Step into the captivating world of “Verity” by Colleen Hoover, where the lines between truth and deception blur into a heart-pounding tale. Join Lowen Ashleigh, a desperate writer teetering on the edge of financial ruin, as she embarks on a life-changing opportunity.
Entrusted by Jeremy Crawford, husband of the revered author Verity Crawford, Lowen dives into completing Verity’s bestselling series. But as she delves into Verity’s chaotic office, she stumbles upon a hidden manuscript—a chilling autobiography never meant to be read.
With secrets that could shatter lives, Lowen must grapple with her own desires and the weight of a devastating truth.
In this discussion guide, we will have a look at some amazing book club questions for Verity and try to understand that the thin line between trust and deception is something that most of us often misunderstand.
And in case you want to read what the book is about and know my opinion, I have a detailed blog post here – Verity by Colleen Hoover Book Review.
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Verity Book Club Questions for Discussion
- The narrative of “Verity” significantly hinges on the ambiguity surrounding Verity’s true character and intentions. The conflicting stories present in her unpublished memoir “So Be It” and the final handwritten letter give rise to uncertainty regarding her feelings towards her children, and her role in the unfortunate events that befall them.
In your view, what evidence in the book supports or contradicts the possibility that “So Be It” was indeed a writing exercise, and how does this influence your interpretation of Verity’s character and actions throughout the novel?
- The themes of trust and deception play a crucial role in “Verity.” Lowen’s relationship with Jeremy evolves on the foundation of trust, but it gets complicated when the revelations about Verity and Jeremy’s past surface, especially when Lowen discovers the letter left by Verity.
How do you perceive Lowen’s decision to destroy Verity’s letter and its implications regarding her trust in Jeremy, given that it could potentially expose him as the instigator of the staged car accident?
- Hoover’s novel is profoundly focused on the characters’ personal traumas, exploring how these burdens shape their behaviors, interactions, and relationships. All of the characters, from Lowen, who has a history of caregiving, ostracization, and grief, to Verity and Jeremy, who lost their children, carry significant emotional baggage. These experiences of trauma limit the characters’ ability to connect effectively and forge meaningful relationships, reflecting a broader commentary on the lasting effects of trauma on human connection.
- A critical component of “Verity” is the exploration of love and jealousy in relationships, particularly in the complex dynamics between Jeremy, Verity, and their unborn children. Verity’s apparent attempt to induce a miscarriage due to Jeremy’s perceived preference for their children provides a disturbing insight into her character.
How does Verity’s intense jealousy shape her relationship with Jeremy, and what does it reveal about her perception of love and attachment?
- Both Lowen and Verity have a complex relationship with truth, largely due to their individual traumatic experiences. Verity’s disturbing autobiography, where she paints herself as a dangerously obsessive mother, and Lowen’s defensive reticence about her past reflect their respective struggles to confront their personal truths. The novel presents a compelling exploration of how trauma can warp perceptions of truth, as evidenced by Lowen’s misconceptions about Verity based on the manuscript.
How does the novel’s exploration of trauma-induced distortions of truth shape our understanding of Verity and Lowen’s characters, and how does this contribute to the novel’s broader narrative tension and plot twists?
- The use of violence in Verity serves multiple narrative purposes. Each main character, from Lowen to Jeremy and Verity herself, uses violence as a means to express pent-up emotions and frustrations. Interestingly, the book does not shy away from exposing even the seemingly mild-mannered characters, such as Jeremy, who turns to violence in moments of intense emotional distress. In Lowen’s case, her act of encouraging Jeremy to commit violence against Verity signifies her transition from a passive bystander to an active participant in the destructive cycle.
Can we view the characters’ resort to violence as a commentary on human nature’s inherent volatility or is it indicative of the extreme conditions and psychological tensions the characters are subjected to within the narrative?
- The morality of the characters’ actions, particularly concerning Verity’s death, is a pervasive element throughout the story. Despite the fact that Lowen and Jeremy make Verity’s death look like an accident, they effectively murder her based on assumptions drawn from Verity’s alleged manuscript and suspicious behavior.
Does the uncertainty surrounding Verity’s true nature and intentions justify Lowen and Jeremy’s actions in your opinion, or do you see their decision as a morally reprehensible act regardless of the circumstances?
- Lowen’s emotional journey forms the backbone of the novel. Her initial motivation is largely professional, but she gradually becomes entangled in the complex personal dynamics of the Crawford family, ultimately resulting in a romantic relationship with Jeremy and complicity in Verity’s death.
How does her increasingly personal involvement with Jeremy and Verity impact her character development, and how does it shape your view of all her decisions throughout the novel?
- Lowen’s journey in Verity can be seen from two vastly different perspectives: one as an empowering journey of personal growth, and another as a calculated usurpation of another woman’s life. The fact that she steps into the life left by Verity can be seen as an example of a woman’s self-realization and achievement of her potential or a concerning example of exploitation of another’s tragedy.
Do you interpret her transformation more as a journey of empowerment or a predatory takeover?
- Colleen Hoover presents an intricate relationship between its two central characters, Lowen and Verity, who are both writers. Their roles as authors provide a fascinating avenue for the exploration of identity, self-creation, and destruction. In the book, Lowen begins as a timid, underachieving author, but by the end, she assumes Verity’s life, adopting her successful writing career, her child, and her husband. On the other hand, Verity, who is initially portrayed as a successful writer, is perceived as a ‘Medea’ figure, willing to harm her own children due to the trauma of her losses, yet these depictions are mainly seen through her ambiguous autobiography, raising questions about its validity.
How do you interpret the transformation of these characters in the context of their roles as writers, and how do their journeys explore the dualistic aspects of creation and destruction in the writing process?
If you liked this set of questions, here are a few other options for you to explore.
The Diamond Eye: A gripping World War II tale inspired by true events. Follow Mila Pavlichenko, a quiet bookworm turned lethal sniper known as Lady Death, as she navigates war, friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt, and a deadly duel that tests her courage and resilience.
The Good Sister: Fern plans to repay her sister Rose’s kindness by offering to have a baby for her. But as she delves into the search for a father, long-buried secrets and a haunting mistake threaten to unravel their carefully constructed lives.
The Night Watchman: A powerful novel by Louise Erdrich that delves into the lives of Thomas, a Chippewa council member fighting against a bill threatening Native American rights, and Patrice, a determined young woman searching for her missing sister amidst exploitation and danger.
The World Played Chess: A coming-of-age tale set in 1979 follows Vincent Bianco as he takes on a summer job on a construction crew, learning valuable life lessons from Vietnam War veterans. This nostalgic novel explores the transition from innocence to adulthood and the pursuit of one’s true path.
Dinners With Ruth: NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg shares her extraordinary friendship with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, highlighting their personal struggles, victories, and the power of friendship that shaped their lives and transformed the workplace.