Genre: Fiction; Romance
Note: There are NO spoilers in this review. When discussing in the comments, please provide a spoiler warning if needed.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5
Verity by Colleen Hoover is one of the best thrillers I’ve read in a while, so going into one of CoHo’s romance novels – I was a bit nervous.
I have complicated feelings about this novel, much like I did with Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom (review here). So while there are 5 stars up there, take the time to read through this one because it’s not as simple as me loving it or enjoying it.
It Ends With Us follows Lily, jumping from past to present, as she explores love, pain, and abuse throughout her life. She’s worked hard to escape her hometown and build a life and business of her own. When her father dies, she’s pulled back to memories of him and her first love – Atlas Corrigan.
Queue Ryle Kincaid, a gorgeous neurosurgeon, who shows Lily what life could be like in the perfect marriage, perfect relationship, and perfect life. But then memories of her childhood begin to repeat themself in her current relationship and it all begins to crack.
She finds herself leaning on her longtime flame, Atlas, and confused by it all.
When I talked my husband through the synopsis of this book (with a few more details/spoilers) his response was “hits a little too close to home, don’t you think”?
Occasionally I get really personal on here, and this is going to be one of those times.
While I myself have never been in a physically abusive relationship, my father was abusive. My earliest childhood memories are filled in fear and intimidation and stories of the horrific things my mom had to experience and I sometimes witnessed.
So for me this novel showed me what my life could have been like if my mom didn’t leave my father or if I didn’t have the self-awareness and strength to ensure I broke the cycle of abuse. I felt like I was reading an alternate reality version of my life. It was upsetting and hard and I cried. But I don’t regret reading it.
While I don’t think it’s healthy to constantly expose ourselves to the things that trigger our emotional or psychological trauma – for me, I do find it therapeutic to sometimes allow myself to submerge in those feelings. I take the time to think and process, and while I feel wrung out at the end, I feel better.
I understand that doesn’t work for everyone.
So that’s what this novel was for me. It was a beautiful and terrible story that explores love and abuse and how hard it can be to break that cycle when it’s all you’ve ever known. I hope you take the time to read it. This is a different take on your standard romance novel, and I feel like it’s an important one.
We read all of these fluffy rom-coms (or sexy dark romances) and live in these fantasies – it’s good to have a check sometimes and have a story that explores how complicated love can be – with yourself, your partner, your parents, your kids.