Many thanks to Jenny Loudon for a digital copy of Finding Verity in return for an honest review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT
I gave Finding Verity 4*
An unhappy woman. An unfinished romance. A sense that time is running out…
Verity Westwood is a successful London businesswoman whose husband is handsome but selfish. When Edward Farrell, a nomadic American journalist from her past, returns unexpectedly, she is swept by the irresistible desire to fulfil her dreams of working as an artist, like her famous father before her. After being caught in a storm on the Cote d’Azur, she vows to change her life.
What she does not foresee is the struggle involved, the ultimate price she will pay, and the powerful force of enduring love that changes everything.
The premise of this story is a woman searching for her true self: for the person she left behind years ago, the girl who had dreams and hopes, but has instead found she has been subsumed by the selfishness of a husband, the thoughtlessness of her daughters, and the need for her to make money using the talents she has, but not in the way for which she yearns.
I found this book a difficult one to review. On the plus side there was much for me to enjoy about the story. It’s an interesting insight to a marriage long since settled into a pattern of sacrifice and barely hidden resentment by the middle-aged protagonist, Verity, and the indifference of her husband, Matt. Put into the mix one unforgotten friendship with Edward, an American journalist, who Verity met before she married Matt, and a purely coincidently meeting on a short break in Cote d’Azur, and there you have the plot. With all the intricacies of a relationship floundering, and the insertion of various disasters, the author has produced a very real feel to life that many women endure – have settled for.
I liked the portrayal of Verity. The character is nicely rounded, the internal dialogue adding layers as she struggles to make sense of what is happening. The reader becomes increasingly aware of her emotional and mental fragility as the story progresses, and, for me, anyway, more and more exasperated by Matt and his refusal to even acknowledge her needs. So, when Edward is back on the scene I found myself urging her to see what is under her now; a man who loves her. Until he also is shown to be struggling with his life, and a past that affects his ability to be truly honest with Verity.
All the above is a big plus; it’s an emotional read, one with which the reader can truly empathise. The author writes with a brilliant understanding of the human psyche, and I admired that. I really did.
But then, for me, the descriptions of some of the settings stopped the story in its track. The narrative is mainly divided between London and the south of France, with a section given over to the Isle of Skye. The London scenes give a succinct and very real sense of place, and paralleled Verity’s internal dilemma. So far so good. But it was the descriptions of France and the Scottish isle that jarred. Beautifully written, evoking such imagery that I don’t doubt that most readers would read and reread just for the pleasure of savouring the words. And I understood the need for the lengthy portrayals to give a sense of the scenery at times; they reflected the protagonist’s internal dialogue, the slow moving on of her future. But these scenes made me impatient, I wanted to get on with the story.
And I had the same problem with some sections of dialogue where I felt the same emotion, the same interaction between the characters, were repeated, but in a different way, it felt as though it dragged the scene along, the repetition almost used as a filler to the action.
I realise this obviously reveals the kind of reader I am. I like fast moving books, rather than introspective ones. So in no way does this review detract from what a good read Finding Verity is. It’s a purely personal and subjective opinion. And, despite these last points, I have no qualms in saying that this is a good story that epitomises the feelings that many women in mid-life, and will suit many readers
And I just need to say – I loved the cover!