In the spirit of confessions, here’s one of mine: I have a big, huge lady-crush on Colleen Hoover. I reviewed one of her other books, “It Ends With Us”, a while back (here’s the review) and-spoiler alert- I loved that one too. She really has a unique way of bringing characters and their stories to life in a relatable and believable way, which I’m quickly realizing is actually kind of difficult to pull off. Her talent for doing that is part of what contributes to the writer-envy I have toward her, that and the fact that this particular book was recently made into a TV series that will be starting in a few weeks on the “Go90” website. (Personal mega-goal of mine. You know, after I actually finish writing a book.)
“Confess” is the story of Auburn, a 21-year-old girl who we learn has already had a devastating loss in her life and who is struggling to make ends meet living in a city that she doesn’t necessarily want to be in. There’s a reason for that, and it’s linked to a pretty big truth-bomb, but we don’t learn it until later in the story. She happens upon a unique art gallery that has a “help needed” sign on the door. What makes it unique is that the windows are covered with scraps of paper holding the anonymous confessions of the countless random people who wrote them. Genius idea. She is greeted by the mysterious and handsome (because, obviously) gallery owner and artist, Owen Gentry, who offers her the job and tells her that it’s for his gallery show that same night. He’s charming and genuine, you
She happens upon a unique looking art gallery that has an imploring “help needed” sign on the door. What makes it unique is that the windows are entirely covered with scraps of paper, each one holding the anonymous confession of the random person who wrote it. Genius. She is greeted by the mysterious and handsome (because, obviously) gallery owner and artist, Owen Gentry, who offers her the job and tells her that it’s for his gallery show that same night. He’s charming and genuine, you know, like most ridiculously handsome men are in the real world. Then again, he’s hiding a few secrets…that sounds more like it.
She works the show that night and is intrigued by all of the pieces, learning that Owen uses the anonymous confessions people drop in through the slot in his door as inspiration, attaching the specific confession to the painting that inspired it. The book switches between Auburn and Owen’s points of view, which is how you learn that Owen recognizes Auburn from something/somewhere/sometime in his life, but he doesn’t tell her for an unknown reason. You also learn that he has a few other secrets up his sleeve, but they aren’t kept maliciously, and he is far from the kind of man these secrets make him appear to be.
As the story unfolds, we see the growing attraction and interest between the two of them, but (insert ominous sounds) the are layers of secrets and parts of their respective pasts that are determined to keep them apart just keep surfacing one after another. This story has so many different plot twists that are slowly doled out that I caught myself on more than one occasion with this reaction:
Luckily I LOVE books that elicit that kind of reaction. Colleen never disappoints in that area.
Auburn and Owen find themselves in a fight against not only these external forces, but also against themselves and their internal struggles to decide what are the right choices or the wrong ones. Do they choose the seemingly honorable and unselfish choices, ignoring the intense chemistry and deep feelings that they’ve developed for each other, or do they follow their hearts and choose to fight their opposing forces together? You won’t find spoilers here, so you’ll have to read for yourself to find out. But trust me, you want to.
This story is an honest and raw representation of how our lives and the many layers of our personal histories can not only create tremendous obstacles in our path to happiness, but also create beautiful, unexpected outcomes. It highlights human resilience and the strength of our connections to one another. There’s not much I love more than when a story illustrates how fate is at play in all of our lives, even when we have no idea it’s present, and this one delivers that as well. When I finished this story, I closed the book with a giant smile on my face. That’s another thing that Colleen Hoover is exceedingly talented at-hitting you right in the feels.