Lowen Ashleigh

The novel’s protagonist and a struggling author. Lowen is an attractive woman in her early thirties who is not particularly sure of herself. Her self-possession grows as the novel progresses, as do her sexual appetites and her fear of the truths hidden in the Vermont house. She is a lifelong sleepwalker, sometimes doing dangerous or unexpected things while unconscious. When she agrees to work for Verity’s estate, she decides to go by the pen name Laura Chase. 

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Verity Crawford

A highly successful author of thriller novels who has recently experienced a debilitating accident that leaves her in a semi-comatose state. She is wife to Jeremy and mother to Crew and deceased twins Harper and Chastin. When the novel begins, Verity appears trapped in permanent unresponsive wakefulness. She is slender, blonde, blue-eyed, and beautiful. Verity is clever, manipulative, self–serving, and not averse to risk, as the autobiography Lowen finds quickly reveals.

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Jeremy Crawford

Verity’s husband and Lowen’s love interest. Jeremy is a handsome and compassionate man keen to finish his wife’s life’s work. He cares for Verity even though their marriage is soon revealed to have been unhappy, but he quickly begins to feel an attraction to Lowen. Jeremy is steadfast and skeptical, and it’s implied that he takes the sexual side of his relationships very seriously. He’s father to Crew and the late Harper and Chastin, and by the novel’s end, to Lowen’s unnamed baby daughter. 

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Crew Crawford

The only living child of Verity and Jeremy Crawford. Crew is five years old. He’s quiet and self-possessed, having been traumatized by the deaths of his sisters and his mother’s accident. He occasionally lets information slip about his mother to Lowen, which is an important catalyst to the events of the plot. 

Harper and Chastin Crawford

The twin daughters of Verity and Jeremy Crawford. Verity’s autobiography paints Harper and Chastin as largely unwanted by their mother and beloved by their father. Verity eventually favors Chastin, while Jeremy has a special kinship with Harper. Chastin has a scar on her cheek, which Verity believes she caused with a failed wire–hanger abortion. Harper is believed to be on the autism spectrum by her parents.  


Lowen’s literary agent, with whom she had a brief relationship. Corey’s relationships are all transactional, including his previous sexual one with Lowen. He sees Lowen as a meal ticket and puts his own interests ahead of hers at every opportunity.  

Lowen’s mother

Lowen’s unnamed mother, who is dead by the time the novel begins. She is frightened of Lowen because of her sleepwalking episodes. She and Lowen have a distant relationship, and she lies about her finances in order to force Lowen to care for her in her final days. 


A self-declared friend of Verity Crawford. Jeremy and Lowen run into her at Target on a shopping trip, where she seems keen to gossip with Caroline. 


A self-declared friend of Verity’s who is suspicious of Lowen’s presence and her relationship with Jeremy. 


The nurse who looks after Verity. April doesn’t approve of Lowen’s being in Verity’s house and chastises her for speaking about Verity in the third person while she’s in the room. 


A friendly nurse who works with the Crawford family on weekends. She is more welcoming to Lowen than April is. 

Amanda Thomas

A no-nonsense editor at Pantem Press 

Barron Stephens

A lawyer at Pantem Press, whom Lowen refers to as “Goddamit Barron.” 


An old friend of Lowen’s whom she repeatedly almost calls to chat.