I was rummaging through her things. I pulled a box down, but haven’t gone through the pictures yet. It seems like another invasion of privacy on my part. This family, at least Jeremy, has entrusted me to finish this series, and I keep getting sidetracked by my obsession with Verity.

In this excerpt, Lowen explicitly admits to being obsessed with Verity as she roots through her possessions, searching for pictures of the family together. Despite recognizing the invasion of privacy, Lowen uses the responsibility she’s been entrusted with to search through Verity’s things for the clues she’s desperate to find. She cannot help but be sidetracked by an overpowering obsession with uncovering more about Verity. This obsession consumes Lowen’s actions and her decision-making from the time she arrives at the Vermont house. She is only supposed to be using the materials in the office to continue Verity’s series of novels. Instead, she begins to conduct intense, thorough research into Verity’s double life.  

He was the only thing stopping me from going through with it. I knew a life without Jeremy was not a life I wanted to live. I had two options: Live with him and the two girls he loved more than me. Live without him. [...] I wasn’t a part of them; I was just an outsider looking in.

This quotation follows an admission by Verity that she is miserable as a mother, and that if it were up to her, she would never have continued with her pregnancy. She would leave, she says, but she can’t bear the thought of life without Jeremy. She understands that he and her daughters are now a package deal, and feels an immense dependency on him. All of Verity’s worst fears have come true as of this moment. She had been terrified that the girls would replace her in Jeremy’s heart, and this seems to be the case. This reliance illustrates her unhealthy obsession with him, and her need to offload responsibility for her misery elsewhere. 

“Is your love for them more intense than your love for me?” His eyes scanned mine, and I was hoping he would laugh and say, “Absolutely not.” But he didn’t laugh. He looked at me with nothing but honesty and said, “Yes.” Really? His reply crushed me. Suffocated me. Killed me.

In this quote, Verity is interrogating Jeremy about his feelings for their unborn daughters. She is utterly consumed by a need for affirmation from Jeremy, and lives to be the only recipient of her husband’s love and affection. Her question is loaded desperate need for reassurance, which Jeremy cannot give her. When his honest response confirms her suspicions, Verity is overwhelmed with betrayal. The hyperbole in this passage emphasizes the overblown nature of her response. She’s not just saddened by this normal parental response, but "crushed," "suffocated," and "killed" by her husband’s honesty. Even though he’s talking about children she is carrying in her womb, Verity is inexorably shaken by Jeremy admitting this preference.